One of my favourite things about moving in a more vegetarian (flexitarian? Whatever you wanna call it, I don’t label it!) direction is the boost in my foodie creativity. I made a decision after my vegetarian week to keep my lunches vegetarian, for Monday to Friday at least anyway, and I have to say, I absolutely love the change. I find myself excited each week to create or choose a new recipe, thinking ahead to different dishes I haven’t tried before, and flavours I want to combine. With the change in weather, I was craving things like dahls, and stews/ragus recently. I have two stew/ragu recipes I want to share with you that are lentil-based, and this is the first! You guys know I have a slight tofu obsession, particularly smoked tofu, and it’s quickly become one of my favourite sources of plant protein. I really hope you like this recipe – I adore lentils, and they’re another fantastic source of plant protein AND packed full of fibre too. In this dish, I’ve use Merchant Gourmet lentil packs, which are easily found in Tesco (their French Puy Lentils are DELISH), but I also like using uncooked lentils, or tinned lentils too (I use the brand Epicure). You guys often ask me where I get my tofu too – my favourites are brands like Cauldron Foods, Taifun and Viana! Now, let’s cook!
Recipe (Serves 5)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 ts ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- Lentils: 2 x 250g Packs of Lentils (I use the brand Merchant Gourmet) or 1 400g tin of bjoux verts lentils (I like the brand Epicure)
- 300ml water (or vegetable stock)
- 1 red onion
- 1 medium size carrot
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 courgette
- 2 handfuls of black kale or cavolo nero (regular kale or spinach is perfect too!)
- 250g Fresh or Smoked Tofu (I roast my fresh tofu – see step 1 below!)
- A pinch of sea salt and black pepper
- For the tofu: I roast mine when I use fresh tofu before adding it to the stew. If you’re doing the same, pre-heat the oven to 200C, and line a baking tray with tin foil. Chop the tofu into 1 inch chunks, and toss them in a little olive oil and black pepper. Tip them onto the baking tray, and roast for 20 minutes approximately, turning half way through. If using smoked tofu, just chop it up and set aside.
- Chop your garlic finely, and then the veggies (into bite size chunks), and set aside in small bowls. Shred your kale into smaller leaf pieces.
- Next, set a large pot on a medium heat, and add the olive oil.
- Cook the red onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes in the oil, until softened.
- Add your spices and herbs, and cook for another few minutes so the onions are coated.
- Add the rest of your veggies, except for the kale, and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Time to add the liquids – pour in the chopped tomatoes, water/stock, tomato puree and apple cider vinegar vinegar, and stir everything up together.
- Finally, add the lentils (you could also add uncooked lentils here either as you will be simmering the stew, so they will cook in it!), season with sea salt and black pepper, stir and bring to the boil.
- Turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and add your tofu, and kale leaves.
- Cover the stew and cook on the low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally! If you’re using uncooked lentils, you may need to simmer for a few minutes longer and possibly add a little extra water/stock.
- Serve with whatever you please! This is delicious with sweet potato, wholegrains, pasta like spaghetti or just a simple side salad or courgetti!
Enjoy guys! I love this stew as an Autumn comfort, it’s perfect for meal prep or as a big one-pot dinner for a crowd! Tag me if you try this one out – @theirishbalance on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook you get me!
Ciara 🙂 x