Spicy Mediterranean Lentil Stew

Spicy Lentils

1 1/2 cups small lentils
5 cups water
Kosher salt to taste
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced  
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
3 medium tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Freshly ground pepper
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Boil 5 cups of water and add the lentils.  Let simmer for 25-30 minutes or until tender.  Add the salt toward the end of cooking.  Strain well when ready.

In a large heavy bottom saucepan, add the olive oil and sauté the onion on medium heat until soft, translucent and just about to turn golden.  Add the bell pepper and sauté for 5-6 minutes; add the tomato and sauté 2-3 minutes.  Lastly, make a little room in the middle of the pan and add the garlic.  Sauté the garlic for 45-60 seconds. 

Add all the spices, saute 1-2 minutes, and stir well. Transfer the cooked lentils to the saucepan.  Add the broth and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Taste first, if needed add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the fresh cilantro to the stew.  Serve as a side dish or vegetarian entrée with rice, pita bread or crusty bread, or with a little Greek yogurt on top.


I cook the lentils separate because if I cook the lentils with the spices and vegetables, the vegetables and spices become a little diluted and less flavorful. That’s my way of making this dish extra flavorful… an extra step... it’s worth it!


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