healthy, delicious lentil stew

This isn’t a new weekly recipe (we’re now in Week 14, if you’re counting, and the peanut-sesame noodles fulfilled my weekly quota), but I’ve promoted it aggressively to people as the Healthiest Soup in the World, so I thought I should take a stab at providing the recipe. It has tons of protein (tofu! lentils!) and whole grains (brown rice!). It has your superfoods (kale! turmeric!). It’s vegan, gluten-free and low in calories. It takes less than 10 minutes to make (plus an hour of simmering on the stove). It costs less than $1 per serving. It gets better the longer it sits in the refrigerator. It freezes well and defrosts quickly.

And because I wouldn’t bother with it otherwise, even if it guaranteed that you’d live a long, happy life spanning many centuries: it’s really filling and really, really delicious.

The Healthiest Lentil Stew Ever

Adapted from the Indian lentils I made in February, which were adapted from Gourmet, so I think at this point I should call it an original and be done with it.

1 medium onion, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger (tip: freeze the ginger and grate it with a Microplane; no need to peel, and it will keep till the apocalypse)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk (light coconut milk is just watered-down regular coconut milk, not an abomination like fat-free half-and-half — regular will make this richer, but less healthy)
1 ½ cups water
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups chopped raw kale
2 cups cooked brown rice (or 1 package of frozen Trader Joe’s brown rice, cooked)
1 block tofu, cut into 1-inch or smaller cubes
2 tablespoons lemon juice (or amchoor powder)

In a heavy-bottomed large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook until softened and the onions are beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the spices and cook another minute.

Stir in water, broth, coconut milk and lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the kale and simmer another 20 minutes. Add the brown rice and cooked tofu, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, or until the flavors are combined. If you want a thicker stew, turn up the heat and simmer until more of the liquid has evaporated.

Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice or amchoor powder. Drizzle some Greek yogurt on top, if you want.