Curried French Lentils

This is one of my favorite go-to meals. It’s easy to prepare, all in one pot, and is very flavorful and satisfying. It can be eaten alone as a stew, over some brown jasmine rice, or ladled into steamed corn tortillas with rice for an even heartier meal.

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Ingredients
6 cups water
1 cup French Green lentils (see chart below)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 small yam or sweet potato, diced (about two cups)
2 cups small cauliflower florets
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 can (14.5-oz.) diced, salt-free tomatoes
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons dried green herbs (like a French or Italian blend)
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
4 cups greens cut into bite-size pieces (like kale, chard, spinach, collards, beet greens)

Directions
1. In a soup pot on high, bring the water and lentils to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes (a low boil).

2. Add the onion, yam/sweet potato, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes (including juice), and the four herbs and spices. Cook for 10 minutes at the same heat. Add greens, and cook for 5-10 more minutes (spinach, chard and beet greens won’t take as long to cook as kale or collard greens), until potatoes and greens are tender. Serve as is or over cooked brown rice.

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4 (makes about 8 cups or 4 bowls)

NOTES

Soup, stew or filling: As written, this recipe is more of a stew than a soup (especially upon reheating the next day), so I like to serve it over brown or wild rice, or in a corn tortilla with a little avocado on top. But you can easily make it into a soup by adding 1-2 cups of water in step two.

Lentils: A variety of lentils exist (see chart below), and can be used in this recipe by adjusting the cooking time slightly (mainly for red lentils, which take only 25-30 minutes to cook).

Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes can also be used, especially when they are in season (about 1-1/2 cups diced).

Broccoli option: If you’re not a fan of cauliflower, broccoli may be used (or both).

Common lentil types
LentilTypesChart

How to cut a cauliflower
(1) Turn the cauliflower upside down. (2) Remove the thick outer leaves (the leaves are also edible, but are most often discarded). (3) Cut down along the thick inner core until all the florets are free. (4) Now you are left with just the core, separated perfectly from the florets, and no waste. Cut florets smaller from here.

HowToCutACauliflower

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What is curry powder?
Curry powder is a mixture of spices that usually includes turmeric (gives the yellow color), coriander, cumin, fenugreek, and red pepper. Depending on the curry powder recipe, additional ingredients may be included, such as ginger, garlic, asafoetida, fennel seed, caraway, cinnamon, clove, mustard seed, cardamom, nutmeg, and black pepper. Some cooks create different curry mixtures for different recipes, with some mild in flavor and others quite hot and spicy; those sold in grocery stores are typically on the milder side. In Eastern Indian cultures, curry recipes are often passed down from generation to generation.

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Comments

  1. I made this tonight. I added about a half cup of uncooked brown rice at the beginning of the cooking process. It was delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!

  2. I made this last night and am excited to get to eat it today for lunch and dinner. Your instructions are so clear, the extra information so valuable – you are a real treasure. Thank you for a delicious and easy recipe.

  3. Excellent tasting soup. Already making it for the second time.

  4. I love this post, and thank you for the cauliflower tip!

  5. Linda Dale says:

    I love all the ingredients in this recipe, so obviously I had to try it. YUM!

  6. I made this last night and it was delicious!!! It will take some getting used to not having salt in my food, but the flavor of all the ingredients really comes together. My husband doesn’t like curry and I did not have many greens. I put an extra teaspoon of herbs and 2 cups of spinach and added carrots.

  7. Alex Richards says:

    Just made this for a family of four and served with mashed potatoes – absolutely delicious! Will definitely be doing this one again. Thank you for great recipes which work.

  8. My attempt at one of your recipes – very healthy! Mine came out somewhat soupy, which is fine. Used kale, beet greens. Also the taste was somewhat subtle and subdued even though I used “hot” curry powder. I used 2 tsp of herbs de Province for the spices – was that not potent enough? Any recommendations to liven it up a bit, maybe make it more savory? Maybe mango???

    • Hi Paul, thanks for the comment. I tend to not over-spice so people can ramp up if they like. I’m not a “hot-n-spicy” eater, so I’m glad you added what you like. :)

      • I am a real novice when it comes to cooking. Due to heart problems I’m strictly no oil, cheese, meat, etc. My fiancé is not thrilled – so no real help there – so I’m on my own. Any suggestions on how to make recipes more flavorful would be very helpful – not necessarily spice hot. Raisins?

        • Hi Paul, I would invest in some new dried herbs/spices and learn how to use them. Blends are good like curry and Italian herbs. Find a spice shop in your area and buy them from there if you can. If not, just get some from the grocery store. Old spices/herbs should not be used since the flavor fades. You will also get more flavor from very fresh produce, such as from the farmers market. You can use store bought veg broth, they even have some without salt now. Good luck! ;-)

  9. Lubna Zaidi says:

    Awsome, or as my boyfriend said:”party in my mouth”!

  10. I just started eating a whole food plant based diet(2 weeks now and I feel great!) so am new to this.I tried this recipe tonight and it was amazing..love love love it:)Thank you so much!!

  11. Made this tonight and it very good. I threw a hot chili pepper in with the onions and it gave it a nice subtle heat. Loved how it’s loaded with different colored vegetables. Great meal for a cold winter’s night but since I live in California I will just have to pretend that part. Thank you!

  12. Finally made this last night. My husband and I decided to double it (because we had everything and figured we could freeze it). We used Herb de Provenance for the herbs and when it was all done cooking added pepper and about half lemon. REALLY YUM!!!! Just ate a massive bowl for lunch and wondering WHY OH WHY I bothered freezing any! Thanks so much! This is a keeper!

  13. The aroma as this cooked last night had my 13-year-old salivating! It was fantastic, and I can’t wait to tuck into a bowl of it today. :))

  14. Kris McCormack says:

    Wow, Cathy, another stupendous meal! Thank you. I had been meaning to try this recipe for months, and finally got around to it today. My husband and I both loved it and are looking forward to the leftovers. Delicious!

    p.s. How’s that cookbook coming? :-)

    regards,
    Kris

  15. Kris McCormack says:

    I’ve already raved once about this stew, but I made it again today and just have to say “thanks” again. Not only is this a delicious meal, it really is quick when I do the chopping/cutting/prepping while the lentils are cooking. We have a quite a few days where 2 of our 3 meals are your recipes, Cathy. Thank you so much.

  16. As usual, Cathy has put a great deal of thought, imagination and expertise into this recipe. So I’m hesitant to propose any changes to what has already been rendered near optimal.

    A couple of issues do come to mind:

    Cauliflower leaves: Cathy does point out they are “edible”. But I feel this does not do them justice. Cauliflower leaves are DELICIOUS. Sliced julienne like you would celery, they could easily replace or supplement celery in this recipe.

    Greens: I feel this stew recipe is a golden opportunity to feature, not only chopped beet greens, but the julienned stems as well. The stems, which are also eminently edible, add not only flavor but substance and color to this stew.

    I am a big fan of wasting nothing of precious veggies. I buy my beets like God made them straight out of the ground, roots, stems, leaves, dirt and all. Every part of veggies contains nutrients. What little I don’t eat goes into my stock pot. Beets and cauliflower are two great examples. This recipe can exploit both to maximum effect.

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