Easy and affordable, this simple recipe for lentil stew is ideal for batch cooking and can be used in different ways throughout the week. Learn how to make the basic version, then use up any leftovers with a butternut squash twist.
For the basic lentil stew
- 1 tbsp oil, for frying
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 400g/14oz potatoes, peeled and cut into 1–2cm/½–¾in cubes
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves finely chopped
- 250g/9oz dried green lentils, washed
- 1 litre/1¾ pints hot vegetable stock
- 15g/½oz fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
For the butternut squash and spinach curried lentils
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 350g/12oz butternut squash, cut into 2cm/¾in cubes
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 400ml tin coconut milk
- ½ tbsp runny honey
- 500g/1lb 2oz lentil stew (see above recipe)
- 150g/5½oz baby spinach leaves
- jasmine rice, to serve
- fresh coriander, to serve
- dairy or coconut yoghurt, to serve
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
To make the basic lentil stew, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and gently fry for 5–6 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic along with a generous pinch of salt and fry for a further 1–2 minutes.
Add the cubed potato to the pan along with the thyme and rosemary. Tip in the washed lentils and stir through the vegetables. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30–35 minutes until the lentils are cooked but still holding shape. Stir frequently to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan. If the stock is reducing too rapidly, add a lid and lower the heat.
When the lentils are cooked al dente, remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle in the parsley and vinegar. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
At this stage, your lentil stew can be portioned up and frozen in bags or tubs for a quick homemade meal to eat another day. You can serve it straight away, or bring it back to life as butternut squash and spinach curried lentils.
To make the butternut squash and spinach curried lentils, heat the coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and fry for 4–5 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the butternut squash and curry powder and stir.
Spoon in the curry paste and stir to coat the squash. Pour in the coconut milk plus half a tin of water. Stir through the honey and gently simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the 2 portions of lentil stew to the pan and continue to simmer for another 10–15 minutes. Remove from the heat, season if required with salt and pepper, then stir through the spinach to wilt. Serve with the jasmine rice, topped with a few fresh coriander leaves and dollop of yoghurt.