that includes pumpkin seeds, red lentils, garlic, ginger, turmeric and cilantro.
There’s about a foot of fresh snow on the ground, and more is still falling–even in Boulder, Colorado, things are pretty shut down today. It’s an official ‘snow day’ here! Seems like a good day to make a hot, piping bowl of red lentil stew, if you ask me. I love this stew! The curry and spice add a touch of heat and the lentils are deliciously filling.
Red lentils actually start out orange, and are much smaller than the more common green or brown lentils, which are larger and tend to get more mushy. I love the lighter taste of red lentils and how quickly they cook. Lentils contain lots of healthy fiber, making them slower to digest, which helps blood sugar stability. They are high in protein, hearty and satisfying. I added toasted pumpkin seeds for a little bit of crunchy, nutty texture, extra protein, and minerals. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of immune-boosting zinc, manganese, phosphorus, copper and iron. Pumpkin seeds also contain a wide variety of antioxidant phytonutrients, and trytophan, an important precursor to serotonin, the ‘happiness’ brain chemical. This time of the year, with the shorter days, and holiday stress descending upon us, a little help with our serotonin production is just what the doctor (or diet/health fanatic) ordered!
I added in fresh turmeric from the produce section instead of the powdered kind you find in the spice aisle, because the fresh root (which looks a bit like an orangish ginger root) is even more potent with its powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, brain-protective, heart disease-preventing power. There is virtually no body system that does not benefit from turmeric, so use it liberally!
Curried Red Lentil Stew
1 cup red lentils, rinsed thoroughly
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
handful cilantro, chopped
1 medium sized tumeric root, minced
1 Tbsp (I didnt measure) fresh ginger root, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 to 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper or cayenne, more or less to taste
sea salt and black pepper
In a medium saucepan add lentils, and about double the water–adjust to how thick or thin you’d like it to be. Rinse a couple of times until water is not foamy or bubbly. Put over med-high heat and bring to boil. Meanwhile in a frying pan on med-high, add a tablespoon of olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, carrots, celery, and spices. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender. Be careful not to burn the spices.
In small frying pan, add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds with a small amount of olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring often–being careful they don’t burn. (I added a lid to the pan, as pumpkin seeds often puff up as they cook and can pop right out of the pan!)
Add to lentils and continue to cook, 20 minutes or so, until lentils are soft and and ingredients are fully cooked. Add chopped cilantro, and fresh lemon juice, and pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!! Serves 2-4
A Votre Sante!