spinach, sweet potato & lentil stew

Published March 16, 2010 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

ok, this is a recipe based loosely off the kind diet‘s sweet potato & lentil stew, just re-invented to suit my taste, pantry and nutritional needs. i served it over quinoa, and they suited each other nicely. what’s nice about quinoa is it’s a whole grain, and it only takes 10 minutes to cook. i LOVE brown rice, but i also love 10 minute readiness.

there is something i find incredibly soothing about prepping ingredients. you’ll always see them all nice and neat on my counter, just like the cooking shows. it takes the stress out of cooking when you know everything is all ready to go in.

some of the biggest changes i made were:

spinach! my bag of spinach was on it’s last leg and needed to be put to use. spinach has all kind of good stuff like calcium, folate, and vitamin A. but it also has iron! and as someone who’s been borderline anemic since childhood, i try to include it into my meat-free diet. hi mom!

Kombu! kombu is a type of seaweed. it comes in dried strips. it’s great to soak with dried beans to tenderize them, which makes them more digestible. (read: less gas) this is the method used in macrobiotic cooking. it’s also got fiber, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. sea vegetables are also said to protect against, and counter the effects of radiation.

apparently you can also boil a strip in 4 cups of water to make a stock. convenient… this recipe called for 7 cups of vegetable broth, and i only had 1.5 c. i just soaked it for about 10 minutes and then cut it into inch size pieces, and put it back in the water until i was ready to use it. (it would cook further in the pot anyway.) next time i will just soak it with the veggie broth.

besides that, i upped the spices quite a bit. i like cinnamon in food. so if you don’t, you can use half a teaspoon, or omit it entirely. this stew is also amazing with a cup of butternut squash added in with the sweet potatoes.

Spinach, sweet potato & lentil stew

1 dried strip of kombu, optional
1/4 c. olive or canola oil
2-4 cloves garlic
1 large onion, chopped
2 small tomatoes or a pint of cherry tomatoes or a 14 oz. can of tomatoes, drained
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. coriander
1/2 – 1 tsp. cinnamon
sea salt & cayenne pepper to taste (or black pepper if you don’t like heat!)

1/2 – full bag of spinach, torn or roughly chopped
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
7 c. stock
1 c. lentils of your choice

Directions:

1. if you decide to use the kombu, just put it to soak in 2 c. of the vegetable broth for about 10 minutes. it will rehydrate and turn the color of cooked green peppers. take it out, slice into 1″ pieces, and return to broth.

2. heat oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. add onion and garlic, stir for 2 minutes. stir in tomatoes and ginger, and cook for 3 more minutes. now add sweet potatoes, spinach, broth, spices and lentils. let it come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until sweet potatoes and lentils are tender.

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