Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hearty Lentil Stew

Makes 4 servings

Lentil stew is the ideal hearty meal on a cold winter’s day. Packed with fiber, protein and antioxidants, this stew is nutritious as well as satisfying. It is also perfect for Super Bowl Sunday or a
 Meatless Monday, as the lentils are a great source of protein. This stew is easy to prepare and works great as a meal or a quick satisfying snack. It will rev up your metabolism to keep you full and focused for hours. Feel free to spice it up with cayenne pepper or chile powder! It also tastes great served with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream. 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, washed, peeled and diced
1 tomato, washed, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, washed and diced
1 small, yellow onion, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 bay leaf
1 cup of lentils
4 cloves garlic diced
6 cups of low sodium vegetable stock
2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt

1. Pour olive oil into a large pot and heat over medium-high heat.
2. Add carrots, celery, onion, and sauté the veggies for about five minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently. 
3. Add stock, sweet potato, tomato, lentils and bay leaf.
4. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir. Let boil for a couple of minutes, then reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer for about an hour.
5. Stir stew occasionally, until lentils are very tender.
6. Serve and Enjoy!

Lentils are very flavorful and they make a wonderful addition to many dishes because of the texture they add. Lentils are a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family. Eating lentils has been shown to significantly reduce the risk for heart disease by 82%. Lentils are also full of iron, magnesium, folate and fiber and increase energy. Eating lentils can dramatically improve energy levels. Changing the fuel you give your kids can change everything from their behavior, to their energy levels and immune strength. 

The onion is a kitchen staple that is packed with nutrients as well as flavor. Onions come in many varieties but are characterized by mild, sweet flavor when cooked. Onions are high in fiber and Vitamin C and have been shown to lower blood sugar. Onion also helps to reduce blood pressure, and is full of antioxidants that help to repair tissue and reduce inflammation. Another benefit is when cooked down like in this stew the onion does not lose any of its nutritional value.

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