Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew

Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew

Spicy and sweet

This is a stripped-down version of a recipe from the New York Times Recipes for Health - I love a lot of those recipes, but they usually involve too many ingredients for just family dinner at home. So I make simpler versions of them. This is one that has been very popular with my family.

How to make lentil and sweet potato stew:

Pour 1/8 cup of olive oil into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add a chopped onion and two or three cloves of minced garlic (I actually used chopped leaves from the garlic growing in the garden). While they soften, peel and dice three carrots and throw them in too. Add a large pinch of salt (1/2 tsp. or so), about the same amount of black pepper, two teaspoons of ground cumin, and a teaspoon of ground coriander.

By now the onion should be soft, so add 1 1/2 cups of lentils and 6 cups of water or chicken stock or vegetable stock. Stir with a wooden spoon, and add about a third of a small can of tomato paste, or a small can of tomato sauce, and stir again. Bring this to a boil while you peel and dice two sweet potatoes, and add them to the stew. Let the whole thing simmer for about half an hour, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking. When the lentils and sweet potatoes are soft, add red pepper flakes 1/2 teaspoon at a time, and keep stirring and tasting until it's as spicy as you want it. (You could substitute cayenne, but I liked it better with the red pepper flakes.) Finally, add a couple of handfuls of chopped parsley or cilantro, stir, and serve hot.

This can sit out in the pot for an hour or two and still be good - nice for parties.

We ate this stew with Greek yogurt on top, and green beans on the side

Vegetarian or vegan

Just naturally vegan (if you leave out the yogurt and use vegetarian stock or water)! Enjoy!

Can I keep this for later?

Sure. Put the leftovers in a tupperware in the refrigerator, and the flavors will blend and it will be even better than it was at first. You can reheat it for about four or five days. You might need to add a little salt after reheating to bring out the flavors.

Or try this lentil stew with rice