Being a vegetarian and living with a carnivore isn’t easy. Sharing meals with friends isn’t easy, either. I used to be a pretty easy-going person when it came to food (look at my hips and you’ll see I’m not lying). Now I always have to look for options and be creative. On one hand, this keeps me trying new recipes and prevents me from getting bored. On the other hand, I’m quite tired of being the “difficult” one now. I’m actually considering including fish back on my menu, at least when Nico has to cook or when someone is having a dinner party. I have to admit, though, that it feels like a failure; it’s like my willpower is not enough for me to stay a vegetarian. I’m not tired of my vegetarianism, it doesn’t bother me at all; I just don’t wanna bother others; being a vegetarian is my decision, why should they have to deal with it? (okay, maybe I am a people-pleaser after all).
Back to the original topic, one of the biggest challenges is to find recipes that are yummy, easy to make and that Nico will like. Here’s one of them: a red lentil and veggie stew. I improvised it once, assuming that I’d eat the whole pot on my own (that would have been fine with me, we have a freezer and numerous tupperware for a reason). To my surprise, Nico LOVED it. He loved it so much that I had to make it again the following week (upon his request). Our friend Fede came for dinner that night, and he liked it as well… Success!
So, here it is:
Red lentil vegetarian stew
(note: this is my last night version… I try to use whatever I have in the fridge, so my ingredients vary from one time to the other)
- 1.5 cups dried red lentils
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup of carrots, cubed
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups mushrooms, cubed or sliced
- 3 cups broccoli
- 2 cups green beans (cut into 1″ pieces)
- 2-3 cups broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp ketchup (I’m not fancy enough to use tomato paste)
- Water, as needed
- Salt, garlic powder and crushed red pepper to taste
1) heat the oil in a large pot; sauté the onion until golden; add the cumin, red pepper and garlic powder (I usually use real garlic) and cook for 1 or 2 more minutes, stirring
2) add the carrots, cook for another couple of minutes, stirring; do the same with the mushrooms. If you’re using broccoli stems, add them now (reserve the florets for later)
3) add the broth, tomatoes, lentils and water. Bring to a boil; lower the heat and let simmer, covered, for ~20 minutes (lentils should me mushy). Add salt to taste
4) add the green beans and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Adjust the amount of water if necessary.
5) add the broccoli florets and cook until those are tender
Serve hot. It pairs nicely with rice (another Nico’s favorite). Makes 6 generous servings (see picture)