There are some healthy foods that make me feel even healthier than others. I realize this is completely ridiculous. Like spinach? Broccoli? Eh, those are old-school healthy. Kale is better, but Swiss chard is like crazy-super healthy probably because it’s a mystery to me. I feel the same way about lentils. Once you put lentils into a meal it automatically shoots the health-factor through the roof. It’s practically impossible to make an unhealthy meal once you’ve added lentils into the mix. Only good things can happen.
Every time I cook lentils I think of Dr. Oz. I remember reading an article in Time magazine about how he cheated before undergoing a colonoscopy and ate the day before. During the test his colon was dotted with lentils, which obscured the result. I’m not sure why that stuck with me, but it’s probably because it’s just totally absurd. You blew your colonoscopy because you ate lentils? Seriously Dr. Oz? The story would’ve been way better if his colon was clogged up with a cheeseburger.
Truth be told, I have iffy feelings about veggie stews because they can end up kind of mushy (gross), but this meal fell into no such trap. The carrots, cauliflower, and lentils maintained a slight firmness to them even after hanging out in the slow cooker for 8 hours. Meanwhile, the flavors totally melded together–just as they should in a stew. It tasted earthy, a little bit spicy, and just a bit sweet. I loved, too, how every bite was packed with so many different ingredients. It’s a huge bonus, but I’ll admit the prep requires quite a bit of chopping. Problem solved: I chopped all of my veggies the night before and stored them in reusable containers in the fridge (see below). They were ready for action the next morning.
The recipe makes a lot (you should probably be smarter than I was and freeze some), which is why I ate the stew for two dinners and three lunches last week. Let’s just say that by the end of the week I practically felt like the patron saint of health. As a result I was totally okay calling movie theater popcorn and a diet coke dinner Saturday night when we saw Skyfall (so good!) Balance : )
Slow Cooker Lentil Stew
Serves: At least 6
1 cup chopped onion (about 2 small or 1 large onion)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large leek (or 2 small), white and light green parts chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne (more if you like it spicier)
Salt & pepper
1 head cauliflower, chopped into tiny florets
14 oz dried green lentils, rinsed and picked through
1 (28 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
Combine onion through salt and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion and carrots soften. Add to slow cooker. To the slow cooker add cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.