Warm Your Belly with Lemony Lentil Stew

I don't often pick favorites, but this is certainly my go-to vegetarian stew recipe to warm up a chilly winter evening. It's thick and hearty - one bowl is a meal! - but the fresh lemon juice offers an unexpected freshness and zing, which winter soups and stews often lack. The best part, of course, is sopping up the leftover broth with fresh crusty bread, like a rustic whole-grain sourdough. 

Wine pairing: Lentils and kale are earthy. Lemon is bright and acidic. White Burgundy and Chablis typically match these characteristics well, as would a lighter, cool-climate Pinot Noir. 


Serves 6-8

8 oz French green lentils (about 1 cup)
2 cup yellow onions, diced small
1 cup celery, diced small
1 cup carrot, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 qt vegetable stock
pinch red pepper flake
1 bay leaf
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 bunch Tuscan make, stems removed and roughly chopped

Rinse and drain lentils and set aside. 

Add olive oil to a large soup pot over medium heat and sauté onions, celery, and carrot until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. 

Add vegetable stock and tomato paste and stir thoroughly until tomato paste is thoroughly mixed in. Add lentils, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. 

Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for about 45 minutes, add kale to the pot, stir well, and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until lentils are tender and cooked through.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. Optionally, grate some parmesan cheese over each bowl. 

If heating up later, add a squeeze of fresh lemon to each bowl before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Meatless Musings by Shauna Burke ©2017, Pulp & Branch Publishing.