The snow may have gone, but it’s still definitely winter! Whilst my husband sends me pictures of brilliant blue skies and crisp white snow from his skiing holiday, I sit here looking at a dull grey February day, the type where you wonder if it’s ever really going to get light.
There are signs of spring though – I snapped these brave little snowdrops yesterday outside a friends house – and I’ve notice the daffodil leaves beginning to sprout. All hopeful signs of better weather to come.
In the meantime, comfort food is needed! Something to warm, sustain and give you a little hug on the inside. This deliciously quick mushroom and lentil stew should hit the spot. Packed full of rainbow veggies, it tastes wonderful and provides a whole range of helpful anti-oxidants and nutrients that help support the immune system. Not only that, but it contains a range of fibre that helps keep helpful gut microbiome happy too. That’s important, as this time of year can be hard for people suffering from depression and low mood. Recent research from the Gut Project suggests that the make-up of gut bacteria and psychological health are directly connected. So the food we eat really can make a difference to how we feel.
I’ve used tinned lentils for this recipe, purely to save time. If you want to cook your own, feel free to do so, just add extra water and give yourself more time. Using tinned makes this a quick plant-based and gluten-free mid-week supper when time is short. This also freezes well, so get ahead of the game and double the amount, keeping half aside to freeze for another day.
I’ve added a little balsamic vinegar to the recipe. This is optional, to add a little extra flavour. If you cannot tolerate vinegar, then try a little tamari or even vegan Worcesteshire sauce, but take care not to overdo it, as they are strong flavours that easily dominate.
I hope you enjoy this recipe; it certainly hit the comfort food spots for me! Let me know what you think if you make it – don’t forget you can now print it out now I’m using the WP recipe maker plug in. I hope it makes it more user friendly. And remember, winter always turns to spring!
Comforting mushroom and lentil stew
- 1 medium onion, red or white diced
- 1 large carrot diced
- 1 large celery stick diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 fat clove garlic finely chopped
- 200 grams mushrooms sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian herbs
- 400 grams tinned chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 400 grams tinned cooked lentils rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 2 tablespoons water in the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan and sauté the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Stir frequently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan – add a little more water if it does
- Add the garlic and sliced mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes, then pour in the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and add the herbs. Stir well, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the tinned lentils and balsamic vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, remove the bay leaf and serve.