It’s January, it’s cold, and I’m trying to be extra healthy in the wake of my holiday diet indiscretions, so all I really want to eat is nutritious soups. And since I was stuck in the house most of last weekend due to a snow storm, I had ample time to create this simple and satisfying Lemony Lentil Stew!
This lentil stew contains red lentils for a creamier texture, carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms, and spinach for a variety of anti-cancer nutrients (G-BOMBS, people!), and is seasoned with white miso paste and fresh lemon juice. It’s light yet filling, and the lemon and miso give it a bright, slightly salty flavor. I topped it all off with a swirl of cashew cream to add richness, but that’s completely optional.
I try to keep homemade soups in my fridge to heat up for lunch every day, because it keeps me from grabbing snack foods or heating up an Amy’s frozen meal out of laziness/desperation. I looked forward to lunch every day last week, because I knew this delicious lentil stew was waiting for me in the fridge!
Before I give you the recipe, I’m going to make you look at some pictures of Abby playing in the snow. Last weekend we were hit by a snowstorm, which dropped 7.5 inches of beautiful, powdery snow. It made for some decent sledding, a relaxed weekend by the fire, and a very excited 2-year-old!
We were unable to make Olaf as Abby requested, but she did cover our yard in tiny snow angels. Perhaps the best part about being a parent is seeing the joy on kids’ faces as they experience life’s simple pleasures.
Okay, back to the lentil stew!
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, sliced into coins
- 1 large celery stalk, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1½ - 2 T. white miso paste
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Black pepper to taste
- Optional garnish: fresh thyme, cashew cream (see notes)
- In a large soup pot with ¼-inch of water, cook the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic over medium heat until soft, 5-10 mins.
- Add the broth and lentils, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 mins, or until lentils become soft. Stir in 1½ T. white miso.
- While the lentils are cooking, heat a small pot over medium heat with a splash of water, and add the mushrooms. Cook about 2 mins, then reduce heat to simmer and add the spinach. Stir and cover 2-3 mins to wilt the spinach, then remove from heat and set aside.
- When the lentils are soft, use an immersion blender to partially puree the lentils and veggies (optional). Then add the mushrooms, spinach, lemon juice, and black pepper. Taste and add more miso for a more salty flavor and more lemon juice for more tang.
- To serve, top with fresh thyme and a swirl of cashew cream if desired.
Lemon and miso might sound like strange ingredients to add to a lentil stew, but trust me on this one. The miso lends a satisfying umami flavor, while the lemon brightens up the soup with its acidic tang. Honestly, I wasn’t sure the flavors would work, but a little voice inside me told me to try it. The results were so good, I deemed this recipe blogworthy!
Try it and let me know what you think!