Nutrient-Dense puy lentil and vegetable coconut stew.

I prefer to eat my veggies cooked instead of raw, and I’m sure it’s one of the reasons why I don’t think I could become a raw vegan. I know that a lot of people find it difficult to eat vegetables, so I’m very excited whenever I develop recipes that include a variety of them.

Eating the rainbow with vegetables is so much easier than with fruits for me, and I’m pretty sure that’s because I prefer savoury food. Include carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes, and you’ve already eaten four colours in one meal.


Simple right?

Beyond the colours, you’ll be getting a wide range of nutrients that boost your immunity, nourish your hair and skin, and fight those pesky free-radicals that promote ageing. Different foods work together to raise the nutrient profile of each food. For example, legumes are rich in non-heme iron, which our bodies do not absorb well. When you eat them with leafy greens such as broccoli that is rich in vitamin c, your body absorbs much more iron. With sufficient quantities of iron in your diet, you can reduce fatigue, boost concentration and lower your risk of anaemia.

Tomatoes (lycopene-rich) and broccoli (sulphoraphane-rich) are well recognised for their cancer-fighting properties. Combined, these foods can lower the risk of prostate cancer.  Broccoli is also a good source of omega-3 fats, surprisingly. In just one cup of broccoli, you can get up 8% of your recommended daily intake.

The addition of lentils in this recipe makes it very satisfying due to their high protein and fibre content. As with most legumes, lentils tend to cause bloating. It is always a good idea to eat small portions in one sitting especially if you’re new to eating them. Always chew them properly before swallowing as it aids digestion. Remember to include spices that improve their digestion such as ginger, cumin or fennel during cooking.

Serves 2          Prep time: 5 mins          Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 150g brown rice
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 70g puy lentils
  • 1 tsp lemongrass paste (this one is oil-free)
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 150g baby chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • 1 tsp porcini mushroom powder
  • ½ inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ large red chilli 
  • ½ vegetable stock cube
  • 150g broccoli
  • 1 small carrot, sliced then quartered
  • 50g peas
  • 4 tbsp coconut milk (I use Alpro Coconut cuisine)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander, to serve

How to make

  1. Start by cooking the rice according to the pack instructions then set aside. 
  2. Rinse the lentils thoroughly in cool running water then put them in a medium saucepan with around 200ml of water. Bring the lentils to the boil then cook them on a simmer for around 10 minutes or until they’re cooked. Drain any excess water then set them aside, but keep them warm
  3. Add a small splash of water (or coconut oil if you prefer) to a medium saucepan and set over a medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the lemongrass, tamarind, and tomato pastes, and the mushroom powder, chilli and mushrooms. Cook for around 7 minutes on a low heat, stirring frequently and adding small splashes of water if needed. 
  4. Add the lentils, broccoli, peas and coconut milk to the pan. Stir well then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes or until the broccoli and peas are cooked. 
  5. Serve the stew over rice and sprinkle with chopped coriander. 

This meal is very low in fat but very rich in fibre, protein and iron. If you get too gassy eating this, you can leave out the rice and eat the lentils and vegetable stew on its own or with cauliflower rice. The body finds it easier to digest legumes when they’re eaten with non-starchy vegetables. You can always eat the rice after you’ve eaten the lentils and vegetables.