Aromatic Lentil Stew


Don’t be put off by all the ingredients in this one. For us this is a pantry staple meal – most of the ingredients I have in our pantry all the time. Mix and match the vegies to whatever you have on hand. You can leave out the spinach, chillies (or use dried chillies or chilli powder), coconut milk and lime juice if they’re not on hand. I usually use chopped ginger in a jar.

Despite this being about lentils, it’s actually a really flavourful and aromatic with the spices. A bonus is that it’s very healthy and cheap. This makes a huge quantity so good for leftovers (lentil flan?) or just reduce the amounts.

I like my lentil stew really liquidy, but if you prefer a drier dhal like consistency, add less water. I had a hard time working out quantities for the ingredients list because I throw in whatever seems right, so adjust the quantities and ingredients to suit your own taste.


oil to sauté

1/2 – 1 onion finely chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1-2 chillies finely chopped (optional)

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

3/4 cup of red lentils, washed and picked over for stones

1 tin tomatoes, chopped

water to cover

1 cup or so of mixed vegies – whatever you have on hand ie

cauliflower, zucchini, carrot, beans, capsicum, peas, potato etc

small bunch of spinach, washed and trimmed

small (165ml) tin of coconut milk

Juice from 1/2 lime or lemon

1/4 cup chopped coriander

salt to taste


  1. In a large saucepan sauté onions in oil until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the lentils. Add the tinned tomatoes, vegetables and enough water to cover. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked through (soft and mushy). Add extra water as necessary to stop the lentils drying out or according to your preferred consistency.
  4. When the lentils and vegies are cooked, stir in the spinach, enough coconut milk to make the consistency you like, lime juice, coriander and salt to taste. Warm until the spinach is just wilted.
  5. Serve with white or brown rice, naan bread or cooked quinoa. Serves 4.

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