It’s National Vegetarian Week so I decided to share my favourite recipe for vegan lentil stew, my go-to recipe when I’m feeling run down or I haven’t been looking after myself as well as I should.
I first came up with this recipe after I found out I had a vitamin b12 deficiency after a few years of traveling and not eating what my body needed. After 20 years of being a smug vegetarian who never so much as needed a packet of Galfer, I was angry with myself for being ‘one of those vegetarians’ and set out to add vitamin B12 into my diet as much as possible, which meant – as well as fortified foods – getting to grips with yeast extract. Some people detest Marmite but I promise you, you won’t even taste it in this recipe. More importantly, just 5g of Marmite gives you 25% of your recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin B12 so I try to eat this dish once a week at least.
As well as the high iron content of the green lentils and broccoli, I always serve it with a generous serving of bulgur wheat for extra B vitamins or quinoa for added protein on top of the tofu cubes. People always gripe that they’re never full after vegetarian food. Well, make this stew and you’ll be unzipping your skinny jeans, trust me.
Here’s my recipe for delicious and nutritious vegan lentil stew with tofu and vegetables:
1 red pepper
1 red onion
1 clove of garlic
3 – 4 florets of broccoli cut into smaller florets
Tofu, in small chunks – add as much or as little as you like but I usually go for two think slices then cut into cubes
1 ½ cup of green lentils (soak in cold water for about 30 mins before cooking)
Pinch of Kallo Very Low Salt vegetable stock cube (optional)
1 heaped tablespoon of Marmite/Vegemite/yeast extract of choice
½ tablespoon of vegan gravy (you can use Bisto or another regular brand if you’re not vegan)
Quinoa or bulgur wheat – I think half a cup or under 100g per person is standard portion
Chop your vegetables and, with a small amount of olive oil, add to the pan along with the tofu cubes and saute on a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft.
Rinse your soaking green lentils and add to a saucepan of fresh water. Boil until tender (usually 20 minutes) drain them and put aside once cooked. You can do this step ahead of time.
In a jug, add a pinch of stock cube to boiling water, stir it up and add to the pan. If you want to cut out salt altogether, just add plain water. Lower the heat. Cover the pan and allow your vegetables to simmer until the broccoli and carrots are softened.
In a separate pot, add your grain (quinoa or bulgur wheat) to water and start to boil until tender. Remove from the heat, put a lid on the pot and allow the steam to help the grain puff up.
Add the Marmite and your drained green lentils. Prepare your gravy in a separate jug or bowl by adding cold water to the powder and making a watery paste out of it. Slowly add this to the vegetables on the pan and stir it into the Marmite and stock cube liquid.
Switch off the heat and allow to simmer, stirring regularly. The gravy usually mixes well with the yeast extract and starts to thicken up. If it gets too thick, just add a bit more water and keep stirring so it doesn’t turn into blobs (ugh). Everyone has their own preference when it comes to gravy, I prefer it thick and almost molasses-like in colour so feel free to add more or less gravy, depending on what you like.
Serve with your grain of choice, or maybe with some wholemeal brown bread. Now, this is comfort food.
What’s your go-to vegetarian dinner recipe?