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Meatless Monday: Moroccan Lentil Stew (Crock Pot)

Since I fairly recently made the “Recipes” page of this blog, I had an opportunity to review what we’ve eaten for the last few months.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how many vegetarian dishes I’ve made–looks like my Meatless Mondays paid off!  I believe that we are now officially out of the “forcing myself to do it” and into the “habit/lifestyle” phase.  Even Fritz doesn’t find it unusual to be eating meatless for a few days in a row (minus his lunchtime pastrami sandwiches, of course).  One of my friends posted a “top 30 health foods” list in her blog recently, and I was pleased to see that Fritz and I eat all of them, minus a few–like chard (ew)–on a regular basis.

So one benefit of food blogging–it’s like an intensive, long-term food diary.  Perfect for a little early-March life assessment.

Here’s a recipe for a sassy Moroccan-style vegetarian stew I made in the Crock Pot for tonight.  Set it up before work/school, turn it on low, and come home to a warm bowl of spicy lentils, beans, and vegetables.  Does it get better than that?

(Although I must say that the site I found the recipe inspiration on is written by a woman who apparently ate Crock Pot meals for an entire year.  Um…no.  I like to vary the texture of my meals, thank you very much.  Once a week, tops, is enough for me).

Moroccan Lentil Stew (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 C carrot, diced
  • 1″ piece ginger,peeled and minced (I used a bit more–I love ginger!)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed (or 2/3 C dried beans, which soaked overnight will equal about a 15 oz can)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed (2/3 C dried beans, soaked overnight)
  • 1 C dried lentils (I used red lentils)
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 C veggie broth, plus an extra 2 C water (more if you used dried beans)
  • 1 1/2 t garam masala (recipe coming soon!)
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t cinnamon

Set the stage–plug your Crock Pot in.

Done.

Basically, dump all the ingredients into the pot, turn it on low, and go do what you want for a few hours (7, if you had my schedule). 

The more glamorous version is this: chop the veggies first (onion, carrots, and mince the ginger, too), toss those in.  Add the beans and lentils.  Top with spices.  Pour in the can of diced tomatoes and the broth.  Give it a quick stir.  If you used dried beans that soaked overnight, add a few extra cups of water.  Actually, even if you used regular beans, you might want to add some extra water.  Those lentils will suck it right up–but you can always add more when you get home (I did that, too).

The step you didn’t see?  I actually made the garam masala–I’ll show you how to do that in my next post.  Easy, and it smells so good. 

Like I said, cook on low for 6-8 hours, then serve.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

That’s the antique version of Moroccan stew.  Here’s the regular:

Doesn’t that look heavenly?  This stew is nice and thick because the lentils break down as they cook and basically puree themselves (thank you lentils!). This stew also has a sweeter and warmer taste than most stews I make–I think that’s due to the generous amount of nutmeg and cinnamon.  I loved it.  Not overpowering, but definitely distinct.

Want to know the secret to all these patterned backgrounds?  I swore to myself that I would never tell, but I’ll betray my own confidence because it’s such and easy and cheap way to have fun food pictures when you don’t feel like making an elaborate set-up.  I just thought you would like to know.

I bought a humongous book of scrapbooking papers from Joann’s Fabrics at 50% off for $9.00.  There are a couple hundred square sheets of fabulous patterns–I just choose one, rip it out, toss on the table for pictures, and then stick it back in the book for another time.  I literally stumbled across the idea while I was looking for fabric to make pillow covers for the couch.

I love those cheap and easy inspirations, don’t you?

What’s one of the ways that you use everyday items for unusual and creative purposes?

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15 comments

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  1. Kristine

    This is So beautiful and full of delicious!!

    YUM!!!!!

    thanks for sharing!
    xo

  2. mooovu

    can’t wait for you to share the garam masala

  3. littlehealthjunkie

    This looks fantastic; better yet, I’ve got all of the ingredients on hand!! Can’t wait to try this out soon:) super soon.. :) and I love the antique pic, what program do you use to achieve that!?

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I use photoscape, it’s one of the filters in the program :) it’s a free download!

  4. Robyn

    I pinned your recipe last week and made it on Thursday and it was good! My kids all ate happily, thank you!

  5. Cassandra Marie

    Thanks so much for this recipe! Currently I am living in Kampala, Uganda and my hours are never the same. Just last week I found a crock pot that did not brake the bank, you never know what is going to be radically $$$ out here.This recipe is in my crock pot NOW! Black beans can not be found out here so I added in some potatoes, we will see how it goes. Can not wait to try it and others in this category.

  6. Farrah

    aren’t you just the buzzkill for scientific inquiry! that woman gave life to crock pots when all we had was velveeta mac ‘n’ cheese and applesauce!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      ha! your comment made me LOL

  7. Anna

    Made this yesterday and it was a big hit. Deliciousness! Thanks!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Glad to hear it!

  8. Sarah

    I really love your beautiful photos. Here’s one constructive suggestion: be more concise when writing the recipe. I like to cruise beautiful blogs like yours when looking for dinner inspiration, but when it comes time to make the meal, I want to have a print out of the recipe so I don’t worry about having my laptop in the kitchen. It’s hard to print out and follow the recipe when it is wordy and spread out over several paragraphs that are interrupted by photos.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I appreciate the feedback (sorry for the delay)–I actually agree with you, if I was searching for a recipe I’d rather it be concise. It’s hard to balance with my style of writing but I may try to condense it a bit better. Thank you!

  9. Cheryl

    LOVED your recipe, tried it last night! I found you by googling “vegetarian crock pot recipe.” I wasn’t sure about adding the cinnamon, not a big fan of sweet bean dishes, but decided to stick more or less with your recipe at first… glad I did! It does smell wonderful. My son thought it was apple pie. I left out the cayenne thinking I could get the kids to eat it, but no go. Too unfamiliar. But this will become familiar, as hubby and I fought over the leftovers. I will make it double next time! The bites of garbanzo beans are really luscious combined with the mushy, spicy lentils. Yum, yum!

    Also, I love your anecdotes. It makes me want to read more of your blog. I just highlighted and printed the ingredients for transfer to kitchen, worked fine for me.

  10. Moira

    Approx how many would this recipe serve?

  11. Donna

    Wondering if the cayenne makes this very spicy. The recipe looks delicious but want something my 1 and 3 year old will eat too!

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