Curry Lentil Stew

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Kevin and I spent the weekend in Spokane to pick my parents up from the airport from their two week vacation to the Caribbean.  They came back tan and relaxed, and unacclimated to the nasty weather we have been having in the inland Northwest.  My mom is not usually a shopper when they go on vacations, so I never expect souvenirs, but this time, she brought home a little spice jar of saffron (some of which she shared with me)!  Saffron is a spice derived from the saffron crocus flower that has a rich, earthy, smokey, yet floral scent, and is used in many cuisines for seasoning and as a coloring agent.  By weight, saffron is one of the most expensive spices you can find at a grocery store, and for that reason, I have usually eliminated it from any recipes I make.  Todays recipe has a half teaspoon of saffron, but can easily be replaced with cumin or another spice of your liking.

Curry Lentil Stew
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 1/2 c roasted butternut or similar squash, (how to roast squash)
4 c vegetable broth
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 c dried lentils, rinsed
1 T curry powder
1/2 t saffron, or cumin
1/4 t paprika
1/8-1/2 t cayenne pepper (for heat)

Directions:  Prepare the roasted butternut squash.  In a large soup pan, water saute the onions until tender.  Add the vegetable broth and roasted squash.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  With an immersion blender, or in batches with a countertop blender, puree the soup until no chunks remain.  At this point the contents will not be very thick, but water will be absorbed by the lentils, and it will become nice and creamy.  Next, add in the chopped celery and red bell pepper, and the lentils.  Bring to a light boil, and boil until the lentils are the desired consistency, about 20-30 minutes.  Turn down the heat, add in the spices, and stir well.  Serve with pita chips (as pictured).  Enjoy!
Amy's Notes:  For this recipe you can use any squash that you prefer.  This might include butternut squash, acorn squash, or even pumpkin. I roast my squashes in large batches and freeze the insides for later use, like I did for this lentil stew.  I prefer my lentils to be a bit chewier, so I only allowed the soup to boil for 20 minutes before adding the spices and serving.  This turns out to be a pretty thick stew, so I enjoyed mine by scooping a bit of it up with some pita chips.  This stew would also work great in lettuce wraps, I'll definitely be trying that with my leftovers! :)
I took a trip last week to the local co-op, which is the best place to find those unique nutritarian foods, but is significantly more expensive than the normal grocery store.  I ended up getting some interesting things such as nutritional yeast and chia seeds.  I have never eaten chia seeds before, but am giving it a go by adding it to a few desserts and breakfast items.  I will let you know my verdict after I try a few things.  

Have you ever tried chia seeds?  What is your favorite way to eat chia seeds?


  1. El Kevo Toro1/31/2012 12:02 AM

    You should just forget school and get a job taking pictures of food.

  2. Wow, I have all the ingredients for this dish in my fridge (I even have pureed butternut squash from my winter CSA). The universe must be telling me to make this dish tonight!! Sounds like a winner to me...
    Thanks, Amy!!

    1. Thanks for reading Cindy. I just threw this recipe together and it seemed to get the job done. All of my leftovers are already gone! Hope you enjoyed! :) -Amy

  3. This stew looks great, I'm going to give it a try! I use chia seeds in my morning smoothie. I add the liquid first, a TBS of Chia seeds, then handfuls of baby spinach (this keeps the seeds in the liquid and not up the blender sides where they stick). I blend it until the seeds and spinach are very well blended then I add the fruit. Its great!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll have to keep that in mind next time I make a smoothie. -Amy

  4. I realize that this is an older post, but I just found your blog today, and I love it! As for chia seeds, I really love to put a couple teaspoons in my grape juice and shake-shake-shake it to get them all submerged. Then I let it sit for a while in the fridge for the seeds to soften a little bit and drink it! It is a little weird at first, but when they start to slightly gel the juice, it's fun! I thought I was just some sort of crazy awesome juice inventor, but then I saw drinks (usually kombucha) with chia seeds in them already at Whole Foods. Oh well! It's still delicious!

    1. So glad to hear that you are enjoying my blog. I do love writing it, but have been a bit busy lately with a new job and planning my wedding coming up in September. Please do stay tuned for some new posts coming in the next week or so!
      I never thought to make kombucha with chia seeds at home! I'm totally going to have to try that soon! I hope you don't mind me using the idea for a post sometime soon :) -Amy