I’m not a meat and potatoes kind of person. I see meat as a vehicle for barbecue sauce and potatoes as an accompaniment for greens or spices. That’s why I was so surprised that this vegan lentil stew stole my heart. This take on “meat-n-potatoes” features no meat substitutes. Instead, it’s a slow-simmered lentil stew over fluffy potatoes.
Step 1: slow-cook the lentils
When it comes to European-style lentils, the slow cooker version takes the cake (gravy?). The low temperature and slow cooking time salt the lentils from the inside out, allow the ingredients to soak up the broth, and produce a thicker, creamier gravy.
It’s also easy. Put everything in a pot. Turn the pot on. Six hours later, dress it and serve.
Step 2: dress the stew
There’s a great recipe for lentil salad in the Lemonade cookbook. In this recipe, the chef adds salad dressing after the lentil stew cooks. I adapted this idea for a gravy, adding olive oil and red wine vinegar only after the stew cooks. This preserves the raw flavor and nutrition of the oil and keeps the vinegar tangy.
Step 3: mashed potatoes
If vegan mashed potatoes sound bland and futile, think again. I’m in it for the monounsaturated fats: olive oil!
Lentils, slow-cooked with veggies and herbs, pairs with mashed potatoes for a hearty winter meal.
- 1 1/2 cups green lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 1/2 large carrots, diced
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons good white wine
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 8–10 small gold potatoes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
For the Lentil Stew
- Add all the ingredients for the stew to a crockpot. Set to high and cook four hours.
- After the fourth hour, observe the lentils. The water should be absorbed but the bottom of the pot shouldn’t be sticky or dry. If dry, add a bit more water or broth.
- Turn crockpot to low and cook another hour.
- At the end of the hour, turn the pot to warm. Add the dressing ingredients and stir well. Taste the broth. If it’s too pungent, add another sprinkle of sugar. If it’s bland, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Retaste.
For the Mashed Potatoes
- Boil the potatoes, skin on, for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water.
- Add potatoes to a large mixing bowl, along with the garlic, salt, olive oil, and milk. Blend with a mixer or by hand until the mixture is smooth.
- If you like it chunky, stop right there! If you like your potatoes creamier, add cooking water, by the tablespoon, until you reach the desired consistency.
- Get your biggest ladle and take out a scoop of potatoes. Put potatoes on a plate and then use the ladle to make a well for the lentil stew.
- Get a big ladle full of lentils and pour it on top.
Keywords: lentils, vegetables, lentil stew, gravy, American food, day dinners, fresh herbs, potatoes, mashed potatoes, olive oil