Argentine Vegetarian Lentil Stew

Written and compiled by Lori Jo and published on the Advantage Wellness Management Inc. blog, websites, and all their social medias but the company has since closed due to new health reform laws so I am publishing the work here as an example of my published work.
Recipe and photos by Lori Jo

 

San Martin de los Andes

San Martin de los Andes

Known in Argentina as guiso de lentejas (lentil stew) this is the perfect dish for a cold fall or winter night. Packed with protein and iron, the vegetarian version is a very hearty and healthy dish that the whole family can enjoy.  I learned this recipe from my Argentine friends who were from Patagonia, where this recipe was born due to the cold climate. Argentines eat a lot of red meat and I am a vegetarian, so I adjusted this recipe to be hearty and comforting without the meat.  I hope you enjoy!

First, let us look at the nutritional value and benefits of lentils since this is the main ingredient of this stew.

  • 30% of their calories are from protein
  • Lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut
  • These proteins include the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine
  • Lentils are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world, especially in West Asia and the Indian subcontinent where there are many vegetarians
  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B
  • Minerals
  • Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods
  • When mixed with grains, such as rice, you will have a complete protein dish
  • Iron

You should always soak lentils overnight.  Why? Lentils contain trypsin inhibitors and relatively high phytate content. Trypsin is an enzyme involved in digestion, and phytates reduce the bioavailability of dietary minerals. You can reduce these negative aspects by soaking the lentils in warm water overnight. (I took out the cleaning part because in your steps below, cleaning is a step that involves rinsing before actually soaking overnight.)

Now let us get to the good part – cooking and eating! Buen provecho!

Serves:  four

Fresh Ingredients

Fresh Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Lentils: 10.5 oz./300 grams, rinsed and soaked (use the large brown ones)
  • Butternut Squash: 8.8 oz./250 grams, cubed
  • Carrot: 1, cubed
  • Red bell pepper:  ½, cubed
  • Yellow onion: 1 small, chopped
  • Garlic: 2 medium cloves, finely chopped
  • Potato: 1, cubed
  • Sweet potato: 1 cubed
  • Dried mushrooms: 1 medium handful soaked
  • Sun dried tomato: 1 medium handful soaked
  • Vegetable broth: 2 cubes
  • Tomato extract: 2 tsp.
  • Olive oil: 3 tbsp. (use extra virgin to condiment and regular to cook with)
  • Smoked paprika (Pimentón Ahumado): 2 tsp.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh or dry rosemary: approximately 2 teaspoons (this is what gives it the classic Patagonia flavor)
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley chopped: 1 small handful, chopped
  • Shredded parmesan or goat cheese to add as a topping, approximately one large handful

Method

Cooking the Stew

Cooking the Stew

  1.  Clean lentils by putting into a large bowl and running water, stirring until the water runs clean.
  2. Soak them overnight in warm water and drain. DO NOT use this water to cook them in!
  3. In a large cooking pot (large enough to hold all the ingredients) sauté the onions in olive oil until soft and opaque
  4. Add the finely chopped garlic
  5. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and sauté for another 2 minutes
  6. Add the rinsed, soaked and drained lentils
  7. Add the potato, sweet potato, and butternut squash
  8. Cook for a few minutes, until al dente
  9. Add the vegetable broth cubes or use your own homemade broth along with the smoked paprika, rosemary and tomato extract
  10. Cook for 10 minutes and add the bell pepper, mushrooms, and sun dried tomatoes
  11. Cook for 5 minutes more, until the lentils are soft but not mushy. If they turn mushy they will fall apart, same with the vegetables
  12. Top with parsley and your cheese of choice and a dash of extra virgin olive oil to condiment

Enjoy!

Final Dish with Goat Cheese

Final Dish with Goat Cheese

Final Dish with Parmesan

Final Dish with Parmesan

Sources:

“Lentil.” Wikipedia Encyclopedia Online. September 18, 2012
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lentil>.
“World’s Healthiest Foods.” Health Magazine.
<http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20410299,00.html>.

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