Warming from the Inside Out

Everything that possibly could go wrong, did; In the space of about five minutes, the light bulb right above my head blew out in spectacular fashion, the garage door failed to open and was consequently holding the car hostage, and worst of all, the boiler in the basement decided to take a little siesta. Shivering through three layers of clothing, it suddenly hit me that it really shouldn’t be this cold inside… But if the heat isn’t working, it turns out that this temperature is perfectly appropriate. With a fresh layer of snow on the ground and a full day at home planned, it just figures, doesn’t it?

Bumbling about the kitchen in my full winter coat, there was one thing and one thing only on my mind: To keep warm! Mechanically going through the motions of starting up a pot of onions and other aromatics, I had no clue what I really wanted for lunch on such a spirit-dampening day, but it was bound to be warm, and that was good enough for me. Spices followed veggies, adding some heat to the flavor as well, and when the lentils finally joined the mix, I knew that this haphazard meal would really be just the thing I needed.

Somewhere between a soup and a stew, this hearty mix really helped put some color back into my frozen checks. A fairly simple, no-fuss affair, it’s nothing to call the papers about and write a rave review, but it simply hit the spot on that day when little else good was happening. Happily, it makes enough for a small army, so you can plan to save a good amount and reheat it for days to come, should time or energy be of the essence.

I did discover one good thing about having no heat, however- It makes it much easier to photograph the steam from hot foods!

Yield: Makes 8 - 10 Servings

Golden Lentil Stew

Golden Lentil Stew

Somewhere between a soup and a stew, this hearty mix spices up a cold winter's day with ease. A fairly simple, no-fuss affair, it simply hit the spot on that day when little else good was happening. Happily, it makes enough for a small army, so you can plan to save a good amount and reheat it for days to come, should time or energy be of the essence.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Small/Medium Yellow Onions, Roughly Chopped (2 Cups)
  • 2 Leeks, Roughly Chopped (2 Cups)
  • 8 Stalks Celery, Diced (1 Cup)
  • 4 – 6 Carrots, Diced (1 Cup)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Yellow Curry Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Sweet Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 2 Cups Split Yellow Daal (Lentils)
  • 1/2 Cup Uncooked White Rice
  • 1 8-Ounce Can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 6 – 8 Cups Vegetable Stock, or More if Desired
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 Cups Broccoli Florets, Par Cooked from Fresh or Frozen
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas


  1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, get the oil nice and hot, and saute the onions, leeks, celery, carrots, and garlic, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until the onions are translucent and all the veggies are tender.
  2. Add in the herbs and spices, and cook for another 10 minutes to let the flavors begin to mingle.
  3. At this stage, you can go ahead and introduce your dry lentils and rice, as well as the tomato sauce, vinegar, and 6 cups of the vegetable stock. Cover, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the stew to simmer, adding in more stock if it threatens to dry out and burn, for about 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Give it a taste, add in the salt and pepper, taste again, and adjust the seasonings if desired.
  5. Toss in the frozen veggies, kill the heat, and just stir them through the mixture to thaw. Allow 5 minutes for this last round of veg to come up to temperature.
  6. Add in the remaining amount of stock if it’s too thick for your tastes, and even more if you’d prefer something soupier. Serve piping hot!

40 thoughts on “Warming from the Inside Out

  1. WOW! That first photo is absolutely breathtaking, you’ve completely out done yourself, Hannah!

    I love lentils so much, they are always my go to ingredient for those busy evenings when I want something quick and tasty. This recipe looks simple and perfect, I really like the addition of broccoli, I don’t think I’ve ever paired that with lentils before. Fabulous idea1

  2. I love having enough leftovers to feed an army, because then I have something to look forward to at lunch for several days. Hot lunches are essential this time of year!

    Hope you’re keeping warm! :)

  3. Being cold-blooded (figuratively, obviously), I really love soups and stews. This one looks delicious!

    Totally off-topic, do you have a pistachio muffin recipe you wouldn’t mind sharing with me? I’ve gone through the usual suspects of my cookbooks and can’t seem to find one.

  4. I could eat stuff like this every day. There are some very unique things about your version, namely the split peas and rice cooking side by side, and the addition of tomato sauce and vinegar — way to kick it up a notch in the flavor!

  5. That looks exactly like what I could use right now after a day of stepping through masses of snow, fighting for some space in the crowded library, and fighting my way back home through the snow again. Keep warm, Hannah!

  6. It’s nice to see you have a bit of humor with it being so cold in your home! lol! I’m sure this meal did the trick of warming you up.
    I will be whipping this meal up, I think tomorrow night actually.

  7. This looks just delicious as do all of your recipes. I have a daughter who is vegetarian and because of her I’m slowly leaning that way, myself. I’ve made more meatless meals in the past six months than ever and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s only a matter of time…I can see the writing on the wall…etc., etc. :-)

  8. Oh Hannah, this golden lentil dish looks delicious…so colorful…thanks for sharing it, since my goal this year is to cook more vegetarian dishes :-)

  9. This actually looks superb to me. There is so much color in it, which makes it that much more appealing. I can tell just by looking at it that it is delicious.

    I’m sorry to hear your day was so hectic but at least you had this to cheer you up!

  10. I was just going to comment on the photo that captured that steam. I can never capture that in my photos. This is my kind of dish

  11. This looks wonderful – so warming, hearty and healthy. I have been lentil-obsessed lately, so this is great. Looks like the perfect thing to take to work and warm up for lunch. Yum!

  12. I hope everything at home gets cleared up ASAP.

    Reading through this, I was thinking “man, I’m gonna wish I could have this, too.” Then I read the ingredients. I CAN make it! Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. The steam does look wonderful indeed! Hmm, gotta remember that! That is one of my worst fears that our heating would stop at this moment in time, as we have pretty cold weather here at the moment too! Hope everything works again!

  14. I had all the ingredients laying around tonight, and just made the stew. It was, and is, amazing.

    Thank you very much for the recipe, and I truly hope your heat has returned.

  15. Wow! Your golden lentil stew looks absolutely amazing! I love all of your beautiful photos. I’ll definitely give this wonderful recipe a try. It sounds so perfect and comforting for this kind of weather. Hope you stay warm:)

  16. I made this over the weekend and while it was deeelish I had a tough time getting my lentils to cook all the way through. I took it off the stove after an hour and 40 minutes and they were still a bit too toothsome. Any thoughts as to why that may have happened?

  17. That looks amazing! For some reason, the one and only time I tried to make golden lentils (in a soup) they wouldn’t get soft. This recipe kinda reminds me of my wife’s brown lentil/artichoke stew. Good warming, winter food

Leave a Reply