Lentils are without a doubt one of my favorite foods. These little colorful gems of the earth create all kinds of yummy meals. Use them in salads, soups, burgers, dips, paté, or simply eat them plain with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Satisfying, nutritious and economical, they can’t be beat!
This recipe takes the tiny nutty flavored French Du Puy lentils and transforms them into a luscious hearty stew. The yummy twist is adding the turkey meatballs.
Of course meat is optional. The stew can stand alone without the meatballs if you are vegetarian or vegan. But if you are paleo or looking for more lean protein – the meatballs make this an amazingly well rounded delicious meal.
P.S. Lentils don’t have to be soaked like beans do, but can be if you have digestive issues or experience gas or bloating from eating legumes. Be sure to sort through the lentils to remove any stones before rinsing and cooking them.
French Lentil Stew with Turkey Meatballs
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups chopped spinach (frozen or fresh)
2 cups french du puy lentils, sorted and rinsed well
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Heat oil in a large soup pan over medium high heat. Add chopped onion. Sauté for 3 minutes and then stir in carrots. Cook for 3 minutes and stir in mashed garlic cloves with the tomato paste. Add the lentils and enough broth to cover lentils with a couple inches of liquid. Stir in spices and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, adding more broth as needed. Adjust seasoning as needed adding salt and pepper to taste. Can puree this soup or leave it chunky like a stew. Add 2-3 meatballs per serving.
Note: French duPuy lentils are smaller and darker green than plain green lentils. They have a nuttier, sweet taste. If you can’t find French lentils, plain green lentils can be substituted for them.