It's that time my friends. Time to pull out your chunky, oversized sweaters. Time to turn on the heater at night. Time to pull out the flannels sheets. Time to open up your scarf drawer. And time to make warm, cozy meals like this root vegetable and lentil quinoa stew for dinner!
I whipped up this last week, using my One Pot Lentils + Quinoa as a base, and brought it to a friend who just had her second baby. We all gobbled it up (even her 19-month-old) and there was plenty leftover for them to freeze for later. It's one of those meals that sticks to your ribs, but in a good way. Not an overly stuffed or heavy way. Since it's plant-based it still has that lightness that you wouldn't get if you were serving something like beef stew.
Of course, the base of this quinoa stew is root veggies. I'm not being specific here, but you really can use whatever you want! I went for a combination of parsnips, carrots, golden beets and white potatoes, but you could use anything from rutabaga, turnips, sweet potatoes, red beets or even a squash.
We caramelize those with some shallots, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and an Italian herb blend. This sauteing part helps to infuse more flavor into the vegetables, add a touch more sweetness to the stew and gets the outsides a little browned.
Then it's time to let it simmer. I added vegetable broth and a can of diced tomatoes and let the stew cook for a few hours. The length of time will depend on the type of vegetables and size that you've cut them into.
Mine were fairly large and the beets took quite a while to cook. If I didn't have the beets in there, I think the stew could have been done in under an hour, but it ended up taking around one and a half or two until everything was soft.
At the end, I stirred in some fresh spinach to give it a bit more color and add some greens. Totally optional, but it ups the nutrient density, you can't taste it at all, and makes the dish more pretty to serve.
You could also totally swap in your favorite leafy green–kale, chard, collards, etc.–they'd all work!
For serving, I recommend you top it with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes for heat and some fresh parsley. I actually used my grated cashew trick for these photos since I don't eat cheese, but I did end up stirring some nutritional yeast inside to give it a slight cheesy flavor. It was perfect!
And again, this is an awesome freezer meal AND it serves a crowd. It's one of those dishes that I'm going to be making all winter long, serving to my family when they come over and freezing in individual sizes so I can whip one out for a healthy lunch/dinner when I don't feel like cooking.
What's your favorite cozy fall recipe? Are you a stew, soup or chili fan? If so, leave me your faves in the comments below and I'll add them to my list! And if you end up making this recipe, make sure to snap a pic and share it with me on Instagram–you can tag @simplyquinoa or use #simplyquinoa!
One-Pot Root Vegetable + Lentil Quinoa Stew
This is an awesome freezer meal AND it serves a crowd. It's one of those dishes that I'm going to be making all winter long, serving to my family when they come over and freezing in individual sizes so I can whip one out for a healthy lunch/dinner when I don't feel like cooking.
- 9 cups chopped mixed root vegetables carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, potatoes, beets, etc.
- 2 shallots finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or dried herbs of choice; thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano, basil, etc.
- 1 teaspoon salt + pepper
- 1 - 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 cup green or brown lentils
- 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon miso paste optional*
- 1/3 cup red quinoa or variety of choice, uncooked
- 4 - 5 cups fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast optional
- Olive oil fresh herbs and grated cashews* to garnish
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or cast iron pot. Add root vegetables, shallots and garlic, and cook until the vegetables have started to soften and brown, about 8 - 12 minutes. Stir in herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook for another 3 - 5 minutes.
- Pour in lentils, tomato, bay leaves, broth, and water, and bring this mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Scoop about 1/4 cup of liquid out from the pot and stir in the miso until dissolved. Add back to the pot along and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove lid, add quinoa and stir to combine. Bring the mixture back to a boil, recover and reduce to simmer until vegetables are soft, 30 - 60 minutes.
- Remove pot from the heat, uncover and add spinach and nutritional yeast (if using), stirring gently to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs and grated cashews.
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