Butternut squash adds sweetness, chickpeas add protein, and veggies add nutrients!
Perfect for meal prep, this slow cooker lentil stew delivers high protein in the form of a healthy vegetable soup. Oftentimes used as a meat alternative, lentils are prized for their earthy, rich texture. Butternut squash adds sweetness, while chickpeas add protein, and veggies add nutrients. Coupled with a bounty of tomatoes and finished off with kale, this humble stew pleases with an easy texture and great taste.
Lentils Are Full Of Nutrients We Need
Not so fun fact: Only one in ten people meet the recommended amount of vegetable consumption per day. On account of the fact that diabetes and heart conditions are a national concern, logging in 2-3 cups of vegetables per day is a good idea. Despite the fact that a fair number of Westerners weren’t raised on a steady supply of nutrient filled vegetables, we are now at a turning point in our culture. To that end, it’s up to us to educate ourselves and to provide opportunities for our children to eat well.
Lentils are high in protein, fiber, folate, iron, and other minerals. Additionally they are low in sodium and saturated fat. Because of their meaty texture, lentils work well in recipes like stew, chili, taco and pepper fillings. They also go great in salads and pastas and can be made into hummus like dips.
Canned Tomatoes In Slow Cooker Lentil Stew
Canned tomatoes bring the best, most consistent tomato flavor to any dish requiring cooked tomatoes. Not only are canned tomatoes picked at their ripest, they are also quickly cooked to retain flavor and quality. For this reason, tomatoes are one of those veggies that impart more nutrients when cooked. Most importantly, tomatoes are high in lycopene. What’s more, the action of cooking opens up the cell walls in the tomato plant. As a result, the final cooked product offers three times more the amount of cancer protection and anti-inflammatory benefits than fresh tomatoes.
Pro tip: when buying canned tomatoes, choose whole peeled tomatoes instead of pre-cut ones. It’s a little known fact that chemicals are added to preserve the shape of the cuts in a can. Nobody needs those. If it’s a soup you’re making that doesn’t require precision cuts anyway, then squeeze the tomatoes in your hand to break them down. Sure, it’s a little messy, but so what?
Hearty Vegetable Soup—Perfect Lunch Date
Because this slow cooker lentil stew recipe features butternut squash, chickpeas, and kale, you couldn’t get a more complete meal than this one. In fact, by wilting the kale greens at the end of the cook, you get all those nutrients and Vitamin K in a whole form. Squash and chickpeas add on another level of texture and color as well. Most definitely, this is one hearty soup that you won’t find blah or boring.
This recipe makes about eight servings, so if you timed it right, that makes for almost two work week’s lunches. Freeze half in one container, and keep the other half in the fridge. Technically, you get two free days without the slow cooker lentil stew, but you can always scale the recipe up or pack smaller portions!
Fully-Loaded Slow Cooker Lentil Stew
- 2 cups butternut squash chopped into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 cups celery chopped
- 15 ounces chickpeas can
- 1 1/2 cup brown lentils dry
- 1 white onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 8 cups vegetable broth low-sodium
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 ounces kale coarsely chopped
- Add all ingredients to the slow cooker except the kale.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or high for 3 to 4 hours.
- Before serving add the kale and recover for ten minutes, until the kale is wilted.
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Adapted from Pinch of Yum.
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