A comforting stew that's healthy and easy to make!
I think it’s well-known that slow cooker recipes are pretty easy to make. You just gather your ingredients and toss them into the bowl of your crock pot. Then, just set the temperature and walk away (or, go to sleep!). So, when I say that this slow cooker rosemary lentil stew is one of the easiest recipes to make, I really mean that it’s super simple!
As compared to other dried beans, lentils don’t take very long to make. You don’t even need to soak them before cooking them because they’re so small and tender. Lentils don’t tend to overcook easily, either, because they either retain their texture well or they break down to become the body of the stew. You’ll never have to worry about a mealy texture with this dish!
And, just because this recipe happens to be vegan, that doesn’t mean that it won’t satisfy the meat lovers in your life. This recipe is a great way to start increasing the number of plant-based meals in your life. You won’t miss the meat – we promise!
Red vs Brown vs Green Lentils
There are a few different types of lentils out there. While you can use some as a substitute for others, it’s important to know the characteristics of each before making changes. We use red lentils in this recipe, and you’ll see why in a minute.
Green lentils take the longest to cook of all the lentil varieties. When cooked on the stovetop, they take about 45 minutes. They have a peppery flavor and a very firm texture. Because they won’t break down, they make a good ground beef replacement for meatloaf or tacos.
Brown lentils are slightly earthier than the green varieties, and they cook in about 30 minutes on the stovetop. They still hold their shape well, but they’re prone to break down more easily than the green kinds. They range from light brown to dark-black beluga lentils. The darker they are, the earthier their flavor will be.
Red lentils can also appear orange or golden-yellow, and they’re the quickest cooking type of lentil. They’re sweet and nutty in flavor, and they cook in fewer than 30 minutes on the stovetop and are prone to breaking down. Because they tend to break down and get mushy, they’re the perfect lentil for creating a thick, full-bodied stew.
What Else Makes This Stew Special
In addition to the flavorful and full-bodied lentils, we have a few extra special ingredients in this stew. We love the addition of parsnips and carrots. The carrots bring a beautiful sweetness to the dish, while the parsnips add a little bit of a spice.
Then, we toss in some onions, garlic, tomatoes, and red bell peppers. The alliums bring a nice pungency to the stew, while the tomatoes and red bell peppers add a fresh, savory element. Simmering them all together over a few hours, these ingredients really come together to make something special!
Finally, we finish it off with some bright lemon zest to add an extra zip of flavor (and add a pleasing aroma, too). The rosemary makes everything a little bit piney and resinous, which is so satisfying when it all comes together. What you end up with is a super easy, delicious plant-based stew that will work for everyone in the family – vegan or not!
Slow Cooker Rosemary Lentil Stew
- 2 cups carrots diced large
- 1 cup parsnip cut large
- 1 cup celery cut large
- 1 onion large, diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 15 ounces diced tomatoes can
- 2 cups red lentils
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons rosemary fresh, chopped
- Combine all ingredients except for lemon zest and rosemary. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.
- Stir in the lemon zest and rosemary and let the slow cooker sit on warm for about 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
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