This is another of my favourite recipes from Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet – in fact, this is probably my most favourite recipe of all from the book (I previously blogged my adapted version of her amazing cupcakes).
It’s also one of those dishes that will never look pretty, no matter how you try to photograph it – but as all of us in the food blogosphere know, it’s often the things that look the worst that taste the best!
This is certainly true for this dish.
What’s even better is how good this is for you. The spices that are included in this dish are all so beneficial for you and there are so many thrown in, so it they make for a wonderful flavour.
I’m on Day 11 of my 12-day cleanse today and revisiting some recipes that I eat usually and just adjusting them slightly to fit the cleanse guidelines has been what kept me sane throughout the last part of the cleanse.
This one I adjusted slightly but these photographs are from the last time I ate it – before the cleanse – so as you can see, I served it with some gluten-free bread slices and had peas in there (both not allowed on this cleanse!).
I’m posting the original, pre-cleanse recipe of course, which I have only adapted slightly from Alicia Silverstone’s, as hers is a fabulous recipe in and of itself. These are just tweaks that I felt corrected any of the things I didn’t like in my first batch which was made to the letter (the first was too runny for me, for example).
I highly recommend you get her book if there isn’t already a copy of it on your bookshelf!
Before I post the recipe, here are some of the benefits of the spices included in this stew. Spices are SO good for us so throw them in any recipe for a change up in taste and for your health!
- Ginger – this spice has some anti-inflammatory properties, and it has been used to help decrease pain for arthritis sufferers. It is also, of course, a great stomach settler and is safe for pregnant women so is often used to help battle morning sickness and nausea. Also recommended for seasickness/nausea. Studies are showing that it is possible ginger thins the blood and helps lower cholesterol, so it’s a great heart disease preventative.
- Turmeric – similar to ginger, this spice has many anti-inflammatory properties (it’s part of the same family as ginger, hence the similar colours). It is also said that turmeric can work at preventing some cancers. It has been shown to have some antibacterial and antifungal properties. Research is currently being done to measure its beneficial effects for people living with Alzheimer’s.
- Cumin – new research is showing that cumin might have a tumour-shrinking effect, so it could be a powerful anticarcinogen. Cumin is known for its digestive benefits, helping with an array of digestive disorders, and it is a great spice to use when you have a cold. It is also said to increase body heat, kicking the metabolism into higher gear.
- Coriander – when it’s bought fresh, in North America we often call this herb cilantro. As with many spices there are many antioxidant benefits to coriander. In some parts of the world it is used as a natural treatment for anxiety and insomnia, and in mice it has been shown to help treat diabetes. This herb can also lower levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
- Cinnamon – cinnamon is known for lowering cholesterol, but it’s also an excellent manager of blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that when consuming cinnamon along with sugary food, the cinnamon slowed the absorption of the sugar into the bloodstream, lowering the extreme spikes in blood sugar that eating sweet food usually causes. It is also powerfully antiviral.
- Cayenne – cayenne pepper is very high in vitamin A, as well as vitamins B6, E and C, riboflavin, manganese and potassium. It has been said to be a male aphrodisiac! It increases metabolism in a similar way to cumin and can decrease blood pressure and cleanse the arteries, ridding the body of bad cholesterol and triglycerides. It also helps with digestion, particularly encouraging elimination, and can help heal stomach ulcers. Some go as far as to say that it can prevent prostate cancer and stop heart attacks within moments, but I don’t know how much research has been done on those claims! Certainly the good old lemon and cayenne in water trick is a great metabolism booster to start your day off.
Now you should really be wanting this stew!
Vegan, gluten-free, full of goodness…:)
You can also serve it over rice, rather than in a bowl on its own. It’s entirely up to you. Also I listed the vegetables I threw in with it but throw in whichever you prefer. Alicia’s recipe didn’t add any vegetables except for the sweet potatoes but I wanted to just make mine a bit more veggie-packed!
Sweet Potato Lentil Stew – adjusted only slightly from The Kind Diet
INGREDIENTS (serves 6):
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you want it hotter)
Salt and pepper
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into cubes
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas or petit pois
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water (if needed)
1 cup brown or green lentils
1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven.
2. Add onion and stirfry until soft and golden. Stir in tomatoes and ginger and cook for a few minutes. Add turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Stir for a few more minutes. Here you can taste and decide if you want to alter the seasonings at all.
3. Add sweet potatoes, broth and lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower and simmer for 30 minutes or so, covering.
4. Check your stew. If you want it thinning out you can add some water. If not, just leave it as is. Either way, add in your vegetables (except peas).
5. Simmer for 10 minutes more and check to see if everything is cooked. If so, add the peas and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes longer. At this point you again may need to add water if it is too thick for your liking.
6. Once everything is cooked, simply take off the heat and serve! Note, if you have this the next day as leftovers the mixture does thicken in the fridge, so you then may need to add water before reheating. Enjoy!
Nutritional information per serving if serves 6: