Slow Cooker South Indian Lentil Stew

I have been REALLY digging lentils lately. I literally made a lentil and feta salad with parsley, red onion, and red pepper FOUR times over the course of two weeks. Four times! So when I saw this Slow Cooker South Indian Lentil Stew pop up on as the recipe of the day, I couldn’t look the other way.

Now you may be thinking – slow cooker (the one I have) in the summer? Is that really a good idea? And the truth is, it really is! I set this baby up to cook before heading out to hike this past Sunday, and when I got back to my apartment, not only was it not burnt to the ground (which is still a concern of mine every time I use the slow cooker), it wasn’t even hot like if I had cooked something over the stove or in the oven.

I made this recipe exactly as prescribed, so I can’t call it my own – but I can offer one suggestion. Use less salt. The recipe called for 1 tablespoon, and it was just way too much. I  would recommend going with half that, or even less honestly. There are so many spices going on in this recipe that I’m not sure you really even need the salt. I have step by step instructions below, along with a trick for peeling ginger that works like a charm. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker South Indian Lentil Stew

    • Prep Time: 20 mins
    • Cook Time: 6 hours on low (or 8.5 if you hit traffic on the way home from hiking)
    • Servings: 6
    • PointsPlus: 6 per serving
    • Source:

So first up, the ingredients:

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A lot of them! For simplicity’s sake, here’s what I put together the night before in the slow cooker:

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  • 2 cup(s) dry red lentils
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp sugar

The recipe says if you’re missing a spice or two, it’s no big deal, but I happened to have them all on hand except the mustard seed, so I picked some up at Whole Foods in anticipation of making this.

With all the spices and lentils premixed, this left just the following to deal with in the morning:

    • 15 oz canned diced tomatoes
    • 10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
    • 4 cup(s) canned chicken broth, or vegetable broth
    • 1 small uncooked onion, minced
    • 1 Tbsp ginger root, fresh, minced
    • 1 Tbsp minced garlic

Since nothing had to be done with the tomatoes, spinach, or broth, it meant the only prep I had to do in the morning was deal with the onion, garlic, and ginger.

First up, the onion and garlic – no problem.

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Want to know a cool trick about peeling ginger? The secret lies in the following tool that you probably already have you in your kitchen:

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A spoon! The spoon peels only the skin off the garlic if you use it like so:

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Sort of scraping the skin off. It works so much better than a pairing knife or anything else. Thanks to my sister Heather for teaching me this trick because you don’t waste any of the ginger itself!

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After everything is prepped, toss it into the crockpot with the lentils, spices, tomatoes, and spinach.

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Mix it all together.

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Then pour in your broth.

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And you are ready to go. When you come back to it 6 (or 8.5) hours later, the liquid will have absorbed and you’ll be left with a thick lentil stew.

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Mix it up and then add your two final ingredients:

  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, minced

And you are ready to eat!

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This stew was absolutely DELICIOUS. It’s full of flavors, textures and is so, so satisfying. Since it was 6 servings, I ate one on the spot and then put the other 5 in containers for lunch during the week.

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I ended up freezing two of them for later, but let me tell you – it’s even better the next day as leftovers since the flavors have even more time to mesh together.

If you want to print the recipe, click over to the version, but don’t forget to cut the salt at least in half!

Do you ever use your slow cooker in warmer weather? Share a favorite crockpot recipe in the comments if you have one!

20 Comments on Slow Cooker South Indian Lentil Stew

  1. Bethany
    August 16, 2012 at 9:11 am (8 years ago)

    I have use my slow cooker ALL summer, probably more often than I ever have in colder months. I LOVE coming home and not having to do a big dinner production – and the bonus is definitely that it does not heat up your living space (which is especially awful in the record heat we’ve had this summer combined with living in a condo with a galley kitchen!). My new favorite recipe is an idea I got from Pinterest that is just 16 oz of salsa (or more if you have a bigger jar) plus a packet of taco seasoning (I mix these together in the pot first), then add chicken breasts (I’ve made this with 1.5 lbs to 2.2 lbs). I have used various kinds of salsa and it gives the whole dish a different flavor! I cook it on low anywhere from 7 to10 hours with the same result. Once done, I take the chicken pieces out and shred them with 2 forks, then add them back into the salsa and mix together. I’ve done several things with it – from eating just the chicken to putting it on a sandwich to adding it on top of a salad with extra salsa for dressing. It’s very yummy and filling, plus low WW points!

  2. Felicity @ Waist & Wallet
    August 16, 2012 at 9:14 am (8 years ago)

    Looks yummy! I think I have everything except the lentils on hand. This might have to be put on the agenda for the weekend.

  3. kiki
    August 16, 2012 at 9:50 am (8 years ago)

    Ok…I’m going to do it this weekend! Saw this recipe and thought it looked delicious. Slow cookers and I have a bad history. Fingers crossed.

    • Beth
      August 16, 2012 at 10:36 am (8 years ago)

      I actually broke the ceramic part of the slow cooker after soaking and cleaning it, so I’m right there with you. Just ordered a new one! 🙂

  4. Megan
    August 16, 2012 at 10:29 am (8 years ago)

    A slow cooker has been on my want list for awhile but I’m unsure of what size to get for a single gal in the city. What size do you have and do you find it to be the right size for your needs?

    • Beth
      August 16, 2012 at 10:35 am (8 years ago)

      Hi Megan! I have a 1 1/2 quart (6 cup) slow cooker and I find it’s the perfect size for me. I put a link to it at the top of this post, but here’s the one I have on amazon:

  5. Amanda @ Running On Waffles
    August 16, 2012 at 10:42 am (8 years ago)

    OMG I love this ginger trick!!! I always struggle to peel it and ALWAYS waste so much of it!!!! I can’t wait to give this a try!!!! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Blogging Runner
    August 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm (8 years ago)

    Oh, I love lentils and this sounds amazing!

  7. Tori
    August 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm (8 years ago)

    I absolutely love the slow cooker! I make a bad ass slow cooker lasagna found in my Spark People cookbook. You brown up some lean ground beef, sliced egg plant, and zucchini in a plan. Then you pour tomato sauce(i love Giada’s that Target sells) over that mixture…

    Place some of the mixture in the bottom of the crockpot. Break up 2-3 NO BOIL lasagna noodles so that it covers the bottom. Mix up some low fat Ricotta, one egg white, parsley, and mozzarella in a bowl and place some of this mixture over the noodles. Repeat until all mixtures are gone. 🙂 Let cook on LOW for 4 hours. Deeelish! It would even be yummy without the meat if you want meatless.

    Also, I’ve never had lentils. Would this be a good recipe to try if I am trying them out? Thanks!! 🙂


    • Beth
      August 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm (8 years ago)

      Hey Tori! I’ve never made lasagna in the crockpot before but have wanted to – this one sounds so simple and healthy!!

      And yes, this dish would be a great first one – its so easy and the red lentils sort of melt almost when you cook them. Green/brown lentils are a little firmer and hold their shape more, so I’d say experiment to see which ones you like the best. I like them all though!

  8. Janine
    August 17, 2012 at 10:56 am (8 years ago)

    Too much salt? I learned that if the final result is too salty, add some sliced potatoes and cook some more, until the potatoes are tender. The potatoes absorb the salt and then you can discard them.
    Thanks for a great recipe. Lentils rock.

    • Beth
      August 17, 2012 at 11:07 am (8 years ago)

      What an awesome tip!! Thank you!

  9. Mary (A Merry Life)
    August 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm (8 years ago)

    This looks really good! I’m trying to collect more slow cooker recipes because it just makes dinner so much easier.

  10. Stephanie Swope
    August 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm (8 years ago)

    Hi Beth!
    I just made this too and wholeheartedly agree to cut the salt at least in half. When I was reading your post I realized I left out the lemon juice and cilantro that you add at the end! Hahahahaha. I doubled the recipe as I knew it would be so good – which is enough lentils for a small village, so now it will be even better tonight when I add those 2 ingredients!

    • Beth
      August 19, 2012 at 12:02 am (8 years ago)

      Hahaha whoops!! It’s still awesome though! I should have thought to double the recipe myself!

  11. Jennifer
    August 19, 2012 at 8:34 am (8 years ago)

    I made this stew yesterday, partly to have a delicious smell in the house since I’m trying to rent my spare rooma and a student was coming over, partly because I love Indian cuisine, and partly becuase I like to prepare lunch for the whole week at one time so this was a perfect recipe.
    I loved it and wouldn’t change a thing (bearing in mind the suggestion to halve the salt). When I served it I spooned it onto fat free cottage cheese which makes it even more delicious. Awesome WW recipe.

  12. Roz@weightingfor50
    August 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm (8 years ago)

    My slow cooker is away until the winter, but after reading thie recipe, I may have to rethink that decision. This looks FANTATIC Beth! I was going to suggest the potato thing for over salting too…but Janine above beat me to it. (it works REALLY well!)
    Have a wonderful week!!!

  13. Lili
    August 22, 2012 at 11:53 am (8 years ago)

    Hey Beth! Just made this recipe last night/overnight – woke up and packed some to bring it to work. thanks for sharing this!!


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