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 WeightWatchers.com 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: WeightWatchers.com
So first up, the ingredients:
A lot of them! For simplicity’s sake, here’s what I put together the night before in the slow cooker:
- 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.
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:
A spoon! The spoon peels only the skin off the garlic if you use it like so:
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!
After everything is prepped, toss it into the crockpot with the lentils, spices, tomatoes, and spinach.
Mix it all together.
Then pour in your broth.
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.
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!
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.
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 WeightWatchers.com 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!