Meatless Monday: Hearty Lentil Stew {vegetarian}

Yesterday, we decided to (mostly – not counting lunch, which was leftovers and had meat) do a Meatless Monday! A hearty lentil stew seemed appropriate. Loaded with lots of vegetables and bright flavors, this stew hits the spot.

I knew I was going to use celery, carrots and potatoes. When I found myself at Trader Joe’s today and saw that they had Delicata squash, I decided to add that in. Then when I got home, I remembered that I had a few baby bella mushrooms, so decided to use those too.

Once all of the veggies were chopped, I put them (all but the potatoes) in a medium-high heat dutch oven, with a bit of olive oil to saute. I cooked them for about 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables started to soften.

Then I added in the can of diced tomatoes, with the juice, vegetable stock, potatoes and seasonings and brought it up to a boil. I then, reduced the heat – covered the pot and simmered for 15 minutes.

I then added in the lentils and the quinoa and cooked for another 20 minutes.

Finally, I added in the spinach and the lemon juice and let it simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes more.


Serve with finely grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese.

Hearty Lentil Stew

Total Prep and Cook time: 1 hour 20 min

2 cups lentils
1/3 cup quinoa
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
6 oz fresh spinach
4 red potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 winter squash (I used delicata), chopped
5-6 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
6 cups vegetable broth
1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, with juice
juice of 2 lemons
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning

  • Chop all vegetables to similar size
  • In large dutch oven, or pot, put small amount of olive oil – heat over medium – high heat
  • Add chopped veggies (all except the potatoes) and saute until veggies start to get soft
  • Pour in canned tomatoes, vegetable stock and potatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce heat
  • Add in seasonings, cover and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Add in lentils and quinoa and allow to cook for another 20 minutes
  • Add in the spinach and lemon juice and simmer for 5-10 more minutes
  • Serve with finely grated parmesan or asiago cheese

Brunswick Stew

One of my favorite things growing up in South Georgia was Brunswick Stew. Despite that – until this week, I’d never made it. As I normally do when I develop a recipe that is inspired by something I’ve had before, I thought about all the things that I like about the dishes I’ve had. For Brunswick stew – I like corn, potatoes and lima beans. I like both shredded chicken and pork. And, I like a little bit of a ‘bite’ or acidity. These are some of the items I included (in addition to the meat, potatoes and onion).

This recipe started with cooking the meats. I did the chicken thighs in the instant pot. I used the same method as I mentioned, when I made Chicken Noodle Soup/Stew the other day. Both in cooking and in shredding the chicken. Again – I will never do it another way again, ever!

The pork was a whole other thing. I started by trying to cook the boston butt roast in the crock pot, but despite the fact that I cooked it on low for 8 hours – and then turned it up to high for another 2 hours, I simply could not get it up to 190 degrees, internally, which is needed to get it to shred. Ultimately, I moved it to the instant pot and finished it off there. For the most part, I shredded it the same as the chicken – using a hand held mixer.

I kind of made this dish in stages: I did the pork the day before, I did the chicken in the AM, I prepped the onions and potatoes in the afternoon (Then I went to see Downton Abbey!) and, finally, made the Brunswick stew in the evening. I mention that to say that you have the option to do all the prep work ahead of time – and then ‘throw it together’ for a pretty amazing (and relatively quick) dinner!

Once I was home from seeing Downton Abbey (If you haven’t seen it, and you’re a fan of the show, you should!!), I started putting it all together. Starting with browning the onion and garlic in my dutch oven. The rest was pretty much dumping things in and letting it all come together in the pot – so not a lot of pictures.

Despite this being the first time that I’ve made Brunswick stew – it will definitely not be my last. I’m not even sure what has kept me from making it! The flavors that I pulled together in this one are EXACTLY all the things that I love about Brunswick stew!

** Note: you can add more chicken stock if it is too thick, but remember that Brunswick Stew should be thick.

Brunswick Stew

Total cook time: 20 min prep, 90 min cook

1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic
5 cups chicken stock
1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2-3 chicken thighs, shredded
3 cups pulled pork
1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Regular BBQ sauce
3/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Mustard BBQ sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
12 oz package of frozen lima beans
12 oz package of frozen whole kernel corn
6 potatoes, diced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
Avocado oil spray

  • In large dutch oven, brown onions and garlic in avocado oil
  • Add worchestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, tomatoes and chicken stock to dutch oven and bring to a boil
  • Add in the vegetables, BBQ sauces, chicken, pork, salt and pepper – reduce heat to simmer.
  • Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, for best blending of flavors – you can actually eat it anytime after your vegetables are done – it just gets more depth of flavor the longer it simmers.

*** If needed to thicken, create a slurry with a small amount of cold water and cornstarch and add to pot, allowing it to thicken.

Chicken Noodle Soup (stew??)

It is still 90+ degrees where I live, but I love soup – so, despite the heat tonight – it was a chicken noodle soup night. It started as soup – but, ended up pretty thick, so maybe it is more of a stew. Regardless – it was delicious!!

I started out with chicken, which I cooked in my instant pot (from frozen). PERFECTION! I decided to use both chicken breasts and thighs. I cooked them on the poultry setting, for 30 minutes, with 1 cup of chicken stock.

The truly brilliant thing about this chicken is how I shredded it. I’m not saying that I am brilliant (I saw this somewhere else), I’m saying that it worked brilliantly! Literally, less than a minute and 2 chicken breasts and 3 chicken thighs – perfectly shredded. How was is shredded, you ask?? With a hand mixer, in the instant pot!

From now, to the end of time, when I need shredded chicken – it will be cooked in the instant pot and shredded with a hand mixer!

I set the chicken aside and got busy getting my veggies (carrots, celery and onion) ready to go in my dutch oven. I just sliced and chopped the veggies to similar size and it was ready to go!

I added a small amount of oil in my dutch oven and cooked the veggies a little bit before I added the chicken broth. Only for maybe 5 minutes or so – just to seal in a little bit of flavor in the veggies!

Then I added my broth – brought the pot up to boil and cooked the vegetables for about 10 minutes. Next, I added in the shredded chicken, with any broth that was in the instant pot and brought it back up to a boil.

The final step was to add the noodles and allow them to cook through. For the pasta I used, that was about 8 minutes.

The only thing left was to enjoy this delicious soup!!

Chicken Noodle Soup approx time to make recipe, including prep: 1.5 hours

Shredded Chicken (see instructions below)
5-6 carrots, chopped
4-5 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
8 cups of chicken broth
1 lb of pasta
1 tbsp garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt to taste

Shredded chicken
1 cup of chicken broth
2 frozen chicken breasts
3 frozen chicken thighs
Instant pot
** Add all items to instant pot and cook on poultry setting for 30 minutes. Quick release once instant pot finishes and shred with hand mixer

  • Chop vegetables
  • Add oil and vegetables to large pot or dutch oven – cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add broth to pot, along with the seasonings, bring to boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add shredded chicken to pot and bring back up to a boil
  • Add pasta and cook until pasta is done