Submitted by Courtney (This recipe was originally posted on the Fatfree mailing list.)

1 medium onion
5 cloves garlic
175g (6oz, 1 cup) split red lentils
1 (400g, 14oz) can chopped tomatoes (with juice)
4 tsp stock powder (or equivalent stock cube)
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce, or dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
1 bay leaf
2 medium carrots
250g (9oz) fresh or frozen chopped spinach
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

Chop the onion. Sauté in vegetable stock until soft but not browned.

Meanwhile, chop the garlic and rinse the lentils. When the onion is soft, add the garlic, lentils, tomatoes, stock powder, Worcestershire / soy sauce, salt, thyme, fennel and bay leaf to the pan, along with 900ml (32 fl oz, 4 cups) water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover pan, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils have started to break up. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, peel the carrots and chop into 1cm (1/4 inch) cubes. If using fresh spinach, wash, remove large stalks and chop roughly.

Add the carrots and spinach to the pan. Stir until mixed, and until frozen spinach has defrosted. Cover and simmer a further 15 minutes, or until lentils and vegetables
are cooked. Remove bay leaf and stir in vinegar.

This ends up tasting fairly tomato-ey. I like it. Use only 1/2 can if you’re not too crazy about tomato flavour.

It also ends up fairly soupy – if you want it thicker, leave it until the next day to thicken, or use less water, or remove the lid for the last 10 minutes to allow water to evaporate. This is what I do to make it more stew-like.

Using frozen chopped spinach gives a more homogeneous texture – fresh spinach will be in larger pieces. I sometimes like a mixture of the two.

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