Slow Miracle Red Lentil and Delicata Squash Stew

by moonwatcher on October 28, 2013

red lentil delicata stew

I have a confession to make.  Since the opening of the Plein Air art exhibit, I have had a recurring cold. I’ve spent the days during the week before my adventures in southern Idaho, and the days after my return from it before my poetry reading dealing with the return of a virus that doesn’t want to leave. And after my reading, it came back yet again. Nothing too horrible, just a stuffy nose, a funny feeling in my head and gut, a few sneezes, and a foggy idea about whether I’m actually hot or cold. So this past weekend I regretfully skipped Poetry Night and have cleared the decks to rest up and stay out of large groups of people trading papers until this bug is gone for good. Fingers crossed.

When I need the vegan equivalent of chicken soup, lentils are my go-to food.  They are easy, relatively inexpensive and they cook up quickly. And red lentils cook up quickest of all. They are little powerhouses of nutrition and anti-oxidants. And the Palouse, where I live, is one of the biggest lentil growing regions in the world. So I can eat local too.

I have a lot of pictures of this dish because I’ve been making it for several weeks off and on, hoping to get a chance to blog about it. And because it really does help me feel better when I am under the weather. When I first started making this as a soup, I used yellow summer squash, which thickened the soup slightly and gave it a mild sweet flavor.

slow miracle red lentil stew

But now that the summer squash are all gone and winter squash are abundant, I gave it a new treatment by adding a delicata squash from my garden. The cubes of delicata give it a buttery flavor and an even more stew-like consistency. The basic recipe is inspired by the Esselstyn’s Marakesh Express Red Lentil Soup in Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. I kept their lineup of spices, adding celery seed and fennel, but changed up  and added vegetables for different flavors and used less broth for a thicker texture, topping it all off with my “slow miracle” cooking technique. I like my results even better than the original.

Here are some shots of my prep:

delicata squash peeled

Delicata squash is very easy to peel. The skin is so thin you can use a carrot peeler. That’s what I did. The peelings I put in the freezer along with the leek ends and other goodies I use to make my Everything But the Kitchen Sink Broth.

And here’s the line-up of ingredients all set to go into the stew–except for the grated ginger. I never remember it until the last minute. It wasn’t the last minute when I took the photo, so I hadn’t remembered it yet.

slow miracle red lentil stew ingredients

And here’s everything in the pot ready to come to the boil:

slow miracle red lentil stew in pot

Romeo with leaves

Romeo guarding our pile of leaves while I checked on the stew.

Maria (moonwatcher)

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rochelle October 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

Sounds great. I have been wanting to use up my delicata squash and this is the ticket. I do not have califlower but I might sub in carrots instead. Also I might use my slow cooker since I will not have the ability to make it during the lunch hour.

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2 moonwatcher October 28, 2013 at 10:43 am

Hi Rochelle, and welcome! I think this would go great in the slow cooker, and carrots would be a nice sub. Hope you enjoy it!

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3 Nicole O'Shea October 29, 2013 at 8:42 am

Yum! Sounds wonderful, I LOVE red lentils. Didn’t know the Palouse was a lentil powerplace! interesting.

I also love that picture of Romeo! :-)

Nicole

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4 moonwatcher October 29, 2013 at 9:03 am

Thanks, Nicole! Me too! And yes, we grow a LOT of the world’s lentils here–most are imported to the Middle East, etc., and no one grows strictly organic on a large scale. So if I want organic ones I have to get the ones from Canada or Turkey!! It’s a crazy world. There’s lots of “dry land farming” in this region–lentils and wheat primarily. Here’s the image page to give you a feel. I HAD to take that picture of Romeo–he just was so comfy there in the sun. Glad you like it. :)

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5 Veronica October 29, 2013 at 9:30 am

Ugh – so sorry you’ve been under the weather! I hate it when it lingers… Let’s hope you finally nip it this time! The soup looks so comforting and delicious – I’ll have to try it. :) I love the pic of Romeo – he looks like he wants to get into some mischief with all those leaf piles…

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6 moonwatcher October 29, 2013 at 9:46 am

Thanks for the well wishes, Veronica! I am trying to be patient and making some good progress. Glad you liked the photo of Romeo–he defintely feels possessive of that leaf pile! It’s very cute.

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7 Susan Voisin October 29, 2013 at 11:54 am

The stew looks delicious, but I absolutely LOVE that photo of Romeo! Plus, I envy your fall color. Our leaves are starting to turn, but in this part of the world, most stay green, so there’s not a lot of change. I could use a little more gold.

Hope you’re feeling better!

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8 moonwatcher October 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Thanks Susan! Doesn’t he look adorable? And the fall color is gorgeous right now. Wish I could pack you some up. I am feeling a lot better–fingers crossed it holds!!

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9 kathy C October 29, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Would butternut squash work? I have no idea what a delicata tastes like, so I don’t know if butternut would work in this dish.

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10 moonwatcher October 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Welcome, kathy C, and thanks for your question. Yes, butternut squash would be a good sub for the delicata. They are similar thinned skin, easy to peel and work with.

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11 Meludy Beasley October 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I love all your recipes! But I have no access to Delicata Squash. I was wondering if there might be a good substitute for it? I would love to try this soup! Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes with us!

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12 moonwatcher October 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Hi Melissa! Welcome and so glad to hear you love my recipes. I think butternut squash would be a good sub for the delicata. As I mentioned in another comment, it is thin skinned and relatively easy to peel ad cube. Hope you enjoy the stew. :)

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13 chuck buchanan October 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm

im going too make this tonight,cant wait.

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14 moonwatcher October 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Welcome, chuck, and thanks! Hope you like it as much as I do. :)

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15 Lee at Veggie Quest October 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Hi Maria, this looks really delicious, and I love delicata squash! That said, I have some lovely butternut squash cooked up, so I think I might sub it in for the time being. Although the odds of not eating this stew the second it’s done are very slim, I have to say… ;-)

Thanks for posting such a delicious-looking recipe; hope you’re feeling better soon!

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16 moonwatcher October 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Thanks, Lee! Butternut’s going to work great in this. . .you made me smile about not being able to wait! I appreciate the well wishes too. :)

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17 Tami @Nutmeg Notebook October 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I too am a big fan of lentil soups – it’s comfort food and so good when you are not feeling up to par. I have to admit that I have never had that type of squash but I do have butternut squash on my kitchen counter that would work for this.

Beautiful photos of both Romeo and your colorful leaves. This time of year offers us a glorious color bath when we step outside.

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18 moonwatcher October 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Thanks Tami, glad to hear lentils are a comfort food for you too. The butternut will work nicely. So glad you liked the photo of Romeo and the leaves. It definitely is a glorious time of year to step outside.

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19 Karen October 30, 2013 at 6:12 am

No need to peel the squash, though. It’s really soft like the inside when it’s cooked, and isn’t the skin where all the nutrients are anyways?

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20 moonwatcher October 30, 2013 at 8:17 am

Welcome, Karen and thanks for your comment. Strictly speaking, there’s no need to peel this particular squash. But I prefer the taste of it unpeeled. I get around throwing away the nutrients in the skin peels by saving them in the freezer with other veggie odds and ends to make my Everything But the Kitchen Sink Broth. You can find the recipe for it here on the blog by searching that name. That’s my compromise. :)

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21 Vegan Shizuoka November 1, 2013 at 6:33 am

The name seems apropriate, it’s a small miracle. Loved the idea of making something else while doing it!

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22 moonwatcher November 1, 2013 at 8:29 am

Welcome, Vegan Shizuoka, and thanks so much for “getting” the spirit of the recipe!! :)

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23 Joanna November 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Wow… made this today (with a few tweaks). .. was a huge hit with the hubs & son! Great recipe and smells soooo great while cooking! Thanks for such a great recipe!

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24 moonwatcher November 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Welcome, Joanna! Thanks for your comment–so happy to hear this was a hit with your family!!

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25 Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen November 15, 2013 at 3:26 am

Wow! This looks so hearty, yummy and comforting! . I am going to make it this weekend! I don’t have any squash but have lots of pumpkin so will probably sub the pumpkin! Can’t wait to make this!

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26 moonwatcher November 15, 2013 at 7:31 am

Thanks, Ceara, and welcome! I think pumpkin would be good in this too–hope you enjoy it!

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27 sherri December 16, 2013 at 1:48 am

what can i substitute powdered fennel for and can i use celery instead of the seeds?

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28 moonwatcher December 16, 2013 at 7:46 am

Hi Sherri–you can try substituting ground cumin for the fennel, and yes, of course you can use celery instead of the seeds. Have fun experimenting!

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