I want to love lentils. I really do. They’re a great source of protein, especially when you’re on a budget and aren’t all that fond of eating meat. But the color and the consistency and the taste of lentils does nothing for me. They’re so mushy and blah looking.
That was until I found a delicious recipe for Lentil Barley Stew. I’m not sure where the recipe came from originally, but like the the honey whole wheat bread I made last week, I found it in my mom’s old recipe box, so it probably predates me! As with most of the recipes I feature here, you can fudge this one a little bit, depending on what you have on hand that you’d like to use up.
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 quart canned tomato
3/4 cup barley (I used brown rice because I had it on hand, but barley would pack some extra nutritional punch)
2 teaspoons salt (I used 1 teaspoon. I don’t like when my soups are too salty, and you can always add more salt later if needed)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (I used one clove of fresh garlic, finely chopped)
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 cup shredded carrots (I left these out altogether because I neglected to flip the recipe card over to see that it called for them until after I got back from the grocery store. Tasted fine though!)
1. In a large saucepan saute the butter, celery, and onions.
2. Once the onions and celery are tender and begin to brown, add 6 cups of water and lentils. Cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add tomato, barley/rice, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, until barley/rice is cooked.
4. Add shredded carrots and cook for 5 minutes, just to heat them. At this point, I also added some already cooked leftover brown rice from a previous meal. Serve!
The rice keeps the stew from getting that mushy lentil consistency that I’m not a fan of. I’m eager to try it with the carrots, since that will add a crunchier texture. I put half of the batch in the fridge to eat for the next few days, and the rest went into the freezer in single serving containers to take in my lunch pail. It’s a filling stew, perfect for hungry bellies and cold weather.
I didn’t take a photo, because lentil stew just isn’t that pretty.