Protein Packed Lentil Stew

So I’ve kind of fallen off the recipe wagon. There’s a number of reasons for this- I’ve had a few cooking fails in the kitchen, I just haven’t been inspired to make anything new lately besides soups and stews (which have largely been fails…see reason #1), and the biggest reason is because nothing ever looked good enough to photograph.

I want you guys to feel like what I make actually looks appetizing enough to make yourself. Fuzzy iPhone photos with a promise of, “it tastes better than it looks!” aren’t my aim (but they are what I sometimes have to resort to). You’ve gotta shoot in natural light, without flash, if you want to make something look good.

That’s hard to do when you get off work at 5:30, right around the time the sun goes down. Normally I’d make a few dishes on the weekend to blog about (slash eat for lunch) during the week, but a couple of jam-packed weekends have precluded me from doing that. You guys will know I’ve been having busy weekends when I go more than 3 weeks without a Meatless Monday post.

I decided to make an exception this week, and I photographed my dinner on Tuesday night under the fluorescent lights of my kitchen.

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Much to my delight, it didn’t go so badly!

I’ve cooked with lentils a lot, but never really made anything worth sharing. The dishes always tasted too….lentilly. This dish is an exception. It gets a lot of flavor from the seasoning of the chicken, and from fire-roasted tomatoes. As a lifelong tomato-hater trying to change my ways, fire-roasted is the way to go for me. Pretty much anything will taste great when it’s roasted long enough to char.

I’ve been trying to incorporate more weight training and protein into my fitness and diet; lentils and chicken are both high in protein. Lentils are also a good source of fiber and low in calories, which means a little goes a long way in keeping you full. You’ll actually only find 140 calories in 1/2 cup, which is what I used in this recipe (and it was enough for 3 meals!)

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Jigga what? Yeah, check out those nutritional stats. That’s for one cup (one serving size for me was about 1 1/4 cup, which upped it to 170 calories) of this stew. I only put it one chicken breast, but toss in another and see the protein count increase even more!

Not only did I photograph this finished meal, but I took step-by-step pix too. Aww yeah.

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Start with sauteing some seasoned chicken. I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano.Remove from pan.

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Build the base of your stew. Saute onions and garlic, then add lentils and tomatoes, as well as chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover.

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Choose some veggies to bring to the party. Try (and fail) to keep your kitchen mess out of the picture.

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After about 20 minutes, the lentils should have soaked up most of the liquid in the pan. Stir in your veggies and chicken.

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Simmer until ready to serve, and enjoy. Fail once again to not get your kitchen mess (and super cool slipper) out of the frame.

Seriously you guys, this was so good. I split it into three servings…I’m having the last of it tonight and I’m sad. It could probably even stretch into four one-cup servings if you pair it with a nice crusty piece of bread and a salad (I don’t have any bread in my apartment at the moment — I KNOW — so I’ve been eating it by itself or with a tortilla). Lentils are more filling than they look!

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But not more delicious than they look. Because if you ask me, they look pretty damn tasty.

Protein-Packed Lentil Stew
makes 3-4 servings

1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I only used one)
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano, divided
salt & pepper
1 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided (or however much you need for your saute pan)
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup dry lentils
1 13-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained if desired
1 13-oz container low sodium chicken broth (can substitute veggie broth, or water)
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup broccoli florets (frozen is fine)

Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and season with a pinch of each seasoning. Dice and mince onion and garlic, if not already done. Heat 1 tsp olive oil on medium-high heat. Add seasoned chicken and cook about 5 minutes, turning once. Remove chicken to a paper-towel lined plate.

Add another 1/2 tsp olive oil to the pan. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add lentils – rinse or pick through your lentils if their instruction says to do so. Add the can of tomatoes. (Drain them first if you want a less tomatoey broth)Β  Stir, then add chicken broth. It may seem like a lot of liquid, but the lentils really do soak up a lot. Stir again and bring to a low boil. Once it has reached a low boil, lower heat, cover with a lid, and keep at a simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your veggies. I chose mushrooms and frozen broccoli because they are what I had on hand. Once 20 minutes is up, add the vegetables and chicken into the pan with the lentils (now would be a good time to add some more oregano too!), and let simmer until ready to serve (at least 10 minutes).

Serve with a nice piece of bread to soak up all the broth!

21 thoughts on “Protein Packed Lentil Stew

    • They really are! So much protein and fiber, so low cal, and they’ve gotta be the only thing in the world where the bag says the serving size is “1/4 cup dry”…and 1/4 cup dry is *actually* enough!

    • Seriously! This was the last 1/2 cup of lentils of a 1 pound bag I bought a month or 2 ago…everything I made with the bag up until now just wasn’t share-worthy!

    • Most of my lentil recipes involve curry too, but I wasn’t sure my stomach was up for it this week! I was totally going to make the homemade naan that you posted a while back to eat with this but I started late & forgot it had to sit for an hour…so hunger took precedence πŸ˜›

    • Thank you! Yeah, almost every time I open a can of tomatoes that aren’t fire-roasted, I get almost gaggy at the smell…I think I’m goin all fire-roasted from now on!!

  1. I have a newfound love for lentils. Not that I didn’t know about them before but, I just really like them right now! Hah and I TOTALLY feel you on the recent kitchen fails, it’s been one disaster after another for me and it’s discouraging hah

    • The sad part is, I still eat most of my kitchen disasters.. I experimented with chipotle peppers twice and made two WAAAY too spicy dishes, and then I made myself suffer all the way through them! Haha!

    • Definitely! I normally make veg-friendly lentil dishes, but I was really looking to pack some protein into this one πŸ™‚ Most of the flavor comes from the tomatoes and spices!

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