DEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH, TAHINI & LEMON

DEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First Messpin it!DEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First Messpin it!@thefirstmess kitchenpin it!DEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First Messpin it!
Happy 2019! I hope that everyone enjoyed their holidays. We spent a lot of time with both of our families, but for the most part kept the festivities quite chill. We went out for a nice dinner on New Year’s Eve and fell asleep well before midnight. I was so okay with that and didn’t experience the slightest itch of FOMO. Fully accepting and embracing a calm and quiet lifestyle = sweet sweet relief. Other than that, I cooked and baked a lot, cleaned out both my closet and dish/kitchen equipment and set aside items for donating, and went on a lot of dog walks :)

I don’t have any resolutions going into this year per se. I wrote a bit about my mindset going into the year in this Instagram post. The thing that I absolutely need to work on is my level of focus. Social media tends to make this tough, I think we can all agree. I participate in a lot more mindless scrolling than I’d like, which eats up minutes and hours and days in the grand scheme. Using the Productivity Planner has helped my work-at-home game significantly by highlighting the vitally important things, but I still need to make sure that my time on social media is beneficial to me. Right now I’m looking at limiting screen time, having my phone on airplane mode from 6pm to 9am, and just ensuring that I’m actually engaging when I’m logged in to these platforms.

I started estimating how much time I spend online accomplishing absolutely nothing (reading the news, recipe research, and work-related social media stuff obviously aside). Needless to say it added up very quickly. Then I started thinking about all the things I could have been doing with that time instead (could have made 50 extra blog posts!). It was a major reality check. I think we all know which obstacles, distractions, and time sucks stand in the way of achieving what we want. We’re only in competition with ourselves, always. For this first month of 2019, I’m focusing very tightly on well… being focused! Just 4 weeks of laser focus on my work, relationships, and health. I’m hoping that this first month can set the tone for a truly great year of growth.

What about you? What are you working on this year? And if you’re not working on anything, I respect that too. Sometimes you just don’t wanna mess with perfection ;)

The recipe today is so cozy! It’s a thick, deep green lentil stew with garlic, lemon, spices, herbs, potatoes, and (surprise!) tahini. Three cups of spinach and an additional cup of chopped parsley and basil give us the emerald hue. It’s hearty and complete. The lemon and a kiss of tamari really makes it for me. It just tastes like cozy vibrance and it totally sticks to your ribs (but not in a weighed down sorta way). It’s great Winter food and it’s a nice change of pace from all of the feasting and sugar of the holidays. I find the stew satisfying enough on its own, but a little crusty bread would be great if you need just a bit more. Like all of my recipes, this one is also obviously appropriate if you’re participating in Veganuary! Hope you all have a wonderful first week of 2019. Talk soon!

Gremolata - The First Messpin it!DEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First Messpin it!DEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First Messpin it!DEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First Messpin it!

DEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH, TAHINI & LEMON
Print the recipe here!
Serves: 4
Notes: The stew has a rich creaminess once it’s all blended up, so I love to top it with a sharp gremolata, which is a simple mix of chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest.
-I find that this stew benefits from quite a bit of salt when you’re seasoning. I also love quite a bit of lemon juice and chili flakes on top when I serve it–they brighten everything up.
-To make in the Instant Pot, use the SAUTE function up until the point of adding the potatoes and lentils. Once they’re added and the stock is in the pot, cancel the SAUTE function, secure the lid, and ensure that the pressure valve is set to SEALING position. Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer for 18 minutes. Once 18 minutes are done, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release on the remaining pressure. Pick up the recipe from the point where you add the spinach, herbs, tahini, and lemon and blend half of the stew (4th step). Once you have the finished stew, bring it back up to a boil with the SAUTE function, and serve.

GREMOLATA GARNISH:
½ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, finely minced

SOUP:
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb (454 grams) yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
4 cups (1 L) vegetable stock, plus extra to thin if necessary
3 cups baby spinach
½ cup (packed)  flat leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra for serving
½ cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus extra for serving
¼ cup tahini
Juice of ½ a lemon, plus extra for serving
1 teaspoon gluten-free tamari
chili flakes/Aleppo chili (optional)

Make gremolata: In a small bowl, combine the parsley, lemon zest and garlic, Stir to mix and set aside.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil to the pot. Add the onions and celery to the pot. Saute the onions and celery until very soft and slightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper to the pot and stir. Keep cooking the vegetables and spices for another minute.

Add the potatoes and lentils to the pot and stir. Season again with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable stock to the pot and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer stew with the lid on for 25 minutes, or until the lentils and potatoes are both tender.

Add the spinach, parsley, and basil to the pot. Stir until the spinach just starts to wilt, about 30 seconds. Then, carefully ladle half of the stew into an upright, vented blender. Add the tahini to the stew in the blender. Close the lid on the blender and slowly bring up the speed to high. Blend until stew is totally smooth. If you have to add a bit of water to get it moving, definitely do so.

Scrape the blended stew back into the pot and bring the now unified stew up to a boil. Squeeze in the lemon juice, add the tamari, stir, and then taste the stew. Add more stock (or water) at this point if it seems too thick. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary. I find that this stew needs quite a bit of salt. Serve the deep green lentil stew hot with the gremolata on top, swoops of olive oil, the chili flakes, extra lemon, and extra chopped herbs.

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  • Heather McClees02/01/2019 - 5:27 am

    This is gorgeous! I love the vibrant color and I love lentils to no end. Happy 2019, Laura! Can’t wait to see what you do this year. PS: I am loving having your cookbook in my home too. Seriously one of the most beautiful cookbooks I own. <3ReplyCancel

    • Laura02/01/2019 - 10:59 am

      So glad that you’re enjoying the cookbook, Heather! Thanks so much and happy new year to you as well <3
      -LReplyCancel

  • Erin02/01/2019 - 9:25 am

    I was in bed well before midnight on New Year’s Eve too – loved it! Made my New Year’s Day much nicer. :) Happy 2019!ReplyCancel

    • Laura02/01/2019 - 11:02 am

      It’s soooo much nicer to wake up fully alert and ready to start dreaming and planning for the year ahead. Also, because I’m over the age of 30, anything in excess of 2 glasses of wine means I’m glued to the couch the next day lol. Happy new year, Erin!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Susan Dodia02/01/2019 - 9:47 am

    Question – we are having an ice storm today and I can’t get to the grocery store. I have just about everything to make this, but I don’t have green lentils. I do have red and yellow lentils. Would either of these make a decent substitute?ReplyCancel

    • Laura02/01/2019 - 10:58 am

      Hi Susan!
      Yellow and red lentils are both “split” varieties, so they will cook faster and become soft to the point of falling apart. It will definitely make the stew creamier! You just won’t get whole lentils with a bit of chew like in the original recipe. Also, red lentils will probably change the bright green colour of the finished soup to more of a brown, but if that’s not a concern to you then don’t worry about it! The stew will still taste great. Stay warm and cozy! :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Aleisha02/01/2019 - 10:28 am

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try this and thank you soooooo much for the Instant Pot instructions. Please keep the Instant Pot recipes coming!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laura02/01/2019 - 11:02 am

      Let us know if you try the Instant Pot variation! I freakin’ love mine so there will definitely be more IP goodness in 2019 :D
      -LReplyCancel

  • Nicole R02/01/2019 - 11:25 am

    How do you always know exactly what I want to eat? I think this is dinner tonight. Thank you for continuing to share not just your wonderful recipes, but the glimmers of yourself that make your writing so interesting. I know that everything is moving away from blogs toward shorter formats like Instagram, but I love the longer format. Whether you use your reclaimed time to write more blog posts or not, I hope the year ahead brings you satisfaction.ReplyCancel

    • Laura02/01/2019 - 12:46 pm

      Thank you for this kind note, Nicole! I will always love the long format, even if it’s considered old fashioned at this point ;) Happy new year to you.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sadie Jumper02/01/2019 - 1:46 pm

    Wow! This looks fantastic- I can almost taste it, the pictures are so vivid. Definitely going into next week’s menu.ReplyCancel

    • Laura02/01/2019 - 3:10 pm

      Thanks so much, Sadie! Hope you give it a try :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Susan Bittker02/01/2019 - 2:37 pm

    Hi again, Laura – I’ve just made this, and it’s amazing: it took around half an hour from start to finish. What a genius idea to add tahini and lemon juice. The tahini lends richness and a jolt of protein, and the lemon juice lifts it so it doesn’t stick to the ribs so hard. I also added a bit of Korean pepper oil because I like a bit of heat, and some liquid smoke, which is one of my favourite seasoning. This is the lentil stew of dreams!ReplyCancel

    • Laura02/01/2019 - 3:11 pm

      Thanks for this great feedback, Susan. I like a bit of hot sauce or chili oil on top of mine too–although I like hot stuff on almost everything haha. So happy that you enjoyed it!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Beverley Haun02/01/2019 - 4:29 pm

    Can you suggest a tahini substitute? My foolish body reacts adversely to sesame, and to most nuts. I can do sunflower seeds.ReplyCancel

    • Laura02/01/2019 - 4:45 pm

      Hi Beverly!,
      I honestly think you could leave the tahini out entirely and the stew would still be super thick and creamy. You can always taste it without and see how you like it. If you think it needs a bit more creaminess from there, you can stir in some unsweetened sunflower seed butter.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Robert Harllee02/01/2019 - 10:41 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was just as advertised and we loved it. Since I was out of celery, I used a bit of shredded celery root. It smelled divine cooking. Next time we are going to use in place of the parsley in the lentils this super peppery arugula home grown from seeds from The Southern Seed Exchange in our hydroponic grow tower. When we thought of doing this we all grinned in anticipation. Cheers!ReplyCancel

    • Laura03/01/2019 - 8:23 am

      So glad you loved it, Robert! Really peppery arugula would be so delicious in this stew. Thanks for reporting back!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sandi03/01/2019 - 7:04 pm

    This looks really good!!
    Question: what is FOMO? ( as in “not the slightest itch of—-“)

    Just wondered…..ReplyCancel

    • Laura04/01/2019 - 10:15 am

      Hi Sandi! It stands for Fear Of Missing Out :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Katherine Duckett03/01/2019 - 9:40 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight and we all loved it! Used the Instant Pot directions and it turned out so delicious. Thank you for the wonderful and healthy recipe. Great way to start the New Year. I have never made a recipe I don’t like from your blog – always so good.ReplyCancel

    • Laura04/01/2019 - 10:37 am

      Thanks so much for this note, Katherine! Glad that the Instant Pot variation worked out and that all of your people enjoyed it :D
      -LReplyCancel

  • Julie03/01/2019 - 10:36 pm

    Made this tonight and it was delicious. I ran out of lentils so I used split mung beans. Also I subbed rutabaga for the potato. And the basil I bought from the grocery store mysteriously disappeared and so I used dried basil. Still good!ReplyCancel

    • Laura04/01/2019 - 10:14 am

      So glad you enjoyed it and appreciate your substitution notes!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Emily M04/01/2019 - 2:15 pm

    I made this last night and everyone loved it! the gremolata/olive oil finish made something simple look very elegant. Would highly recommend to anyone, veganuary or not :) we ate it with some grilled steelhead trout for a little extra protein. Thanks, Laura!ReplyCancel

    • Laura04/01/2019 - 2:58 pm

      So glad that you enjoyed it, Emily! Thanks for leaving this comment <3
      -LReplyCancel

  • Susan Dodia05/01/2019 - 4:57 pm

    I made this two days ago and it was awful, I ended up throwing the rest of it out, it tasted like paste. It smelled great while it was cooking, but I think adding the tahini killed it – it masked the taste of all the herbs and spices and just made it super bland. In the end, it tasted like gremolata on paste. Really disappointed.ReplyCancel

    • Jessi M05/01/2019 - 11:16 pm

      I had the same experience. Smelled great, tastes really bland/bad. Even with the lemon juice it’s just flat. If I had to do it over again I wouldn’t add the tahini, would add some red pepper flakes and double the herbs.ReplyCancel

      • Jessi M07/01/2019 - 3:17 pm

        Update: I heavily salted and hot-sauced the leftovers and it’s edible :) I won’t be making it again, but salvage instructions for others who didn’t enjoy it! Thanks for replying Laura!ReplyCancel

    • Laura06/01/2019 - 10:33 am

      Susan and Jessi: I’m so sorry that this recipe wasn’t to your taste! Soups and stews really do come down to seasoning and adjusting with lemon, salt, chili, tamari, broth etc., and perhaps my instructions were not clear enough on that. And maybe the tahini is just a very personal thing, because there have been a lot of positive reviews on this recipe here and through social media. I will update and emphasize notes on seasoning in the recipe instructions for those who approach this in the future. I really do appreciate your feedback.
      -LReplyCancel

      • Lauren06/01/2019 - 2:11 pm

        I just made it and it’s SO SO delicious!!!ReplyCancel

    • Ana18/01/2019 - 5:53 pm

      I was glad to see the comments re: tahini. I felt the same way! When I tasted it before adding tahini, I loved it. So I did not add it as instructed, and my first serving was delicious without it. Out of curiosity, I added a smidge of tahini to a smaller portion and found it enhancing. So I went back and added half of the amount of tahini to the remaining soup (a generous 1/8 c). Unfortunately, I found it overwhelmed and muddled everything. I will definitely make this again, and either skip the tahini altogether or just add 1 T up to 1/8 c of tahini.ReplyCancel

  • Sonja08/01/2019 - 4:13 pm

    This was lovely. I didn’t have enough spinach so it was slightly lighter green in colour. Cooking with tahini is new for me and I was looking for recipes to try the rest of a jar. I maybe a bit less than the recipe called for though. Wish I had some chilli flakes as think that would be good. Subbed the basil for fresh coriander which worked well. A hearty winter stew!!ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/01/2019 - 5:40 pm

      Thanks so much for this Sonja! Coriander would be so great with this combination of flavours. Great substitution!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Ann10/01/2019 - 1:01 pm

    I made this for dinner one night and didn’t have any lemons and it was good. I made it again with the lemon and it was AMAZING!ReplyCancel

  • […] Green Lentil Stew with Spinach, Tahini & Lemon by The First Mess.  *green heart emoji* […]ReplyCancel

  • Chrissy14/01/2019 - 10:10 pm

    Hi Laura! BEAUTIFUL recipe! Made it tonight for dinner and am in love! Thank you so much! So bright and hearty and healthy and delicious!

    All the love,
    ChrissyReplyCancel

  • Chris19/01/2019 - 10:20 pm

    I’m continually amazed by your writing, website, and recipes. I made this last week and my significant other is at the grocery store as I type to get the ingredients to make again this week. We absolutely loved it. I didn’t have tahini on hand so we ended up using Annie’s Goddess dressing and it worked for us. We are buying tahini, since we love it, and will definitely be using it.

    Thanks so much!!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon21/01/2019 - 12:03 am

    This was so good!!! I used sweet potato instead because that’s what I felt like, so the colour wasn’t as exciting, but the flavour was absolutely amazing! It’s summer where I am, so had the leftovers cold today. Equally as delicious. Thank you! :)ReplyCancel

  • Haley25/01/2019 - 8:55 pm

    This soup is very delicious! It is so creamy and bright. It was very filling and satisfying especially with a few pieces of toasted baguette to dip into it. Don’t skip any steps because the recipe is perfection.ReplyCancel

  • carl09/02/2019 - 12:40 pm

    Is it necessary to use tamari, is there a substitute?ReplyCancel

    • Laura10/02/2019 - 7:51 am

      Any type of soy sauce is fine to replace the tamari. If you don’t have soy sauce, I have to say that nothing really replaces that flavour unfortunately.
      -LReplyCancel

  • F.10/02/2019 - 12:38 pm

    This is exactly what I needed! My iron is low so I was looking for a lentil soup recipe. I wanted something bright and refreshing, but also it’s winter so I’m craving potatoes and starches. This soup was easy to make, delicious, and nourishing. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Kate01/04/2019 - 7:52 pm

    Made this tonight for dinner. It is so so good! Followed recipe to the tee as I always do with a recipe 1st time out. Would not change a thing! Served with whole grain baguette. Thank you for such a unique and delicious recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Eveline09/04/2019 - 7:33 am

    Hi Laura,

    I just bought your book as a present for a friend, it looks amazing! I’m going to have to order another one for myself. :)

    I was wondering if I could make this recepy without the potato, since i’m trying to cut back on the carbs. Can you recommend a substitute?ReplyCancel

    • Laura09/04/2019 - 4:18 pm

      Hi Eveline!

      Thanks so much for purchasing my book as a gift. I appreciate that :)

      I would recommend celery root or cauliflower to replace the potatoes. It might not be as creamy, but it will do the trick ;)

      -LReplyCancel

  • Torunn16/05/2019 - 6:53 pm

    I’ve made this amazing soup twice now. Once with potatoes and once without. Delicious both ways. The depth of flavor is truly stunning. Thanks so much, Laura!ReplyCancel

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