DEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH, TAHINI & LEMON

DEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First MessDEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First Mess@thefirstmess kitchenDEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First Mess
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 MessDEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First MessDEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First MessDEEP GREEN LENTIL STEW WITH SPINACH AND TAHINI - The First Mess

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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