While spring has officially arrived, the warm weather days seem to be dragging their feet. To bridge the gap between the actual season and the expected one, I created this Zucchini Turmeric Red Lentil Stew. This comfort stew is perfect for the cold, but the bright vibrant colors are a reminder that warmer days are just around the corner. This glowing red lentil stew would be the perfect dish to kiss the chilly weather goodbye.
I was at my son’s preschool yesterday to assist his class. At circle time, Ms. Mieke asked the class about spring. Feel free to join these adorable thinkers in this very entertaining conversation. Just remember to raise your quiet hand if you want to participate in the conversation. LOL!
Ms. M: “What happens in spring?”
A: “It rains.” Absolutely it happens a lot in Michigan.
T: “Leaves grow on trees.”
L: “It’s warmer.” True!
E: “It is something you can jump on, bounce, and uh… spring back.” This kid is going to be the class clown.
With the growing season approaching, you’ll have many more flavorful vegetables to choose (with better prices). Since our family loves zucchini squash, there is no reason not to put them into this hearty made thick stew.
Unlike brown lentils, red lentils are sweeter. Once they’re cooked, they become smoother and creamier than the brown lentils. The texture is a lot like the curried yellow pea soup I posted a while back. In this zucchini turmeric red lentil stew recipe, I cooked the red lentils in a pressure cooker with full-fat coconut milk and seasonings. Would you like your red lentil stew with an even smoother texture? You can definitely blend it in a blender after it is cooked, or cook it for an extra minute to achieve the perfect creamy texture.
I hope this is the last thick stew you’ll need as we say goodbye to winter. We are ready for a glorious spring. I’m sure my little preschooler, Leo, can’t wait to bounce on his spring trampoline.
- 1½ cups diced tomatoes
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1½ cups red lentils, dry and uncooked
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk from a can
- 2⅔ cups water or vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon sambar curry
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoons salt (adjust the amount of salt if your vegetable broth contains salt)
- 2 medium size zucchini squash, diced
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 large ripe avocado, sliced
- ¼ teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Heat pressure cooker (without cover) over high heat until hot. Add ½ tablespoon of oil and wait for approximately 10 seconds until the oil is hot. Add diced onion and stir. Saute the onion for approximately 1 minute until it becomes translucent. Add diced tomato and stir. Saute for 2-3 minutes until the tomato is soft.
- Rinse the red lentils with running cold water and drain. Add the lentils into the pressure cooker and briefly stir to mix.
- Add coconut milk, water, sambar curry, cumin powder, ¼ teaspoon of salt into the pressure cooker. Stir to mix. Cover the pressure cooker with lid and let it cook over high heat. Once the pressure is built up, reduce the heat to let the stew cook under low steady steam for 5 minutes.
- While the stew is cooking, heat a skillet over high heat until smoky hot. Add the remaining oil and wait for approximately 10 seconds until the oil is hot. Add diced zucchini squash and saute until it is soft. Approximately 3 minutes. Season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Remove the pressure cooker from heat and let the pressure drop on its own. Blend the stew to achieve a smooth texture.
- Stir ⅔ of the sauted zucchini squash into the stew. Garnish the stew with cilantro, the remaining sauteed zucchini squash, cilantro, and paprika powder. Serve hot with lime wedges.