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Lentil stew with chard & carrots

This stew usually tastes better the next day. I haven’t figured out a good substitute for fresh basil leaves, i.e., when they’re out of season. You could try dried basil, using about a third the amount called for. Try fresh parsley or fresh sage or fresh rosemary, or mix thereof.


  • 1 bunch of chard: dice the stems and roughly chop the leaves
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups diced carrots
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, roughly minced
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
  • 5 cups water, bottled or filtered
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped peeled tomatoes; or substitute 1 14 1.2 ounce can of canned tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 handfuls of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ground white pepper to taste


  1. Put the chard stems, carrots, garlic, onion and olive oil into a large stew pot or dutch oven. On medium high heat sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the onions get a bit soft, but not translucent.
  2. Stir in the bay leaves, cumin, salt and celery seeds, until the spices become aromatic.
  3. Stir in the lentils and add the water.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot. Allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in the basil, chard leaves, lemon juice and white pepper.
  6. Cover again, and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes. It’ll be ready when the lentils are tender to the bite and when the flavors are well-absorbed.

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