Here is another version of vegetarian lentil stew. I used grated carrots to sweeten it and they turned out delicious! Lentils are a great substitute for red meat because they are an excellent source of protein. They are also full of fiber, high in vitamin B (specially B3), iron, calcium and zinc. You do not need to soak lentils over night as they will cook fairly quickly. I try and cook lentils and other types of beans at least once a week at home.
Here is what you need for this:
1- 12 oz. bag lentils
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk with leaves, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
8 cups water
Salt & Pepper
Heat a pan with some olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until aromatic. Add the celery, bell peppers, jalapenos and grated carrots. Stir well and cook for another 2 minutes. Using a grater, grate the tomatoes directly into the onions.
Mix well and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the oregano and the tomato paste. Add the water and mix well until the paste dissolves. Add the lentils and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the pot to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Go ahead and add some water if the lentils are getting too dry. Make sure to re-season with salt if necessary.