Delicious Lentil Stew-SNAP Recipe Project

SNAP fact in honor of Veteran’s Day: “Nationwide, in any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP to provide food for their families in 2011.”–Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

There were not too many choices in the “D’s” in SNAP Recipe Finder, but that wasn’t the reason my decision on which recipe I would choose was made quickly. The recipe I chose was “Delicious Lentil Stew” because the recipe was submitted by University of Wisconsin, Cooperative Extension Service…my home state! Delicious Lentil Stew recipe

I thought it might be interesting to see what some mid-westerners would do with lentils since lentils are often used in Indian, African and Mediterranean dishes, and sometimes those areas use herbs and spices that Wisconsin folks aren’t used to. Also, Wisconsinites don’t eat all that many legumes unless its in chili or baked beans, so we sometimes don’t know what to do with them, even though they are VERY affordable and have great fiber and protein content!

This label on lentil nutrition is from http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/lentils. There are a few types of lentils, so the specifics can vary, but note the protein, fiber and even iron, folate and potassium content! (Those last two are something you won’t find on a typical food label, but are still important parts of your diet!)

Also, my bag of 1# lentils was bought at my local, no-frills Piggly Wiggly grocery store for only $1.29! And that’s protein for 8 servings…try to beat that price at the meat counter!

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It’s stew season, and this is a great way to add variety to your days of beef stew and chili!

So how did I feel about this recipe? To be honest, it was a little strange at first, but the final product was tasty, and it filled the role of what a SNAP recipe should be, nutritious, easy and affordable.

  • The recipe yielded aver 10 cups, which would work out to about 1 1/3 cups per serving.
  • The directions were pretty vague sometimes; I used med to melt the butter and turned the burner up to med-high to saute the onions. Also, it’s not the same sequence of how stews are often made, so I was curious about how it would turn out in the end. But really, the recipe is simple so it doesn’t need to be too detailed.
  • While whole carrots are more affordable, I had some baby carrots already, so I used about 4 of those for each whole carrot the recipe called for.
  • Flavor: this was the downfall of the recipe for me at first, which is typical for me. I used 4X the Worcestershire amount, and started adding oregano and garlic powder freely until I got a hint of the flavors. I also added salt and pepper to taste. But in the end, it was a flavor profile that would be familiar to people who might not be adventurous enough for a spicy or curry dish.
  • To add a but more flavor, but also sodium to a certain degree, you could use stock instead of water, but that would increase the price, of course.
  • The “stew” consistency was pretty thick, but you could of course add more water to make it soupier, if that’s what you like.
  • Lastly, I would use more carrot, celery and maybe more tomatoes, to give it more of a equal blend of ingredients. Now, it is lentils with a bit of other veggies sprinkled in.

This recipe is a great introduction to legumes for people who haven’t used them before and might not have the more elaborate spice rack needed for some of the other lentil recipes you often come across. Plus, lentils don’t need to be pre-soaked when purchased dry, and having them dry eliminates some of the sodium that can come with canned vegetables. Eat well!

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