Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula’s Moroccan Lentil Stew)
A reader named Paula sent me this recipe for Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula’s Moroccan Lentil Stew) and it’s a wonderful dish that I’ve made many times for guests. This recipe is meatless, gluten-free, low-glycemic, and South Beach Phase Two.
I’m a huge fan of all kinds of beans and legumes but two of my favorites are lentils and chickpeas, so when I got this recipe for Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew by e-mail from a reader named Paula B., the minute I read the recipe, there was never any doubt I was going to make it. Not only did it sound like a perfect combination of flavors, but I’d just gotten a big bag of red lentils from Whole Foods, so it seemed like an omen when the recipe arrived. Paula called the dish Moroccan Lentil Stew, though I’m not sure if it’s really Moroccan, but it’s aromatic and spicy with a blend of interesting ingredients that come together perfectly. Paula said she eats it with a dollop of sour cream (again, probably not Moroccan, but highly recommend it!) I ate mine over brown rice, and this was one of the best easy dinners I’d had for a long time.
If you’re thinking of using brown lentils for this, please try to find the red lentils. Not only are they beautiful, but they’re much softer than other lentils and dissolve to make a perfectly thickened stew. Lentils are a versatile ingredient, high in protein and fiber and low in fat. They also cook quickly and don’t need to be soaked.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot, then gently saute the onions, garlic, ginger, and ground turmeric for about 7 minutes. Then add chopped celery, garam masala, ground cardamom, cayenne pepper, and ground cumin and cook 3-4 minutes more, or until spices become very aromatic and celery is just starting to soften. These are the beautiful red lentils that dissolve into the stock and become the base of this stew. They turn more of a yellowish color when they’re cooked.
Add chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can chickpeas, and the red lentils, and let the stew start to simmer. Once it starts to bubble, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover pan, and cook 45-60 minutes (or even a bit longer, depending on how fully dissolved you’d like the lentils to be.) I wanted to keep some texture, but cooked mine for about 60 minutes so the lentils were about half-dissolved.
Serve Spicy Red Lentil Stew over rice or brown rice if desired. I love this with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt we well.
More Tasty Recipes for Red Lentils:
Bengali Red Dal Curry from Jake from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato Soup from Andea Meyers
Curried Rice and Red Lentils from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Red Lentil Soup from Nami Nami
Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Greek Red Lentil Salad from Tea and Cookies
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula's Moroccan Lentil Stew)
Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula’s Moroccan Lentil Stew) is a wonderful dish to serve to guests.
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 T olive oil (or perhaps a little more, depending on your pan)
- 1-2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger (original recipe said 1 tsp, but I used 2 tsp.)
- 1 T finely minced garlic
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 3/4 cup celery, finely diced
- 1 tsp. Garam Masala
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (I only used 1/4 tsp. because I’m a wimp for hot foods)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin (original recipe said 1/2 tsp., but I love cumin)
- 6 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock (I used 4 cups chicken and 2 cups beef stock, because that’s what I had. You could also use canned broth)
- 1 1/2 cups red lentils
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed until no more foam appears
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (I used petite dice, do not drain tomatoes)
- cooked brown rice for serving (optional)
- sour cream or plain yogurt for serving (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid.
- Add onions, ginger, garlic, and turmeric and gently saute, stirring often, for about 7 minutes, or until onions are quite soft but not browned.
- Add diced celery, Garam Masala, ground cardamom, cayenne pepper, and ground cumin and saute 3-4 minutes more, until celery barely starts to soften.
- Add the stock, red lentils, canned tomatoes, and rinsed chickpeas and bring mixture to a gentle boil.
- When it starts to bubble, reduce heat to the barest simmer and cover pan with lid.
- Let mixture simmer, stirring a few times, until lentils are dissolved enough that mixture has thickened into a chunky stew.
- The shorter time you cook it, the more chunky it will be. I cooked mine at the barest simmer for about 60 minutes.
- Serve hot, over brown rice and topped with sour cream or plain yogurt if desired.
- Paula said this is even better after it’s been in the fridge, and I’d have to agree that like many stews, the flavors were even better the next day.
- This freezes very well, so I’d recommend making the whole batch, even if you’re only cooking for a small number of people.
- However, it’s so good it might not make it into the freezer.
This recipe adapted very slightly from one sent to me by a reader named Paula B; Paula doesn’t remember where she got it but everyone she has shared the recipe with has loved it!
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
If you ate this Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew plain (without rice) this dish would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet or other low-glycemic diet plans, even with the sour cream or plain yogurt. I ate mine over brown rice, which would make it phase 2 or 3 for South Beach. This is too high in carbs for a stricter low-carb eating plan.
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