Ashley Thomas is pretty much a food wizard, and you're should absolutely follow her at The Fresh Beet for a daily dose of colorful, nutrition-focused deliciousness! Her food is gorgeous and filled with healthy ingredients, and her Meal Without Plastic Challenge recipe for tasty, feel-good lentil stew is no exception.
I'm a sucker for any recipe that basically involves dumping ingredients in a pot to cook while I'm off living my life, but my favorite part of this recipe is probably that it introduced me to that flavor-packed awesomeness known as chicken base, which has become a staple in my home! More on that to come at the bottom of this post.
Ashley advises, "To make this recipe plastic-free:
Opt out of using plastic produce bags when purchasing veggies at grocery store or farmers market. Just throw them in your cart, basket, or directly into your reusable grocery tote.
Choose a veggie stock packaged in glass like the Better than Bouillon brand. You can reuse the jar when you’ve run out.
Because lentils are nearly impossible to purchase without some sort of plastic packaging, I suggest purchasing a small nylon or silk sack to pour your lentils into at the bulk section of the store. These are only $12 and you can use them every time you go! *
*This gallery contains affiliate links. This means that if you click through and give the product a whirl, I get a tiny fee for spreading the news at no extra cost to you. This helps me offset the enormous amount of time that goes into Compost & Cava.
* Reese's Note:
Most stores with bulk items have no issue with their customers using paper bags from the coffee section.
Lentils pictured were purchased at Earth Fare in Charleston, SC
2 sweet potatoes, skins on, chopped
1 cup black lentils (any will work)
1 large carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water mixed with 1-2 TBS chicken base
1 handful kale per serving bowl
Eggs for poaching (or frying)
Add first 7 ingredients to your crock pot. Set to high and cook for 4-6 hours, or to low and cook for 8 hours. Arrange kale in bowl, top with stew and cooked egg, garnish with cilantro.
*CLICK HERE for Ashley's more in depth directions, including a stove top version and directions on how to poach an egg successfully. Also her site is filled with other amazing recipes, so you should hit it up anyway, my foodie friends.
For those of you curious about the aforementioned magical chicken base: check it out.
What is it? Highly concentrated stock (it also comes as a beef base, as well as mushroom and garlic varietals, for you vegans), that has been simmered for a long time to create an incredibly rich reduction with a surprising depth of flavor.
It makes regular chicken stock look like the ugly step-sister.
And as if that wasn't enough to persuade you to give it a whirl, the salt content of the straight base means it will keep for quite some time in the fridge... And the packaging is super simple: glass jar of product that will last you for many a meal, metal top, and paper safety seal.
My new favorite trick is to sauté some garlic, add a little white wine, throw some kale in to sauté, whisk some chicken base and water together, and add it in while the kale cooks down. It's basically savory kale candy.
This recipe has quickly become one of my favorite comfort foods, and I love it with or without the egg, and went through a phase where I literally ate it for all three meals in one day. I warned you, it's addictive!
A huge thank you to Ashley and The Fresh Beet for their beautiful and inspiring approach to forming healthy relationships with food and all the nutritious inspiration!
And finally, for your latest reminder on why we all need to begin eliminated plastic in our lives, you should read some of all of the articles linked below. The situation is urgent.