Lemony Lentil-Orzo Stew
"Pulses" are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family, which includes dried beans, dried peas, chickpeas and lentils. Pulses provide fiber and plant protein, but are low in calories; they are also economical and good for the environment. In fact, the United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulse. Here we feature lentils (no pre-soaking required), as the basis of a simple but satisfying vegetarian stew made from pantry staples and aromatic vegetables you may already have on hand. Lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley give the stew a lift, providing lots of flavor without sodium.
1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; cook, stirring often, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add lentils and thyme; stir well. Add broth, 1/2 cup water, and bay leaf; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, 15 minutes.
2. Add orzo; simmer, covered, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils and orzo are almost tender.
3. Add tomatoes; simmer until lentils and orzo are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. (Add a little water if stew begins to stick to the pot.) Discard bay leaf. Stir in parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. (Stew will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.)
Yield: 6 (generous 1-cup) servings.
Per serving: Calories: 280. Total fat: 3.5 grams. Saturated fat: 0 grams. Cholesterol: 0 milligrams. Protein: 14 grams. Total carbohydrate: 49 grams. Dietary fiber: 10 grams. Sugars: 4 grams. Sodium: 260 milligrams.
Lentil cooking tip: Acidic ingredients like tomatoes and lemon juice enhance the flavor of lentils, but they can prevent lentils from becoming tender. Add acidic ingredients and salt towards the end of cooking or as a final seasoning.
- 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 4 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup dry brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 4 cup low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup whole-wheat orzo pasta
- 1 cup no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste