A recent culinary adventure reaffirmed for me that “sometimes you just never know!”
I like vegetables, but had never really invested much time in learning some vegetarian recipes. It just didn’t seem practical because I live with carnivores. My man likes his meat and I have no interest in cooking multiple meals to suit multiple dietary preferences.
Enter my daughter’s roommate who is going through a very difficult time facing a tough situation that is difficult for most people in middle age, let alone a young girl in her mid-twenties. And like many women, one of my basic beliefs is that, while I can’t solve people’s problems, I can make sure they get a good meal! And so I confidently set out to make some delicious comfort food to send over, until my daughter reminded me that her roommate is a vegetarian. My confidence quickly faded as I realized that I had no “go to” vegetarian recipes and I could not imagine how any vegetarian recipe could produce that “comfort food” feeling.
Thank goodness for Google which saved the day and sent me on my vegetarian culinary adventure. In my search for Crockpot vegetarian recipes, I came across Crockpot Chickpea, Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Stew. As I read the recipe, I will admit that I had my doubts, especially when I saw a spice on the ingredient list called garam masala. My daughter informed me that it is an Indian spice. Every experience I have had with Indian food has left me either sweating or with indigestion. But my daughter assured me that it is more of an aromatic than a “spicy” spice.
And so I gave it a try – Crockpot Chickpea, Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Stew!
My culinary adventure resulted in an amazing success! It was delicious, hearty and definitely had that “comfort food” feel.
And any doubts in my mind were erased when my son tried it and told me that it tasted great and the chickpeas were really good. And this was from the boy who could once eat a double cheeseburger at any time, in any place for no reason in particular. I really enjoyed this vegetarian recipe and have since made it several times for myself.
In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul describes how, though he is a free man in Christ, he often used his freedom to adapt to the needs and preferences of others so that he could effectively share Christ with other people.
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
I admit that adapting to the needs and preferences of others does not always appeal to me. I like to do things that are done my way and within my comfort zone. And I’m not a vegetarian!
But my vegetarian culinary adventure taught me that Paul’s approach to ministry brings about blessings for the person we are serving as well as for ourselves.
The vegetarian stew was a blessing to a young girl who could use a good nutritious meal while going through a very difficult time. But the vegetarian stew was also a blessing to me. I broadened my definition of “comfort food” and added a delicious, healthy and nutritious recipe to my personal cookbook that I would have never tried had I not made it for the purpose of ministering to the needs of someone else.
So, it is with great pleasure that I share this recipe with you. Why not give it a try? It makes a good amount (I needed to use my 6 quart Crockpot for this recipe) and it freezes very well! And if you really want to take it to “over the top” delicious, once the stew has completed cooking, you can add one ingredient that is not on the original ingredient list: a small can (5-6 ounces) of coconut cream which will add richness with a touch of sweetness.
Crockpot Chickpea, Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Stew
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2-3 tsp garam masala
1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs–average sized), peeled and chopped
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in tomato juice
1 quart vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
fresh minced cilantro for serving
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and jalapeno and sauté for about six minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds, and then add the garam masala, stirring well to coat. Take off heat.
Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on LOW and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer you cook, the thicker your stew will be.
Season with sea salt to taste and serve with minced cilantro on top. This stew freezes extremely well and will keep in the fridge for up to five days.
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About the author:
Hello! My name is Ginger Hill and I am a Christ follower and a wellness professional. Over the years, I have personally and professionally seen the benefits of healthy living and I have also seen the hardships of struggling to practice good health habits in the midst of a busy and sometimes stressful life. I am passionate about helping myself and others to live a healthy lifestyle and I believe that good health is essential in helping us to do the good works that God has called us to do. Because I am a work in progress, I write these blog posts to encourage myself and I share them with others in the hope that they may be encouraged as well.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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