This one goes out to my Vegetarian & Vegan Homies. In my life you are few, but you are strong.
I wish I could tell you that this stew took soooo looong to get the flavors out. And that it had to sit on your stovetop for, like, hours and hours, making your house smell delicious but driving everyone crazy because it took for.ev.er to cook. I wish I could be like, “No, seriously, this is a long ass stew that requires your constant energy. So fun!”
But I can’t, I’m afraid. It takes like, 40 minutes and dinner is served. The worst part is waiting for the lentils to soften, because lentils never soften when they’re supposed to and it drives me insane. It’s like watching water boil, I swear. Or paint dry. They only cook when I turn my back on them for a while. They’re shy, lentils are.
Anyway. So. You don’t eat meat. Or even fish. And you’ve been checking on my stews this whole week so far and been like, “No Bueno, too much meat. Pass!” Here is my gift to you, my little plant-killing friend. I normally laugh in the face of a meatless dinner but this Butternut Squash, Lentil and Mushroom Stew is full of so much flavor, and umami, and richness, that I have to hand it to you; meat is not always the king.
It ain’t pretty, this stew, but it sure is tasty.
(Now shhhh because I totes have a meat-lover reputation to keep.)
Butternut Squash, Lentil and Mushroom Stew Recipe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 cup green lentils, rinsed and inspected for any stones
- 1 cup packed sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 2 ½ cups vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Heat oil in a large-bottomed, heavy pot over medium-high heat. In a separate bowl, toss the butternut squash with the nutmeg, salt and cumin and add to the pan, making sure the cubes are in one layer. Add the onions and cook until the onions have softened and the squash has lightly toasted and started to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the lentils and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, 1-3 minutes, until the mushrooms have softened and released some liquid. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook 25-30 minutes, until most of the water has reduced and the lentils have cooked all the way through. Add the thyme leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.