Indian Red Lentil Stew

A girl’s gotta treat herself every once in awhile. Whether it’s a weekend retreat, getting a pedicure, or an elaborate haircut, doing something kind to ourselves makes us feel good, relaxed and special. It doesn’t have to be huge. Heck, I consider taking myself out to tea and reading for a couple of hours in a comfy coffee shop a way to treat myself. That’s like, a $3 activity, tops.

My activity of choice yesterday wasn’t $3 but it was essential. My skin has been begging for some special treatment since we arrived in Montreal. I’ve been get crazy breakouts for no reason, dry patches, oily patches… it’s a war zone. So I booked myself in for a facial at the spa down the street from my yoga studio. They use Image Organic Skincare Products; a line one of my girlfriends swears by. The spa is also running a discount on facials this month, so I figured yesterday was a good a day as any to book myself in and get my face glowing again.

I’ll let you know what I think of the product in a couple of weeks!

Okay, on to food.

Last time I used these little red lentils, I threw them in a batch of granola. Gosh, that stuff was good. Red lentils are the bomb!

Out of all of the two week cleanse recipes we’ve enjoyed so far, this is my favorite. It’s crazy good and really, really good for you. Each serving has 18 grams of fiber. 18! That’s insanity!

Ah yes, and it comes with it’s very own homemade masala.

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4.6 from 8 reviews
Indian Red Lentil Stew
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A thick and hearty lentil stew that's low in fat and high in fiber, protein and iron. Made spicy with homemade masala and ready in under 30 minutes.
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • Two 2" segments of cinnamon bark
  • 3-5 whole dried chilies
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • Pinch saffron
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice from ½ lime
  1. Begin by sauteing oil, red onion, celery, garlic and ginger root in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat for 6 minutes, until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, break apart cinnamon bark and chili's with your fingers and place in a cast iron pan with cumin seeds. Heat on medium heat for 5 minutes, rotating often until toasted.
  3. Add toasted ingredients to the bowl of your coffee grinder. Add turmeric and saffron. Grind until smooth and set aside.
  4. Once onion mixture is complete, add remaining stew ingredients, including homemade masala. Cover, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, until lentils are softened.
  6. Stir in fresh cilantro and lime juice.
  7. Will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze in individual containers for quick lunches.

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I bought this cinnamon bark and saffron in India and am savoring every last bit of it before it’s gone. You can buy the bark here, just look for it in the ethnic isle of your grocery store. It’s so much more flavorful that cinnamon sticks, it’ll blow your mind!

If you don’t have a grinder, I’d recommend swapping out the homemade masala with some garam masala instead.

Okay, begin by chopping up your onions and celery. Nice and fine!

Add to a large saucepan and cook with garlic and oil.

Meanwhile, you can get your masala ready. I like using a cast iron pan, but use whatever you have handy. You just want to toast the seeds so that the flavor develops. Toasted cumin seeds are one of my favorite things on this planet.

Once your veggies are soft and your seeds are toasted,

It’s time to add everything to a pot, grind, and get this party started!

Cook until the lentils are softened, but still a tiny bit firm. If you cook it too long it’ll look like a soppy mess.

I topped my bowl with a bit of chopped grape tomatoes to make it look purdy.

What do you like treating yourself with? When’s the last time you did it?

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  1. This sounds and looks amazing! My only worry is I can’tell tolerate really hot spicy food. What type of chilies should I use and how much? I like cumin and coriander, I usually just use a little less. Trying to increase my vegetarian intake to minimize meat and poultry. Hard after 66 Yrs! Given up pork, most red meat, down to chicken, fish. Don’the like mushrooms either so kind of struggling. Tofu ok but don’the really know what to do with it. Help!!!

  2. I only have Indian Masala powder, could I use that instead of the homemade masala? and how much would I use?