While it's economically advantageous to purchase bulk quantities of the pantry staples, such as green lentils, it means that you need to find a lot of vegan recipes that contain them to keep things interesting. We bought a 25 pound bag of green lentils, so it provides the opportunity to experiment. A lot!
But it can be great when you figure out a combination of spices that works for you. This is loosely based on a chana masala, that usually uses chick peas. Tamarind concentrate is a recent find at a local middle eastern and indian grocery store - it’s easy to find. But if you cannot find the concentrate, you can use the paste instead - I can even find paste in small towns.
I had always used paste in the past, but the concentrate is like a syrup as opposed to a paste - it's fully strained and easy to measure and pour, great for using in dressings and sauces. It's also incredibly inexpensive (a pouch that lasts us for months only costs about $2, the larger pouches are a bit more).
Spicy Tamarind Green Lentil Stew
- 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2.5 cups green lentils
- 1 cup white onion cut into chunks
- 1-3 serrano pepper diced & optionally de-seeded
- 15 oz diced tomatoes
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 2 tsp tamarind concentrate
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp ginger minced
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp stevia extract
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 15 oz thickened non-dairy milk see notes
- Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, reserving the coconut milk.
- Cook in slow cooker for 4 hours at high, or 6 hours at low heat. Add more broth if necessary during cook cycle.
- Before serving, mix in the thickened plant-based milk (see notes). Serve with a whole grain vegan naan bread or rice.
Tamarind concentrate or paste
Tamarind concentrate is an extremely flavorful spice. It is really tangy and citrusy, and due to the strength of the concentrate, you only need to add a small amount. As mentioned above, you might be able to find it at a middle eastern grocery store but if not it is available online on many grocery sites such as Amazon.
If you cannot find the concentrate or do not wish to order online, you can use the very easy to find in local stores tamarind paste instead. You will just need to increase the amount according to your taste (try doubling the amount and adjusting to taste).