Harissa Cauliflower Lentil Stew with Lemon


Close-up photograph of an overhead white dutch oven with red lentils, tomato sauce, and cauliflower.

Lentil Stew: my go to recipe

I all the time really feel like I’m by no means cooking with lentils sufficient. Certain, we make these lentil bites in some type each couple of weeks. Nevertheless, for one thing so low cost and straightforward, I really feel like they need to be a one to 2 occasions per week meal. This lentil stew is flavorful and an ideal excuse for extra lentil utilization.

What about lentil sorts? I’m positive a number of of you’ll marvel if you need to use a unique sort of lentil. Reality is, you completely may. Nevertheless, I actually love how smooth and nearly non-existent the pink lentils develop into on this stew. Plus, they maintain the colour a lovely pink. Neither situation is a deal-breaker for the recipe, only a couple issues to concentrate on for those who do need to use inexperienced, black, or Le puy lentils.

Why do I prepare dinner them separate? Many recipes name for cooking lentils in tomato sauces however I all the time have blended outcomes with this. Generally the lentils take awhile to melt whereas different occasions it seems the lentils won’t ever soften. Whereas this may very well be age of the lentil, it’s exhausting to inform earlier than you soar into cooking. As a substitute of getting feedback replenish my inbox about non-softening lentils, I select to prepare dinner them separate.


Harissa is one in all my go-to additions to spice issues up a bit and there are lots of completely different recipes and types in the marketplace. In the event you’re curious, NPR has a lovely article about the what and the where of harrissa. I’ve a mild-harissa that I take advantage of sometimes however most of the time, I search for small jars/tubs filled with spicy taste.

My important directive right here: style earlier than you employ. I’ve discovered harissa on each spice degree and the very last thing you need is to over-use and make one thing so spicy that it’s inedible. This is the harissa I’ve been utilizing and I picked it up at my native Complete Meals.


I left feta off the highest as a result of I didn’t have the day I shot the recipe. Nevertheless, it’s a stunning and most-welcome addition. Crumble a bit on high earlier than serving.


Once I posted about ways to preserve lemons, many individuals requested me methods to use preserved lemons. This lentil stew is the proper instance. As a substitute of the lemon zest on the finish, chopping up some preserved lemon is the proper swap.

Learn how to Serve it

The unique recipe requires topping a hearty bowl of brown rice. Nevertheless, through the years, I’ve gone backwards and forwards. Generally I take advantage of grains as the bottom however extra usually that not, I eat this stew as is with a pleasant little bit of bread. I’ll usually pair it with a light-weight salad and say it is a strong weeknight dinner.

Vegetable Selections

Lastly, this stew is forgiving in the case of the greens. The cauliflower is nice however diced candy potatoes, butternut squash, and even hearty greens would work properly with, or as a substitute, for the cauliflower. Simply watch cook-time. Some objects would possibly take a bit longer, just like the candy potato.


Close-up photograph of an overhead white dutch oven with red lentils, tomato sauce, and cauliflower.

Harissa Cauliflower Lentil Stew with Lemon


A hearty lentil stew flavored with harissa and lemon. Good for serving over grains or with a aspect of toast.



½ cup raw pink lentils

1 cup water

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil


2 tablespoons ghee (or olive oil to maintain it vegan)

½ giant yellow onion, minced

¼ teaspoon salt

three cups bite-sized cauliflower florets, about ¾ of a pound of cauliflower head

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon spicy harissa (see observe)

1 15ouncescan crushed tomatoes

1 ½ cups vegetable broth or water

Salt, to style

For Serving

Zest from one lemon

Cilantro, for serving

Toasted sesame seeds, for serving


  1. In a pot, mix the lentils with the water, salt, and oil. Convey to a boil, scale back to a simmer, cowl, and let prepare dinner for about 22 to 25 minutes, till the lentils are tender however not utterly falling aside. In the event you prepare dinner all the pieces else whereas the lentils are cooking, this makes the dish go a lot sooner.
  2. Warmth a big skillet over medium. Add and soften the ghee then add within the minced onion and a sprinkle of salt. Warmth till the onions develop into tender then measure within the cauliflower.  Cook dinner for a couple of minutes, stirring sometimes, till the cauliflower has misplaced the uncooked texture and is beginning to brown.
  3. Stir within the lemon juice, harissa, tomatoes, and broth. Convey the combination to a boil, scale back to a simmer, and prepare dinner till the cauliflower is tender. Add within the cooked lentils, a pinch extra of salt, and the lemon zest. Warmth the lentil stew till sizzling then high with cilantro and sesame seeds earlier than serving.



Many shops carry harissa in jars or in tubes. Within the intro for this recipe, I’ve linked to the model I’m presently utilizing. No matter you determine to make use of (store-bought or selfmade), style earlier than you place it into the stew. The model I take advantage of is admittedly spicy and the 1 tablespoon is loads but it surely’s actually a model by model determination and private style.

Key phrases: lentil stew, harissa cauliflower, cauliflower lentil stew


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