This change of seasons lentil bean stew is made for spring. Even though it’s spring, we’re still eating warming foods, especially at dinner time, because the seasons are in the midst of changing and the heat of summer is not quite here yet. It’s still not full-on grill, bbq and salad season yet, although we so look forward to those summer days. We’ve also still been craving comfort food while we continue to self isolate during covid. So, a lentil based stew with some root veggies that are kicking around from winter, is a good cozy dinner.
Food and Brain Health
We’re always fascinated by the connection between what we eat and the impact it has on our bodies, and lately we’ve been thinking about mood, brain health and food. Because of the covid pandemic, it’s the most important time to incorporate foods to support the brain. Beans are a wonderful option because they are so well balanced in a variety of nutrients. They contain protein AND carbohydrates, plus fiber.
This means that your body will digest and absorb the carbohydrates in beans slowly over time, thanks to protein and fiber slowing down the digestion time. This provides the brain with a steady source of fuel, glucose (once the carbohydrates are broken down). Low-glycemic complex carbs, like beans, will help the brain function smoothly. We want to avoid high-glycemic foods that spike blood sugar quickly and lead to a crash, which can lead to mood swings and make it more difficult for the brain to function well.
The Mind Diet
Many studies have found a direct link between diet and cognitive decline. The MIND diet, which is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, has been studied extensively and has shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Beans and legumes are an important component in this diet.
We used kidney beans and lentils in this recipe, but you could swap in other types of beans if you don’t have kidney beans on hand. You can easily use pinto beans or white beans, such as cannellini, or even chickpeas instead.
Change of Seasons Lentil Bean Stew
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced in small pieces
- 2 small turnips, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 medium sweet potato, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup brown lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1.5 cups kidney beans from 1 small can or cooked dried beans
- 2 cups green kale, chopped
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes over medium heat.
- Continue to saute the onions and garlic, adding in the carrot, turnip and thyme for a few minutes.
- Add the sweet potato and lentils and give everything a stir to combine together.
- Pour in the broth and add the tomato paste. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low heat for 35 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and cooked.
- At the 25 minute mark, add in the kidney beans (or other beans) and the chopped kale.
- Add sea salt and pepper to taste.