Carrot and Lentil Stew with Middle Eastern Spices

The recipe is based on the combination of two recipes by Martha Rose Shulman that I found on New York Times Cooking. The NYT recipes are here and here. I like the combination of  coriander, cardamon, and cumin with the lemon and mint.

Be very careful not to overcook the lentils. They can go from perfectly firm to total mush in very little time.

This preparation can take quite a bit of salt. I started with about a teaspoon and added more.

Carrot and Lentil Stew with Middle Eastern Spices

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 cup brown, green or black lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved lengthwise, then sliced thin across the grain
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • ¼ tsp. cardamom seeds, ground
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ pounds carrots, peeled and sliced thin (about 4 cups sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste, dissolved in 1 cup water
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed


  1. Bring the lentils and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the lentils through a strainer over a bowl. Remove the bay leaf and reserve the cooking liquid.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet, dutch oven, or casserole. Add the onion and coriander seeds and sauté until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the cumin and cardamon and stir for one minute. Add the garlic and carrots, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots start to soften. Then stir in the tomato paste and water and the lentils. Pour in enough of the reserved cooking liquid to cover the lentils and carrots, about 1 to 1-1/2 cups. Stir in half of the mint and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender but not mushy and most of the liquid has cooked off.
  3. Adjust the seasoning and remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining mint.
  4. Serve over cooked brown rice or whole grains with lemon wedges on the side. Alternatively, allow to cool and serve at room temperature.

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