Lentil Potato Stew

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I enjoy soup year around. However, I especially appreciate it during soup season…the winter months when temperatures drop and the days are short.

I’m also always looking for a new soup recipe. I tried this one recently, Lentil Potato Stew, and declared it a success. This simple recipe is adapted from one I saw online. With a few changes I made it vegan, gluten free and perfect for those on the Blue Zones lifestyle.

Lentil Potato Soup title

Making Lentil Potato Stew

This recipe uses readily available ingredients. You probably have everything needed in your pantry. And it comes together in minutes. Because lentils and potatoes cook quickly, you can have this delicious stew on the table in about 45 minutes.

Lentil Potato Stew bowlful

Lentil Potato Stew

Hearty stew that comes together in minutes.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large potatoes, diced
  • 16 oz dry red lentils, washed and drained
  • 1 cup kale, washed and stemmed May substitute baby spinach
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in large soup pot, over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Saute until veggies are soft.
  • Add lentils, potatoes, kale, turmeric and black pepper. Stir to coat lentils and potatoes in oil.
  • Add tomatoes, broth and water. Bring to a boil, cover pot and reduce heat. Simmer 20 - 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add salt and additional black pepper, if desired. Makes approximately 6 servings.
Keyword Potatoes, Red Lentils

 

Lentil Potato Stew ready to eat
Lentil Potato Stew simmering

Lentil Potato Stew Tips

This stew is easily adaptable. Switch red lentil for brown. Remove the greens or substitute baby spinach for kale. Fresh greens or frozen work equally well.

Decrease or increase turmeric, as desired. Make your own vegetable broth or purchase ready to use. And you could add chopped squash if desired.

I use a mini vegetable chopper to quickly create diced veggies. This one HERE is similar. And I own a set of three stainless steel soup pots. I used the middle one for this recipe.

Lentil Potato Stew spoonful
Lentil Potato Stew – ladling it up

The Taste Test

Greg and I tried this recipe for dinner and found it full of flavor, satisfying and filling. I like using lentils for protein and pairing lentils with potatoes so I really enjoyed this stew. I also shared the stew with my mother and she liked it as well.

I’ll definitely serve this stew again. It’s easy to make, uses simple ingredients and I love that it’s perfect for my plant based, Blue Zones lifestyle.

Do you love soup during the winter months? Give this nourishing stew a try!

Lentil Potato Stew bowlful
Lentil Potato Stew – bowl full of goodness

 

Other lentil recipes you might like:

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Madras Curried Lentils

Lentils & Brown Rice

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Minestrone Soup

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As colder weather moves into my area this week, the time felt right to make a pot of healthy, nourishing soup! Soup is one of my favorite foods. It is so versatile and I like creating a large pot of soup on Sunday and storing it in the fridge for a quick meal.

Flipping through the pages of my Blue Zones Cookbook, I landed on a minestrone soup recipe that looked amazing. After creating a pot of this flavorful soup, I discovered that it is, indeed, amazing.

Plus minestrone soup is easy to make, using on hand veggies, gluten free pasta and legumes.

Check out the recipe!

Minestrone Soup title

Why this soup?

I selected this recipe from the cookbook for a couple of reasons: I possessed most of the ingredients in my kitchen already and it has a good story behind it.

In the cookbook, this recipe is called the Melis Family Minestrone.

Which made me wonder who this family was!

They are a family in Sardinia, Italy, who hold the Guinness World Record for oldest family in history. The nine siblings boast a collective age of 851 years, with the oldest living to 109.

Everyday the Melis family ate the same lunch: sourdough bread, Cannonau wine and minestrone soup.

Minestrone is a soup made from veggies, beans and a grain, typically some sort of pasta. It is high in protein and dietary fiber, which is good for gut health.

Minestrone Soup Recipe

This soup is a great way to use up left over vegetables in the fridge. Below is a standard recipe but feel free to add other veggies.

Minestrone Soup ready to eat

Minestrone Soup

Rich with veggies, beans and gluten free pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped fennel (bulbs, stalks and stems)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can navy or white beans, drained
  • I can red beans, drained
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2/3 cup gluten free pasta
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onions, carrots and celery, cooking and stirring until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic. Cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, potatoes, fennel, basil, parsley, rosemary, beans, veggie broth and water.
  • Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and cover, simmering for 30 minutes. Add pasta, salt and black pepper and more water, if needed. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender but not overcooked.
    Serve with more olive oil, if desired, and a slice of sourdough bread.
Keyword minestrone soup

 

Tips for Making Minestrone Soup

If desired, substitute dry beans for canned. Soak bean overnight, drain and rinse. Simmer for two – three hours, or until beans are tender.

Switch out the beans, according to what you have on hand. I recommend always including chickpeas, at least, and then two more beans of choice.

Add or swap out veggies, using what you have on hand. Some good choices include summer squash, zucchini, and green beans. If fennel isn’t available, leave it out. I didn’t have fennel for this batch but found a source for it and I’ll include it next time.

Use a small size pasta. I chose gluten free elbow macaroni. If you don’t have gluten sensitivities, use regular pasta.

Include or swap out seasonings. Use dried Italian seasoning or thyme or try fresh basil, rosemary and parsley.

If you don’t have veggie broth, use water. Or use all veggie broth and no water for a rich broth. Make your own veggie broth using this recipe.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator, knowing you can heat up a yummy bowl of soup in a few minutes.

Minestrone Soup pot
Pot of minestrone soup.

My Minestrone Soup

I’ve enjoyed this delicious minestrone soup for lunch every day this week. While I intend to make a fresh and different pot of healthy soup each Sunday, this minestrone soup certainly stays in the rotation. It has the perfect blend of veggies, legumes, pasta and seasonings. I’m watching my sodium intake, so I appreciate the flavor the seasonings provide, without having to use much salt.

And as an extra bonus, this soup smells amazing while it simmers. And that is an important part of the soup experience for me.

I’m loving the Blue Zones Lifestyle. It is simple, nourishing and healthy. It keeps my blood pressure and blood sugar levels in the normal range, without medication. And it inspires me to try new recipes from the different blue zones regions.

What’s your favorite soup? Is it time to create a pot of soup at your house?

Minestrone Soup ready to eat
Minestrone Soup – ready to eat

 

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Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas

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A couple of months ago, I did the four week Blue Zones Challenge. Find links to those weekly updates at the end of this post. As I completed the last week, I decided to continue, turning the challenge into a lifestyle.

One reason for my decision is the simplicity of this way of eating. I enjoy combining whole foods into meals. And while I love the Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook, and intend to share some of my favorite recipes from it soon, you don’t really need the book to create your own Blue Zones inspired meals. By keeping some basic staples on hand, you too can enjoy this healthy aspect of the lifestyle.

Check out these easy Blue Zones meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas title meme

What is a Blue Zones Lifestyle?

I recently came across the books and studies by Dan Buettner. Working for National Geographic, with a grant from National Institute on Aging, Dan identified and studied the longest lived people on Earth.

These people lived in regions in the world that Dan dubbed the “blue zones”…so named because he circled those areas on the map with a blue marker. And what he discovered were commonalities among those who frequently lived at least a decade longer than other people. Check out the website HERE.

These long lived people make moving naturally an important part of their lives, destress regularly, eat a plant based diet, create supportive social circles and know what their purpose is and live it each day.

The long term benefits of living a Blue Zones lifestyle include:

  • living a longer, healthier life
  • more energy, improved strength and increased health
  • better sleep
  • weight loss and then weight maintenance
  • nurturing supportive relationships
  • discovering purpose
  • creating a better local community
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas travel
It’s easy to eat the Blue Zones way while traveling. Beans and brown rice with sourdough bread.

Easy Blue Zone Meal Ideas

It’s so easy to eat the Blue Zones way. Let these ideas be a springboard for creating your own simple, nutritious meals.

The meals include these staples every day:

  • 1 – 3 servings of 100% whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice
  • 1 cup of legumes such as chickpeas, black beans, red beans, pinto beans, lentils and black eyes peas
  • 2 handfuls of nuts such as walnuts, almonds or cashews
  • 5 -10 servings of fruits and veggies

Avoid sweet drinks and treats, overly salty foods and processed foods.

Breakfasts

Breakfast is the largest meal of the day…and the easiest. I alternate between oatmeal with berries, walnuts and chia seeds or beans and rice plus a fruit smoothie most mornings as well.

Some easy ideas:

  • 1/2 cup of brown rice with 1/2 cup of any type of beans, canned or cooked at home
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice with 1/2 cup of cooked lentils
  • 1 cup of oatmeal (gluten free if you are sensitive to it) with strawberries, blueberries, walnuts and chia seeds
  • 1 cup of oatmeal with sliced bananas and a tablespoon of no sugar added organic peanut butter
  • 1 cup of oatmeal with diced cooked apples and walnuts and a drizzle of pure maple syrup
  • blended fruit smoothie with frozen berries, 2 fresh bananas, chia seeds and 1 cup or more of filtered ice water to create desired consistency
  • chia pudding made with coconut milk, walnuts and mixed fresh berries

You can combine brown rice with any legume for breakfast. It is so filling. And combine cooked oats with any type of fruit and/or nuts for a hearty meal.

Easy Blue Zone Meal Ideas beans and rice
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – black beans and rice for breakfast
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas oats
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – oatmeal with berries

Lunches

Lunch is the next biggest meal of the day. This is the time to bring in veggies and lots of them. You can also add another half cup of beans and a grain such as quinoa or brown rice noodles.

Here are some of my favorite Blue Zones inspired lunches:

  • chopped veggie salad topped with chickpeas
  • veggie bowl with quinoa, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and squash…any veggie
  • plain baked potato with mixed veggies, brown rice or beans
  • when it’s an oatmeal for breakfast day, a bowl of brown rice and beans with sliced avocado
  • vegetable soup
  • three…or five…bean chili served over quinoa or brown rice
  • curried chickpeas with brown rice or noodles

Use fresh or dried herbs and spices to flavor beans, rice, veggie bowls and soups.

I love preparing this simple chickpea recipe. Heat a couple of tablespoons of high quality extra virgin olive oil in a sauce pan. Add two cups of cooked chickpeas…or one can of chickpeas, drained, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Cook and stir over medium high heat until chickpeas are warmed through and fragrant. Add chickpeas to brown rice, veggie bowls or salads.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas salad
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – chopped salad with cherry tomatoes and turmeric/paprika chickpeas
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas soup
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – veggie soup with lentils and herbs

Dinners

This meal is the lightest, unless for some reason I had a light lunch. Focus on veggies, fruits, brown rice pastas and quinoa. If I haven’t gotten my cup of beans in, I’ll add beans to the evening meal.

Easy dinner ideas:

  • stir fried veggies with quinoa or brown rice
  • fruit salad
  • chopped veggie salad
  • curried noodles with stir fried veggies
  • roasted veggie plate with sweet potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts
  • brown rice pasta with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and basil
  • brown rice salad with chopped fresh veggies and black olives
  • vegetable soup
  • fresh fruit and veggie plate with sliced avocado
  • sweet potato and black bean stew

Although I keep dinner light, I also use it as a catch up time, to make sure I’ve had all my beans, grains and veggies.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas pasta
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – brown rice pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil for dinner
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas noodle dinner
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas –  raw chopped veggies and cold rice salad with cooked broccoli and cauliflower

Snacks

I practice afternoon tea. It’s an important break in the day for me. I typically have herbal tea such as peppermint or green tea with a bowl of berries or sliced apples or pears with walnuts or cashews.

If you need a snack during the day, try fruit, cut up veggies, a handful of nuts or a small piece of dark chocolate.

I drink water all day and I sometimes include a cup of hot tea in the mornings or evenings. If I’m hungry after dinner, I’ll have another handful of nuts or a piece of fruit.

During the summer months I snack on sliced watermelon and seasonal fruits such as cherries and peaches.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas tea
The perfect afternoon treat…herbal tea and a bowl of fresh fruit.
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas watermelon
Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas – watermelon as a snack or a meal

Tips to Make Blue Zones Meals Easy to Prepare

I keep canned and dry beans on hand always, for quick meal prep. Also I cook up batches of brown rice in the instant pot, twice a week, so that I have it ready for breakfasts and quick meals. Containers hold quinoa and dried lentils which only takes a few minutes to cook.

Stock up on staples such as diced tomatoes, brown rice pasta and noodles and frozen and fresh veggies and fruits. As suggested in the Blue Zones Challenge Book, keep a large bowl full of fruit out on the kitchen island or counter, for snacks. Have an assortment of dried herbs and spices in the cabinet for seasoning food.

I buy walnuts and cashews in bulk along with large containers of gluten free oats.

I love knowing I can walk into the kitchen and prepare a healthy meal in minutes. Plus that awareness and well stocked kitchen prevents the “I don’t know what to cook, guess we will grab fast food” dilemma.

Does this post give you ideas for easy ways to prepare Blue Zones inspired meals? I hope so! Now is the perfect time to try these simple meals. Plus the health benefits are amazing.

If you have any questions, ask them in the comments.

Easy Blue Zones Meal Ideas simple meal

Interested in the Blue Zones Four Week Challenge? Check out these posts:

Blue Zones Challenge Week One

Blue Zones Challenge Week Two

Week Three Blue Zones Challenge

Blue Zones Challenge Week Four


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.