Updated: Sep 11, 2019
The weather here in Cologne is definitely showing that summer is coming to an end and we are jumping right into Autumn. Like most people, my taste for food tends to be linked to the weather. In the summertime I like to enjoy a nice fresh salad, autumn I tend to go for some stews or soups to keep me warm, and in the winter anything that is drowned in gravy with some hearty potatoes is my type of dish.
This weekend, my husband and I finally had a weekend without any planned activities and decided to go for a nice hike in our nearby forest. We do this 12km route with our dog, Sherlock, who is an energetic, 30kg weighing, pain in my butt, love of my life pup.
My husband loves these walks, he can go on for hours, and the more challenging the hike the better. Me on the other hand, have well, adapted. I used to be a city living girl who would spend her weekends with friends in cafes or going to cute little restaurants whenever I pleased. Nowadays, I live in a small village on the outskirts of the big city, with my new husband and our big dog. I must be honest; I love these hikes, I truly do. I try to even plan our weekends on having hikes like these, but I do need a halfway spot that has clean toilets and a proper kitchen. If this is offered, then I am good.
We reached our halfway spot which is this cute little restaurant/hotel in the middle of the forest, and as we sat down it started to pour on us. We tried to wait the rain out, but finally decided to just go for it and continue our route. We were slightly cold and wet when we arrived at the car and were completely exhausted.
When we got home, all we wanted to do was go on the couch and turn on some Netflix and relax. We were still hungry when we got home, so I decided to make this quick stew. It is super simply and perfect for keeping in your fridge for a couple of days. I actually think it tastes better the longer it simmers over the stove as it really allows all of the veggies to willow down and the spices to really pop out, but you can also eat it the same evening you make it.
My husband who does not like soup or stews liked this very much, and trust me, he is an honest food critic. I absolutely loved it and will be eating every last bite the rest of the week. Stews are so simple; you can literally throw in any veggie you have left in your fridge. The ones I chose are those which I thought went well with this type of stew, but feel free to get as creative as you like.
Vegan Hearty Lentil Tomato Stew
3 tbsp olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery sticks, diced
3 small yellow onions, diced
70g tomato paste
400-450g canned lentil
285g canned corn
3 x 400g canned tomatoes (I used whole, but you can also used diced)
½ large leek , chopped
300g , frozen spinach
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot add your olive oil. Once hot, add your diced carrots, onioin and celery and allow to simmer until onion is golden brown. Add the tomato paste, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, and continue to simmer for another 3 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes. (I filled an empty can of the tomatoes with water to add more liquid to my stew) Add the rest of your veggies and turn down the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for at least a half hour. Check to see if your veggies are tender and add any more of your spices based on taste. Depending on how much time you have you can reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for at least another hour until your veggies are wilted. Take off the heat and cover with a lid until cool.