Red Lentil and Chickpea Slow Cooker Stew
The idea behind this Red Lentil and Chickpea Slow Cooker Stew came when I had purchased two bags of frozen chickpeas intending to make hummus. When I discovered that my 13 months old did not in fact enjoy hummus, I had a lot of chickpeas to work with. I didn’t mind having so many leftover to use, since they are so healthy. I was excited to see what else I could make! This is when I looked up slow cooker soups that use chickpeas.
I came across this recipe on Veggie Inspired that looked delicious and nutritious. I had shamefully never used red lentils before, so this was a good opportunity to do so. I will definitely make this again and unlike hummus, my Son loved this! I give full credit of this recipe to Veggie Inspired, although I did tweak it a bit. For the original recipe, please visit their official site.
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup dried red lentils
2 cups frozen chickpeas (or you can use canned- drain and rinse)
4 cups vegetable broth
28 oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup orzo
Fresh parsley, chopped
Sauté the onion and garlic in 2 tbsp veggie broth (and an optional 1 Tbsp Butter) in the slow cooker on high as it heats up.
Add everything except the orzo and parsley, into the slow cooker.
Cook on high 2-3 hours until the lentils are soft.
Add the orzo and cook on low another 30 minutes until the orzo is tender.
Add additional seasoning as needed.
Stir in the fresh parsley and serve.
I will say, how important it is to only add any salt AFTER the lentils are tender. Any salt added beforehand can make the lentils harden. Also, keep an eye on the orzo. Adding it with 30 minutes left of cooking is quite important. I had to put my Son to sleep at this point of cooking, and I came back much later than anticipated. The orzo had turned into string. While this still tasted great, it was not the orzo addition I had wanted- so keep an eye on it once the orzo cooks!
You CAN use macaroni or other small pasta for children to find it more appealing. My Son enjoyed the orzo but I may try it with macaroni next time.
I added red chili flakes and shredded cheese as a garnish and it tastes just like chili! It is AMAZING.
When you reheat any leftovers, it will need a touch of added liquid, like more broth since so much of it gets absorbed.
If you try the recipe, let me know! Be sure to tag @veggie_inspired and #veggieinspired, along with @athomewithjoanna if you do make it! I want to see what else you added to it to make it unique to your taste preferences!