Sunday, March 18, 2012

Recipe for Vegan Picadillo Lentil Stew with Sweet Bell Peppers and Green Olives

Vegan Picadillo Lentil Stew with Peppers and Green Olives
A delicious lentil stew with sweet bell peppers, green olives, and a touch of spiciness.

I'm always looking for ideas featuring lentils so when I spotted  this Picadillo Lentil Stew in The South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook I loved the sound of a stew with lentils, sweet bell peppers, green olives, onion, garlic, chile powder and a hint of cocoa powder.  Then when we tried the recipe Jake and I kicked it up a little, adding oregano, some canned tomatoes, a bit of Green Tabasco Sauce and extra  green olives.  We ate this with a big dollop of Greek Yogurt and a generous shake of green Tobasco, and it made a satisfying meatless dish that we loved from the very first bite, but just skip the Greek yogurt for a vegan dish.

Of course you figured out this is my weekly Meatless Monday recipe suggestion, which I post on Sunday evening so it's ready for people who are looking for meatless ideas on Monday.  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.)

Combine lentils, minced garlic, salt, and 6 cups of hot water and cook until the lentils are softened.  (Cooking time can vary greatly depending on how fresh your lentils are, but mine were done in about 25 minutes.)

While lentils cook chop up an onion and enough sweet bell peppers to make 1 cup.  (I used Sweet Mini-Peppers for an assortment of colors, but red bell pepper would be fine.  We also chopped 1 cup of green olives which I forgot to take a photo of!)

Saute the onion until it's barely starting to brown; then add the bell peppers, chile powder, and oregano and saute a few minutes more.

Drain the lentils, saving the cooking water.  (There's a large measuring cup which barely shows under the colander.)

Then add the tomatoes and juice, tomato sauce, cocoa powder, Splenda or sugar, and chopped green olives and simmer about 10 minutes.

Add the lentils, 1 cup or more of the cooking water, and 1 T Green Tabasco Sauce and simmer 20-25 minutes more.  Serve hot, with a dollop of Greek yogurt and more green Tabasco if desired.

Picadillo Lentil Stew with Peppers and Green Olives
(Makes about 6 small servings; recipe adapted from The South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook.)

1 1/2 cups dried brown or green lentils, rinsed and picked over
4 tsp. minced garlic (4 large cloves)
3/4 tsp. salt
2-3 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup diced sweet bell pepper (I used Sweet Mini-Peppers for an assortment of colors, but any color will work.)
1 T ground chile power (I used ground Ancho Chile)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes with juice
2 tsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. sugar, Splenda, or Stevia In the Raw (Use Splenda or Stevia for South Beach Diet)
1 cup diced green olives
1 cup or more lentil cooking water
1 T Green Tabasco Sauce, plus more for serving if desired
plain Greek yogurt for serving (optional)

Pick over the lentils to remove any that look too dark or too light, rinse the lentils and put them in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add minced garlic, salt, and 6 cups hot water, and bring lentils to  a boil.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook uncovered until lentils are soft, about 20-25 minutes.  (If you have old lentils that have been in the pantry a while they make take significantly longer to cook, so try some to see when they're done.)  When lentils are soft, drain them into a colander placed over a bowl or large measuring cup to catch the liquid.

While lentils cook, chop the onion, bell pepper, and green olives.  Heat oil in a heavy dutch oven type pan that's large enough to hold all the stew.  Add the onions and saute over medium-heat heat until onions are just starting to brown.  Add the diced bell pepper, chile powder, and oregano, and saute 3-4 minutes more.

Add diced tomatoes and juice, tomato sauce, cocoa powder, sweetener of your choice, and diced green olives and simmer about 10 minutes.   Then add cooked lentils, 1 cup or more of lentil cooking water, and 1 T green Tabasco sauce and simmer 20-25 minutes more on low heat.

Serve hot, topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a generous dash of green Tabasco sauce if desired.

South Beach Suggestions: 
This flavorful dish is loaded with  low-glycemic ingredients, and it would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet

More Meatless Recipe Ideas with Lentils:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Curried Rice and Red Lentils from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen
Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew from Kalyn's Kitchen
Bengali Red Dal Curry from Jake from Kalyn's Kitchen
Spiced Vegetarian Lentil Soup from Jeanette's Healthy Living
Ethiopian Red Lentils from Herbivoracious
Lentil Vegetable Soup with Collards from Clean and Delicious with Dani Spies
Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie from Ezra Pound Cake
Spiced Lentils and Rice from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Lentil Vegetable Soup from Soup Chick  
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. I love lentils and I think I added mango when I made my lentil picadillo. Super delicious. :)

  2. Janet, I think mango would be great in this!

  3. I keep looking for lentil stew/soup ideas as well. We add raw mangoes to our lentil stews sometimes. Bell peppers and olives would be great.

  4. Haha Janet and I made the same mango picadillo, but this versions sounds quite delicious also! I love the hint of cocoa powder.

  5. Sangeeta, glad you like the sound of it!

    Joanne, I thought the touch of cocoa powder was great in this.

  6. We're both thinking along the picadillo line! I just made a shrimp picadillo, but I love this lentil version. The sweet-and-sour flavoring is irresistible.

  7. This looks like a recipe I will try. Can you tell my what a picadillo is?

  8. Picadillo is the name for a Latin dish that's kind of a stew or hash made up of very finely chopped ingredients. It often contains olives, which is why the name is used for this recipe.

  9. I love the brininess that olives add to a Spanish dish like this! I would love to throw in some mango or raisins too.

  10. Right in the middle of making this, I realized that I didn't have any tomato sauce or canned tomatoes (for some reason I thought I did) But I did have a small can of tomato paste. Added that to a small pot with about 1 cup of water and heated up for about 10 minutes and used that in place of both tomatoes called for in this dish. It came out absolutely wonderful!

  11. Just made this now! Yummy!!

  12. I pinned this months ago,and just got around to making it today. I was planning on having it for my lunches all next week, but it smelled so delicious that my husband wanted to taste some. Needless to say, it's half gone now!

  13. Trying to eat less processed & shed about 80 lbs. Loved this recipe. Im going to eat this all week. It made a lot. I didnt have cocoa powder. but it still tasted great. I topped it with avocado.

    Any idea how many calories might be in this recipe? Thanks for sharing

  14. Leah, glad you liked it. I don't count calories, but I recommend a site called Calorie Count if you want to enter the ingredients. There is a link under FAQ.

  15. This turned out fantastic. Thank you!


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