Slow Cooker Lentil Cauliflower Stew

A few weeks ago, my friend Catherine McCord sent me a copy of her new cookbook, Weelicious. I met Catherine at the BlogHer Conference in Seattle this past summer. I immediately knew she was destined for great things. She is passionate about her blog, and she’s really dedicated herself to creating healthy food options for busy families on the go. Catherine’s site Weelicious is super successful, and I’m sure her new cookbook will be, too. It’s full of quick, healthy, kid-friendly recipes and cooking tips. It’s not a kosher cookbook, but it does have lots of options for those who keep kosher. Busy families will love this book, it’s full of fun and easy ideas to nourish your family.

When the weather begins cooling down and the skies are overcast, there’s nothing quite like a slow cooker meal to warm the tummy and comfort the spirit. I adapted the following recipe from Catherine’s “Slow-Cooker Lentil Veggie Stew” in the Weelicious cookbook. The original recipe is a great base to work from. I decided to spice it up a bit– which little kid mouths might not appreciate, but in our family everything gets the spicy treatment! I added cumin, black pepper, and cayenne to the mix. I also threw in some cauliflower to add some texture and bulk to the soup, while keeping things low cal. Catherine suggests topping the stew with plain yogurt, herbed goat cheese, feta, crème fraîche, or grated Parmesan. We stirred in some Greek yogurt and lowfat sour cream because it’s what we had on hand. Both were terrific, they added a nice creamy touch to the broth. Obviously you can leave the dairy products out to keep the stew vegan or pareve. I also threw in a few seasoned breadcrumbs, they sopped up the soup and tasted awesome. On its own, the stew is simple, natural comfort food– gluten free, low fat, low calorie, and vegan. Good for the body, good for the soul. What could be better?

I have two Weelicious cookbooks to give away this week! Enter to win your own copy by leaving a comment below, along with a valid email address, letting me know the answer to this question:

What was your favorite meal when you were a kid? 

All entrants will be subscribed to the Shiksa in the Kitchen weekly newsletter (unless you are already subscribed). Two winners will be chosen at random and notified via email. Contest ends at 5:00pm PST on Friday, October 12, 2012.

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Slow Cooker Lentil Cauliflower Stew


  • 16 oz dried lentils
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups of onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lb. cauliflower, chopped into very small florets
  • 2 leeks, white and green parts only, halved, washed carefully, and chopped)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (very spicy-- add 1/4 tsp or less for a milder flavor)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 large can (32 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups chopped kale or Swiss chard

Optional Toppings

  • Plain yogurt, herbed goat cheese, feta, crème fraîche, grated Parmesan, Greek yogurt or lowfat sour cream
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 8 Hours 30 Minutes
Servings: 8-10
Kosher Key: Pareve (or Dairy with optional add-ins)
  • Sort the lentils, discarding any stones or impurities. Rinse the lentils in a wire mesh strainer.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion for about 4 minutes, till softened. Add the chopped garlic and saute for another minute.
  • Pour the softened onions and garlic into the slow cooker and add the remaining ingredients (minus toppings).
  • Cover the slow cooker and turn heat to high. Set timer to 6 hours on high, or 8 hours on low, until the lentils are tender.
  • Serve hot with your choice of toppings.
  • If you'd prefer not to use a slow cooker, you can cook the stew in a large pot over medium-low to low heat, covered, for about 90 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Comments (91)Post a Comment

  1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    My favorite meal was anything my mother made, really. She didn’t have a wide or fancy repertoire, but what she cooked was delicious. I guess I’ll nominate her stuffed cabbage because I’ve never had its equal: parboiled cabbage leaves stuffed with chopped beef with a little rice holding it together, simmered in a sweet and sour sauce that included raisins, crushed tomatoes, lemon juice, brown sugar, and crumbled ginger snap cookies which both thickened and flavored the sauce. Yum.

  2. My mom’s cheese enchiladas are the best! She still makes them for me when I go visit Texas. The smell of her red chile sauce when you walked in the door, hmmmmmmmmm! I’m going to call her right now! I miss my mami!

  3. Making a half order of this now. Went off the reservation a bit and substituting half the stock for red wine and adding beans. I’ll report back.

  4. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I love lentils and make it all the time. Will use this recipe next week, need the kale.

    My favorite food as a child was everything, and we were the meat and starch family. The one thing that was yummo was when my grandmother would come over with Ebingers Blackout cake or the apple pie with the strips on the top. Ebingers was located in Brooklyn and Queens in NYC. When the owner died the recipes went with them.

  5. Can’t wait to try this stew. My favorite comfort food as a kid was my mom’s traditional mac n cheese. I can still smell it cooking in the oven!

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I just made this for dinner! Absolutely delicious, but I’m wondering if 8 cups of broth is really necessary? I used 4 and that was enough…any more and it would’ve been very soup-y and less stew-y.

    1. Hi Meghan-Rose, the original recipe calls for 2 quarts (8 cups), which produces something between a soup and a stew– sort of like a very thick soup. After slow cooking it thickens nicely. Good to know that 4 cups works for a more stew-like consistency!

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Made this the other day while home from work due to Sandy’s visit! Came out delicious except my husband and I actually found it to be a drop too thick even with the 8 cups of broth. When re-heating it the next day I add about 2 cups more water and let it simmer on the fire for about 40 minutes and it was the perfect consistency. What a great, hearty soup!!

  8. Put this in the crock this morning as we are off to the museum for classes. I will use frozen cauliflower and spinach as that is what I have on hand. To do this I will not add them until the last hour or so of cooking so they do not over cook.

  9. Help…made this recipe and not a big fan. Found it a little bit bland. Also found out I was not a big fan of cooked celery and kale, is there a substitute? Thanks for getting me to try something new.

  10. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I am not normally a fan of vegetarian recipes and always feel the need to throw in some bacon or pancetta to add flavor. This recipe, however, was wonderful just as it was! With a little dollop of creme fraiche on top, it was just perfect! Thanks for the great recipe.

  11. Oh I forgot to say that for the Pressure cooker I used only 6 cups of broth since there would not be evaporation time and it worked out to a nice thick stew .

  12. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    This is the very first meal that I made in my new slow cooker and it was fantastic! I made very few substitutions (both stores we went to were out of leeks, and my boyfriend doesn’t trust food without meat in it so I added chicken) and it’s definitely going into my file of “recipes I will make all the time.” Thank you!

    1. Sorry to hear that meansoybean. Perhaps your slow cooker’s low setting doesn’t get as hot as others? Some have found it thick and actually needed to thin it a bit with extra liquid after cooking. It certainly shouldn’t be watery. You could simmer it on the stove to help the liquid reduce more, and add spices to taste if you feel it needs more flavor. Beyond that, you haven’t given many details, so I can’t really be of help. Better luck next time.

  13. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    The ingredients here were intriguing so I just had to try. I added a whole 10oz bag of organic, prewashed kale, so more than called for. I also used crushed tomatos and needed a few more so threw in a 14oz can of diced.

    My changes: MORE cayenne – not hot enough pour moi! I might also add some cumin to make it interesting. I think a whole head of garlic would be fun too. I left it for 6 hrs on high and might like it a little “soupier” but nonetheless it’s a great recipe!

    1. Hi Maureen, unfortunately I do not offer calorie counts on my recipes, but you can use one of the many calorie calculators online to determine nutritional information.

    2. I’m a bit late with an answer, but I didn’t make any changes to recipe and I came up with 308 calories per serving, total 8 servings

  14. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I made this today and it was a hit with husband and 2 kids (13 and 11.) Stirred in yogurt and added chopped cilantro when serving. Added side of buttered bread. So good! I used Real Salt and would probably cut back on it next time. It makes things saltier than standard table salt. Thanks for the wonderful and healthy recipe!

  15. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Flavorful and healthy meal. The only negative is that it takes way longer than 15 minutes to prepare. I don’t have a sous chef or food processor, so washing and chopping all 6 vegetables and rinsing the lentils takes time, but it was worth the 45 minutes for the end result!

  16. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe :) This family of two adults and three kids all love it! It’s a regular in our busy, active, veg household. I love, love how comforting a meal it is, and how incredibly fast and easy it is (and versatile). Thanks!

  17. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This is one of the best recipes that I’ve ever made! Perfect for a busy, broke graduate student :) Question though: I’ve easily got about 12 servings worth left over, so I was wondering if you’ve tried freezing and un-thawing this? How would you go about doing that, and is it good after? Thank you so so much for any help!

    Also, though I know this is super old and I won’t be in the contest, I’ll answer the question for fun: my mom’s flanken soup. Yummy!

    1. Hi Cara– sorry about that. My recipe software went through an update recently and what used to be four fields were reduced to two, making hours look like minutes. I’ve corrected the issue on this post. Have to go check others now!

  18. Thank you for this recipe! Was very excited to try and had it simmering on low for 9 hours last night. Unfortunately the lentils are still not tender – I’ve had this problem before and remembered that tomatoes may affect the beans’ ability to soften. Any advice? I turned it to high and am hoping they’ll soften eventually…

  19. I want to be sure the lentils will cook, so could you tell me what power is your slow cooker? My (UK) slow cooker is 105 W on low, 135 W on high.

  20. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I actually made this unlike many of the reviews here and I can honestly say it was delicious! My whole family loved it and it will go into our stack of great meal recipes to make again and again. Thanks

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