I absolutely love international cooking and always find it amazing how a couple spices can make a dish take on a specific nationality. Baharat is a middle eastern spice blend that is in no way a fixed composition of spices, but rather a regional and personal preference. That’s why I decided to make my own blend with some of the typical spices that are most commonly used. I’m glad I did, because this recipe turned out to be one of my favorites that I will make the same way again and again.
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced (mine was 11 oz, 300 g)
- my baharat spice blend:
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1.6 lb (750 g) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- scant 1 lb (450 g) tomatoes, diced
- 6 Tbsp homemade veggie broth concentrate (or store-bought to taste)
- 4 1/4 cups (1 liter) water
- 1 1/2 cups (300 g) dry, mixed lentils (red, green, black), inspected for little rocks and washed
- Celtic sea salt to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp spearmint leaves, minced (optional)
- minced parsley galore
- 1 cup sugarless, plain vegan yogurt (homemade or store-bought)
- black sesame seeds
Wash and cut all your veggies, except herbs, and prepare the spice blend.
Preheat a large pot on medium heat. Add olive oil, then the diced onion, and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add spice blend and sauté for one more minute while stirring continuously. Now add sweet potatoes and garlic, and keep stirring for 1-2 more minutes.
Add tomatoes, veggie broth concentrate, and water. Turn up the heat, and bring everything to a boil. Add lentils, turn heat down again, and simmer for about 30 minutes until lentils and sweet potatoes are soft. Stir occasionally. Simmer longer, if needed.
Season to taste with Celtic sea salt, and add the bell pepper. Leave some for garnish, if you want. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Meanwhile mince your herbs, and add most of them at the end of the cooking time, after you turned off the heat. Stir one more time, then garnish with a nice dollop of vegan yogurt, remaining bell peppers and herbs, then sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
Serve with remaining vegan yogurt on the side.
- Enjoy this fragrant, flavorful stew just by itself, or serve with pita bread and maybe even some hummus.
- Don’t skip the step of sorting through your lentils! Most of the time there won’t be anything to find, but if a little rock made its way into the bag of lentils, it’s probably one of your teeth that finds out.