Vegetarian Lentil Paella

Vegetarian Lentil Paella

If on a Sunday in early Autumn, you have a craving for fresh tomatoes in a warm, cooked dish rather than a  salad, may I suggest Vegetarian Lentil Paella. I don't want to be disloyal to my favourite ratatoulle but if pressed to choose, I think I'd use my last two tomatoes in this recipe:

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Vegetarian Lentil Paella
adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Vegetarian Recipes (Cooking for Today)

1 medium red or orange sweet pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow sweet pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)
1 medium white onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 medium red onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup lentils {addendum - I used split red lentils}
1-3/4 cups vegetable broth
1/8 teaspoon powdered saffron or 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped (1 cup)
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) peas
1/3 cup pimiento-stuffed olives
1/3 cup pitted ripe olives
1/4 cup snipped cilantro or parsley

In a Dutch oven cook the peppers, celery, onions, and garlic in hot oil till the onion is tender but not brown. Rinse lentils. Add lentils, vegetable broth, and saffron or tumeric to the pepper mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or till lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in tomatoes, peas, stuffed olives, ripe olives, and cilantro or parsley. Heat through. Season to taste before serving. Makes 4 servings.

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Food guide comparision:

Vegetarian Lentil Paella

A generous ladle-full (about 375 mL or 1-1/2 cups) of the paella served over a small scoop (about 175 mL or 3/4 cup) of brown basmati rice provides 2 servings of Vegetables, 1-1/2 servings of Grains, and 1 serving of Legumes, Nuts and Other Protein-Rich Foods.

Without consulting a computer program or food composition tables, I can tell you this vegetarian paella is an excellent source of protein, fibre, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, and the anti-oxidant, lycopene. I'm following Martha Rose Shulman's example and not listing a more detailed nutritional analysis. (Thank you, Kathryn, for pointing out this thoughtful, provocative article -- required reading for anyone at risk of "nutritionism".)  Marion Nestle's comment, in the same article, applies here:


The basis of healthful diets is variety, relatively unprocessed foods, and not eating too much. Variety and processing matter because 'real' (relatively unprocessed) foods contain large numbers of required nutrients but in different amounts and proportions. If you vary food intake, you don't have to worry about individual nutrients because the foods complement each other.

(If you are on special diet for a medical condition, please email me and I will provide you with the nutrient analysis so you can determine if this recipe is appropriate for you.)

Vegetarian Lentil Paella