You gotta try this flavorful vegetarian, gluten free stew that is loaded with crispy crunchy veggies and has protein too! Recipe for the Creole seasoning mix included!
Our recent visit to New Orleans, is even more special now when we think of last week’s winter storm. It was a wind storm that knocked off power, phone and internet services to our home for 3 days. Aaargh….enough said 😦
So, once we were back home, I wanted to make the warm and comforting Creole Vegetarian Stew that we enjoyed at a restaurant in the French quarter of NOLA….of course it is my version of the stew 🙂
In New Orleans, we took in the sights, sounds and food that it is famous for. As we began planning our trip, I vividly remembered blog posts that I had enjoyed about NOLA, written by my friend Loretta on her blog, Safari of the Mind. Do check out her awesome posts!
The guided foot tours of the Garden District were very educational as we learned so much about the history and architecture of the area. Here are a few photos from the tour.
We also did a similar tour of the French Quarter. I was enthralled by the combination of French and Spanish styles of architecture and our tour guide gave us a good glimpse of what life was back then.
Visiting Laura Plantation moved me. Our guide was good in bringing alive the history as we saw the homes of the plantation owners and their slaves. It was an emotional experience, to say the least.
Back in New Orleans, we had booked a food tour that took us all across the French Quarter. The food tour started at the French Market where various shops sell Cajun and Creole food.
I am always fascinated by the history of various foods, are you? It tells us how and why recipes developed a certain way and why they are named so. An example is sandwiches called Po Boys. We saw Central Grocery, where the Muffuletta sandwiches are said to have originated. We got a glimpse thru a back window to see the beignets being rolled and fried at Café Du Mont, tasted the famous Jambalaya and pralines. The tour ended with a visit to Antoine’s, the oldest restaurant in the French quarter that is still operated today by the 5th generation. Their wine cellar is 165 feet long X 7 feet wide. I love to see beautiful table settings and was happy to see multiple rooms being set beautifully for Valentine’s day and their showcases of fine china that has been used for over 175 years! We bloggers instantly think what gorgeous props they would make, don’t we?
We could not just walk away after seeing those beignets through the back window, right? So we went back and had these yummy beignets at Cafe DuMont
One evening we were stuffed from eating all day long but still wanted to try one of the recommended restaurants in the French Quarter. So, we ordered the New Orleans style crab cakes topped with crawfish etoufee, the Vegetarian Creole Stew and the bread pudding with bourbon sauce.
The Vegetarian Creole Stew really stood out for us- it was light and flavorful and what made it remarkable for me was the crunchy vegetables. They were not mushy. So, I wanted to make that stew when I got home. Needless to say, my version is even lighter and healthier. And I added lotus root just for the extra crunch and taste. There is no roux, is gluten free and has added protein and turmeric!
Here is how easy it is-
Making the Creole Seasoning Mix-
So are you ready to cook now?
Creole Inspired Vegetable Stew
Creole Seasoning Mix-
- 2 ½ tablespoons Spanish paprika
- 1 ½ tablespoons red dry chili powder (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons salt
- ¾ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (I used the mild Mexican oregano)
- ½ tablespoon dried thyme
Mix all together and store in an airtight container.
For the Stew-
- ½ cup masoor dal (red lentils)
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (divided)
- 2 teaspoons butter (divided)
- ¾ cup finely diced onion
- 1 big garlic clove, peeled and minced
- ¾ cup lotus root, peeled and minced
- ½ cup minced celery
- ½ cup finely diced green pepper
- ¾ cup finely diced carrots
- 3 teaspoons Creole seasoning mix (divided). Recipe below
- 2 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups water, divided
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
To make the Creole Inspired Vegetable Stew-
- Wash and drain the masoor dal or red lentils. Add the 2 cups of water, turmeric and salt and heat on high until the water comes to a boil. Stir, reduce heat, cover partially and let it cook for about 10 ~12 minutes or until cooked.
- Meanwhile, in another saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon each of the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
- Add the diced onion and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the minced garlic and stir for another 30 seconds or just until the raw smell of the onion and garlic is gone. Add the diced lotus root, celery, carrots and the green pepper and stir fry for a minute.
- Add 2 teaspoons of the Creole seasoning mix and stir to coat the veggies for about 1 minute.Remove veggies from the saucepan and set aside.
- To the saucepan, add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and butter and add the tomato paste. Slow roast the tomato paste on low for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining teaspoon of the Creole seasoning mix and stir fry for another minute.
- Add ½ cup of the water, stir, cover the pan and let it cook for 5 to 7 minutes on low, stirring in between.
- While that is cooking, whisk the cooked dal until it is well blended and satiny smooth. You can do it with an immersion blender or a hand-held whisk, like I did.
- To the tomato paste mixture, add the Worcestershire sauce and the brown sugar. Stir, add the whisked dal and 1 cup of water. Let it simmer for 2 minutes or so.
- Add the sautéed veggies, stir, add the lime juice and check for salt and seasoning.
- If you like the stew a little thinner add another ½ cup of water.
- The taste of this stew deepens as it sits. So it can be made ahead of time and reheated.
With the snow this weekend, it is a perfect time to make this stew! I hope you like it as much as we did!