French Lentil & Wheat Berry Stew

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..With 100+ degrees outside, it sounds crazy but the mere thought of coming home to a big pot of hearty lentil stew simmering with chewy wheat berries and freshly roasted spices immensely comforts me even though I should really be sipping more of cherry chia smoothies to beat this scorching weather. 
 

After a long Monday, no one should really have to stand by the stove stirring or turning on the oven. I made a very forgiving stew that demands some chopped vegetables and freshly roasted spices to heighten up the flavor more and a few hours of your patience. I chopped and dumped everything in my slow cooker before leaving for work but I am sure it will come together beautifully on the stove top as well. 

 

Wheat berries are true whole grains, thick and very similar to brown rice with their whole kernels still intact. Since they are unprocessed, they retain all of the grain's vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Great source of fiber & protein! 

 
I used French lentils in this stew because they are structurally sturdier and holds their shape better compared to red lentils even though there is not many nutritional differences between them. Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and iron. 
 
 
French Lentil  & Wheat Berry Stew makes 4-5 servings

Ingredients 1/2 cup French lentil, soaked and rinsed (may substitute red lentils) 1/2 cup wheat berry, soaked and rinsed 1 large onion, diced 3 celery stalk, chopped 1 large carrot, chopped 5 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 inch ginger, minced 4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium 1 tablespoon sambal olek (use less if desired) 1 teaspoon mustard seed 1 teaspoon cumin seed 1 teaspoon coriander seed 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 teaspoon cumin powder black salt as needed (may substitute regular salt)

Directions -Rinse and soak lentils and wheat berries overnight or at least few hours. -In a small pan over high heat, toast whole spices (mustard, cumin, coriander) all they begin to pop. Remove from heat. - Add all the ingredients in the slow cooker, stirring couple times and leave it on high for 6-8 hours. Notes:  -I have personally not made this stew on a stove top but however, wheat berries in general takes anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour and lentils take about 20 minutes. So overall the stew should come together in a hour or until all the vegetables are tender and lentil and berries are cooked fully.  -This recipe freezes and reheats really well to be used at a later time. Make sure you store in a freezer safe container, covered.  Happy Monday!