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Garam Masala Red Lentil Stew {vegan, gluten-free}

I’m unsure of the proper nutrition protocol prior to running, and scrambling over obstacles, in a muddy cow pasture. Heavy on the carbs? A focus on protein? Antioxidants to ward off the scent of dung?

Keeping in line with the rest of my lack of preparedness for my first official mud run, I chose to wing it by whipping up a quick and easy vegetarian stew with what I had on hand: an Indian-spiced red lentil stew.

I think I may be on to something because I had a great run and tons of fun.

Mud Run Collage

Lentils are one of my favorite power foods in general, and you don’t need to wait for a mud run to add this recipe, or any lentil recipe to your diet. They provide an all-in-one combination of carbohydrates and protein, which is ideal for exercise endurance in general. I ate lentils regularly after having my son, too; they gave me great energy when I was running low on sleep, plus they are a great source of iron while breastfeeding.

So , to summarize: lentils are an ideal food for running through cow-scented pastures–including scaling hay bale pyramids, sloshing through mud pits, shimmying through drainage tunnels–and breastfeeding. Oy. You just can’t find this sort of information on every food blog. De nada.

Perhaps I should add that this is a delicious, frugal, fast (red lentils cook in half the time as regular lentils), and filling dish regardless of your ventures in mud and childbearing. If you need endurance, you need lentils. This fragrant stew makes a lot, too, and the leftovers only get better and better.

Now pardon me, but some seriously malodorous laundry awaits!

curried lentil stew 2

curried lentil stew 3

Yield: 8

Garam Masala Red Lentil Stew

Garam Masala Red Lentil Stew
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 28-oz canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • Grated zest and juice from 2 medium limes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Optional: additional chopped cilantro and lime wedges for serving


  1. Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and celery; increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, for 6 to 7 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add the garlic, garam masala, cumin, and salt; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.
  2. Add the water, tomatoes with their juices, and lentils to the pan. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until lentils are softened. Stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro.
  3. Serve with additional cilantro and lime wedges, if desired.


Store: Store the cooled soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Did you make this recipe?

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Gaby Ampudia via Facebook

Wednesday 1st of May 2013

I'll join you...

Stephanie Barnett Rodriguez via Facebook

Sunday 21st of April 2013

Me too!!!!

Brooke Tupa via Facebook

Sunday 21st of April 2013

Oooo that looks so good! I'm gonna make this bad boy.

Stephanie Barnett Rodriguez via Facebook

Sunday 21st of April 2013

Brooke Tupa This sounds like something you would love.

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