Leftovers Cuisine: Second-Day Beef Stew with Quinoa and Beans

IMGP2033 What’s your leftovers attitude?

Mine is: leftovers are terrific opportunities to create a new, different, interesting, exciting dishes! Really. (Or, at the very least, no cooking the next night.)

For example, early this week, we returned from a week-long vacation in Jamaica (Sun! Sea! Sand! Piña Coladas!), and the spouse decided to make beef stew our first night home. It was basic: beef, potatoes, carrots, onions. After one dinner, we had about 1½ cups left—a slightly thick broth, dotted with a few pieces of beef, etc.

To be honest, it did look uninspiring, BUT…

Those Jamaican chefs had inspired me. They had raised leftovers + vegetables + mix-and-match beans to an art form. One night we had turkey as the main meat, the next day at lunch we had a tasty turkey stew with vegetables and two types of beans. Surely, I reasoned, this type of creation was in my cuisine skill set.

Their cooking also had a second appeal for me because it fit the flexible use-what-you-have-in-the-kitchen approach. My recipe uses tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, chickpeas, lentils, and quinoa. Why? Yup, you guessed it.

The result was delicious and filling, plus the spouse liked it! And he doesn’t always go for my mixtures—unfortunately, his mother cooked basic (meat, potato, veg) and served basic (no mixing) and this has had a lingering effect.

If you try this recipe, please use it as a template rather than a fixed-in-stone culinary creation. Feel free to change ingredients, vary quantities, and use your favourite spices. Continue reading

Turkish Carrot and Lentil Stew


Yep, carrots again. But this time, instead of making them sweet and spicy, I adapted a coriander-spiced dish from NPR’s show, The Splendid Table.

I was attracted to this recipe because it

  • sounded like a tummy-warming, tasty, vegetarian winter stew.
  • required a lot of carrots and I’d bought a lot on sale.
  • included bean protein, which is always a good and nutritious thing.
  • would use up the tomato paste languishing in my fridge.
  • needed fresh herbs which I actually had on hand (almost never happens!).
  • would help fill up my teenaged grandchildren who were coming to dinner. (The dinner was cancelled after this dish was made, and we’ve been eating it ever since…but that’s another story.)

So I re-fashioned the recipe: eliminated the oil, used more carrots and, generally, simplified where possible. The result was delicious, had delightful grace notes of parsley, and was every bit as warm and filling as I had hoped.

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Minty Lentil and Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese

Back in June, 2011, I wrote a post that included the travails of cooking (includes photo) aboard our 30-year old, 32-foot cabin cruiser, the Outrageous, which we use as a moving cottage on the lakes around Ottawa and as a means of travel to the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands.

At the time, I likened the galley to a shower stall, and guess what? Nothing has changed its size between now and then. Thus another summer finds me once again seeking out ways to maintain my healthy, gluten-free, and low-cal diet while on the water. Basically, I need a variety of dishes that I can make in advance and that are easily portable.

Hence a Weight Watcher recipe for “Lentil Salad with Fresh Mint and Goat Cheese” caught my eye. It had no flour, I love mint, and legumes are my friends. Most importantly, it fit my seafaring criteria. The problem? After I made it, I found its flavour too dense—it had…well, too many lentils in one bite.

I began to mix it with other dishes: a lettuce salad, a chicken salad. All were good, but nothing I’d write home about. Then I decided to add cooked quinoa and hit the jackpot, taste-wise and nutritionally speaking. A cup of this salad is a power-house of filling protein and a great mix of tastes, both fresh (mint) and salty (cheese), and interesting textures, both crunchy and soft.

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Tomato Split-Pea Lentil Soup with Carrot and Cumin

This tomato-y soup is a blend of delightful flavours and textures.  It is slightly…

  • spicy from the cumin.
  • sweet from the carrot.
  • smooth from the tomatoes.
  • crunchy from the onion and lentils.

It’s also rich, filling (great for winter’s cold days), and very easy to make: only five main ingredients and a minimum of chopping.


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Lemon Lentils with Spinach

I love the taste and dense richness of legumes and that doesn’t even count all the healthy nutrients they contain.  So when this recipe appeared in our local paper, courtesy of a restaurant chef in Calgary, I had to try it—with alterations, of course.  In addition to not using oil for sautéing, I increased the fresh spinach.  Why use only one cup when you can use four and reduce the calorie count per serving at the same time?  It’s a no-brainer for a food refashionista. 

According to the recipe, this dish will serve 6-8 as an accompaniment to lamb or chicken, but I used it as a main dish for lunch as it is filling and satisfying and got four 1-cup servings. 

This recipe also came with some restaurant touches (generated by a cook with lots of time and a larder full of ingredients) such as julienned onion and spices that begin as seeds and are toasted and then ground.  I’ve indicated this in the recipe below, but you can always just chop the onions and, if you’re like me and don’t have seeds only ground spices, you can use those.  This is not to say that looks aren’t important or that toasting the cumin and coriander seeds might not add an additional layer of subtlety and make this dish even more delicious—just that you can improvise with what you have.

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Makes 4 1-cup servings


  • 2 tbsp. chicken broth powder + ½ cup water or ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, julienned (to do this just cut the onion into strips)
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 4 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp. toasted and ground coriander seed (or just ground coriander)
  • 1 tbsp. toasted and ground cumin seed (or just ground cumin)
  • 1 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1½ cups red or yellow lentils, picked over and rinsed 
  • 1 lemon, skin washed
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • Goat yogurt as a garnish


  1. Heat chicken broth powder + water mixture or chicken broth over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and stir until onions are tender.
  3. Add spices: cumin, coriander, chili powder, and cinnamon stick.
  4. Stir for 3-5 minutes, or until fragrant (if the pan gets dry, add a little water).
  5. Add broth and lentils.
  6. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into the pot.  Then add rest of lemon as well.
  7. Stirring often to prevent sticking, bring pot to simmer over medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes until lentils are cooked.  (Add more broth if lentils are getting dry but not yet cooked.)
  8. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon halves.
  9. Stir in cilantro, garam masala, and spinach.
  10. Cook until spinach is wilted.
  11. Top each serving with a dollop of yogurt.

For Weight Watchers: A 1-cup serving is 3 points on both the Points and PointsPlus plans.

 (Adapted from a recipe by Chef Andy Bujak, Boxwood Cafe, Calgary.)

Lentil-Sesame Bread

Lentils baked into bread?  And spiced with curry?  This bread is an unexpected pleasure: slighly sweet and slightly spicy.  

It’s also chockful of protein and healthy ingredients, including lentils, applesauce, sesame seeds, and quinoa flour.

A particular benefit of this bread for dieters is that it is very filling. I’m one of those people who’s hungry in the morning, and my usual breakfast, fruit and yogurt, only carries me to 11:00 or 11:30 a.m.  When I add a slice of this bread, I can easily go until 1:00 p.m. before getting hungry. 

Diet Update: As I continue to make this bread, I keep finding myself having only 2½ cups of cooked lentils from even 1 cup of dried lentils.  Recently, I also decided to use a liquid egg substitute in place of the eggs.  These two changes don’t make a taste difference, but they do slightly affect the Weight Watcher point-value of this bread (see below).


Note: The bread in the photos is made with yellow lentils.

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 8 slices


  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
  • ½ cup artificial sugar
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • 3 eggs or ¾ cup liquid egg substitute
  • 6 tbsp. applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 tbsp. oil 
  • 2½ – 3 cups cooked lentils, drained and rinsed (if not using canned lentils, start with 1 cup dry lentils and prepare as necessary)
  • Cooking spray


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together all dry ingredients: rice flour, quinoa flour, sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda, curry powder, xanthum gum, and salt.
  2. In a larger bowl, beat eggs until mixed or pour in liquid egg substitute.
  3. Add applesauce, oil, and lentils and mix until well-blended.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix well.  Batter will be thick.
  5. Spray 9″x 5″ bread pan with cooking spray.
  6. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.
  7. Bake in 350º oven for 1 hour or until knife comes out clean.
  8. Slice while still warm.

For Weight Watchers:

  • With regular eggs and 3 cups of lentils: 5.5 points per slice on the Points plan and 6 points per slice on the PointsPlus plan.
  • With liquid egg substitute and 2½ cups lentils: 5 points per slice on the Points plan and 5.5 points per slice on the PointsPlus plan.

Nutritional information per 1 slice of 8 with regular eggs and 3 cups of lentils:

  • Calories 264 (65 from fat)
  • Fat 7 g
  • Carbohydrate 39 g
  • Fiber 8 g
  • Protein 12 g
  • Sodium 342 mg
  • Cholesterol 79 mg

This food is a good source of dietary fiber, protein, folate and manganese.

(Adapted from “Lentil Sesame Bread” in The Gluten-Free Gourmet: Living Well Without Flour by Bette Hagman)

Lentil Lover’s Soup

 A hearty and filling peasant soup chock full of lentils, tomato, and spinach that is fast and easy to make.  The original recipe also called for 2 Thai, cayenne, or serranco chiles—that’s too hot for me, but might be perfect for you.

 A great accompaniment to this soup is either Yummy, Tummy-Friendly, Sugar-Free Cornbread or Sweet Quinoa Cornbread

 Printer-friendly recipe


Full of lentils, tomatoes, and spinach.

Full of lentils, tomatoes, and spinach



  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  •  1 tbsp. minced garlic
  •  2 cups of cooked lentils
  • 4-6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups of diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 2 (8-10 oz.) bags of spinach, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • Salt



  1. In large pot, mix onion, garlic and lentils with 4 cups of chicken broth.
  2. Heat to boiling and then simmer.
  3. Add tomatoes (and chillies, if desired).
  4. Cover pot and simmer until flavours are blended, about 15 minutes.
  5. If soup is thick, stir in 1-2 cups of broth.
  6. Stir in spinach and simmer until wilted.
  7. If necessary, add more chicken broth if the soup is still too thick for you.
  8. Salt to taste.

For Weight Watchers: Only the lentils have a point-value—a total of 8 points for the entire pot of soupon both the Points and PointsPlus plans.  I ended up with 12 cups of soup so a 1-cup serving would be .5 points.


(Adapted from “Lentil-Spinach Soup” in Best of Weight Watchers Magazine.)


So Very Vegetable Soup

The Diet Equation: vegetables + vegetables + vegetables 

 The Solution: soup + soup + soup


So Very Vegetable Soup with Grated Sheep Romano

So Very Vegetable Soup with Grated Sheep Romano

So Very Vegetable Soup was my first soup creation and, after some tweaking, I pronounced it good—tasty, satisfying, and filled with different textures because some ingredients are crunchy while others are softer.  Then it turned out to be extra-good when I added a dollop of goat cheese or a sprinkling of sheep romano cheese to a serving. 

This soup is easy to make (except for lots of chopping), is foolproof (except if overcooked), and has so much fiber, you don’t have to worry about the carbs.  You can eat all you want with no weighing or measuring.  Or you can enrich the soup by adding potatoes, peas or legumes. A can of lentils, in particular, really enhance the taste.  But remember: additions like this will bring you back into the world of diet calculations.

So Very Vegetable Soup + Lentils

So Very Vegetable Soup + Lentils

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Caveat culinaria/us: The vegetable quantities below are rough estimates because I take an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach and just put in what I have.  You can add more of one vegetable and less of another, but you should aim for balance.  For example, too many carrots could make the soup too carroty and too sweet.

Basic Ingredients

  •  3-5 cups of chicken stock, broth, or bouillon to barely cover the vegetables.  The amount really depends on how many vegetables you’ve added.
  • 1-2 onion(s), chopped.  Any type will do.
  • Garlic to taste.  I add 2 tbsp. of chopped garlic.
  • 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ – ½ head of cabbage, chopped to bite-size pieces
  • 1-2 tsp. of a spice that appeals to you.  I find that parsley, thyme or basil works nicely.
  • Salt to taste. 

Other Vegetables You Can Add

  • 2-4 celery stalks, sliced.  You can leave on the leaves as well.
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced 
  • 2-4 green zucchini, sliced
  • 2-4 yellow zucchini, sliced (Add halfway through cooking so this vegetable survives.)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup turnip or rutabaga, diced
  • 1 cup daikon or lo bok, diced
  • 1-2 cups bok choy, chopped

Problematic Vegetables

  • Beets may overpower the taste of other vegetables, not to mention the colour of the soup.
  • Mushrooms give off a liquid when cooking that could alter the balance of the soup.  I suggest mild mushrooms such as enoki.
  • Spinach, because of its consistency, would have to be cooked separately, chopped, and added at the end.


  1. Chop vegetables beforehand.
  2. Turn heat under a large pot to high.
  3. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth.
  4. Add garlic, onions, and all other vegetables.
  5. Add canned tomatoes and mix well.
  6. Add more chicken broth until vegetables are barely covered.  You want the soup to be chock-full of vegetables.
  7. Add spice(s).
  8. Bring soup to boil, then turn down heat until it is simmering.
  9. Taste to see if you need to add salt.  Start with 1 tbsp. and then taste, and so on.  My salt philosophy is to cook with it sparingly and let people add their own after being served.
  10. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

For Weight Watchers: 0 points on both the Points and PointsPlus plan.  If you’re dieting under the Points plan, you don’t have to worry about carrots or parsnip unless you plan to eat all the soup in one sitting!  The  quantity of soup will be so great that any individual bowl serving won’t have enough of either to count.