Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes – $5 Dinner Challenge

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After hearing Jo-Lynne talk all the time about her love for Ina and reading somewhere that most of the Barefoot Contessa recipes are whole foods, I knew it was about time I tried an Ina Garten creation.

I’d snagged a copy of Barefoot Contessa at Home from Paperbackswap (after being on the wait list for about three years!) a few months ago. But with the hubbub of moving, I had yet to try a recipe.

I like lentils but I have had issues knowing how to prepare them. The one time I tried to make them like I had them in Brazil, my final product really fell flat.

These stewed lentils, though, did not disappoint. Aromatic, deeply flavored, and singing with thyme, I could eat them every week! We ate them as a side with a little bit of leftover London Broil, but they would be a fine main meal as well.

Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes

Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 c. large-dice yellow onions (.40)
  • 2 c. large-dice carrots (.44)
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 28 oz. diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted with garlic, and omitted garlic above) (.40)
  • 1 c. green lentils (.39)
  • 2 c. homemade chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. mild curry powder
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (.24)
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 T white or red wine vinegar


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and carrots and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the onions start to brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic (if using) and cook for 1 more minute.

Rinse and pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones in the package.

Add tomatoes, lentils, chicken broth, curry powder, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pan. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for 40-50 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 more minutes. Stir in vinegar and season to taste.


slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

Total Cost: $1.87 + trace amounts for items I always have on hand
Leftover London Broil: $2.67 (about 1/3 of the beef I bought)
Grand Total: $4.54 for a whole lot of deliciousness, and plenty of leftover lentils for lunches!

As a bonus, Libbie LOVED them! For a girl who only a week ago would eat just bread, cheese, bananas, and applesauce, that’s definitely saying something!

Linked up to the $5 Dinner Challenge, Ingredient Spotlight: Tomatoes, and Tasty Tuesday.

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