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West African Lentil Okra Stew

West African Lentil Okra Stew

Serves: 8

Category: Soups and Stews
Author: www.DrFuhrman.com

Average Rating: 
Rated by: 42 members

Rate it: 
(Give a recipe one to five stars. Click the appropriate star to submit your rating)

Greens, okra, beans and sweet potatoes play a prominent role in West African cuisine. This hearty and satisfying stew brings them together for a unique one-pot meal.

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2 cups red lentils
4 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup smooth natural no-salt peanut butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest ( or other no-salt seasoning blend, adjusted to taste)
4 cups carrot juice
2 cups chopped onion
16 ounces frozen okra, thawed and cut in half crosswise
16 ounces frozen chopped kale or collard greens
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon chili powder
pinch cayenne pepper


In large soup pot, simmer red lentils in water for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In mixing bowl, whisk tomato paste, peanut butter, VegiZest and carrot juice, then add to simmering lentils.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Uncover and cook another 20 minutes until lentils are tender and sweet potato is cooked through, adding water as needed to adjust consistency.

Calories 396; Protein 22 g; Carbohydrates 61 g; Sugars 13 g; Total Fat 9.6 g; Saturated Fat 1.9 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 133 mg; Fiber 21.3 g; Beta-Carotene 12834 ug; Vitamin C 52 mg; Calcium 221 mg; Iron 6.2 mg; Folate 363 ug; Magnesium 155 mg; Potassium 1476 mg; Zinc 3.7 mg; Selenium 7.5 ug

Comments (27):



07/26/2006 01:15 AM

Rated this recipe:

1) Delicious. The only problem I had was the lentils (I used yellow) stuck to the bottom of the pressure cooker because there wasn't enough water. That made the whole thing burn later. I'm going to make it a few more times and see what happens. (I added cinnamon and used fresh kale and onion and two sweet potatoes and the yellow lentils.)
2) I made this again. I use a little bit different technique than the recipe. I cook the onions with the lentils. I also used more kale (about 24 ounces) and more sweet potatoes (4). DELICOUS again! I didn't put the cinnamon in this time. I did put garlic in. I think I'll go back to cinnamon.
3) I made this again. Use 4 sweet potatoes, 2 bags of frozen okra and 3 bunches of fresh lacinato kale. Serve 4 hungry ETL'ers almost a pound of vegetables, a serving of nuts, a starchy vegetable and a serving of beans each. It is important to keep scraping the bottom of the pan after adding the vegetables so that it doesn't stick and burn.
This comment was last edited on 09/11/2006 01:04 AM


11/05/2006 12:30 PM

Rated this recipe:

Thick, rich, hearty, and delicious. This stew is quite a treat and has a much different flavor than most. I blended the sweet potato into the broth, which increased its thickness and flavor.


03/07/2007 04:51 PM

Rated this recipe:

This is easily one of my favorite ETL meals and a superb recipe. However, I think it's better with fresh okra instead of frozen. Delicious!


09/28/2007 03:19 PM

Rated this recipe:

Easy to make. It has that good-for-you, healthy, hearty B- type of taste. That means tastes good enough to eat; not good enough to desire.


01/03/2008 08:15 PM

Rated this recipe:

I made a few changes based on what was in my fridge/freezer. I used homemade (no salt) vegetable broth instead of the carrot juice. Kale and collards (no okra in the house). Two sweet potatoes. Lots of garlic. My husband's crunchy peanut butter (not and ETL product, but that was the only compromise for me). I also used garam masala instead of chili powder. This was delicious - even my husband liked it.


04/08/2008 05:29 PM

Rated this recipe:

This is good, but so rich and sweet that it soon becomes too much! Even when you eat it over mounds of additional steamed kale.

I used fresh kale and okra and a real sweet potato (white inside) rather than a yam (pink inside). The sweet potato was a good choice.

But I don't think I'll be making this again.


04/17/2008 12:28 PM

Rated this recipe:

This is definitely a favorite. Simple to make, fast and flexible. It's never turned out bad. We don't like okra so I'd been using brussel sprouts. This time we used string beans and snap peas instead. Still excellent. Unless you don't like peanuts this is a crowd pleaser.

Monica & Ryan

08/16/2008 08:49 PM

Rated this recipe:

I thought this recipe was very good, however next time I will not use okra. My husband and I didn't care for the slime that okra produces. Next time I will probably use string beans. We used all fresh ingredients instead of the frozen ingredients it called for. My non ETL friends enjoyed this dish too.
This comment was last edited on 08/16/2008 08:50 PM


05/30/2009 10:35 PM

Rated this recipe:

Delicious! I skipped the okra, chile pepper and cayenne pepper(didn't have)...I added extra kale and threw in a handful of fresh basil leaves which was a nice touch. I also used fresh onion and kale...definitely a winner!


08/22/2010 03:36 PM

Rated this recipe:

This is delicious! I too, however, had problems with it sticking and scorching. I added about 3 more cups of water and cooked it as low as possible and stirred frequently, but still had difficulty. It would do well in a crock pot if you have one large enough, as the recipe made 5 quarts. Next time I think I'll cook the lentils separately and add them at the end - that should solve the scorching problem. According to the recipe this makes 8 servings; at 20 cups total that makes a serving size of 2.5 cups. Definitely a hefty meal.


09/21/2010 12:59 PM

Rated this recipe:

My dh and I both just love this recipe. We don't care for Okra so I used fresh Brussels sprouts. The small ones I quartered and the larger ones I cut into 6 to 8 pieces. It does stick but I managed not to scorch it. It does take watching and stirring, but well worth the effort! I may try the idea of cooking the lentils first and then add to the big pot at the end. I also used fresh onion and fresh kale. This adds to the prep time but well worth it for me.
This comment was last edited on 09/21/2010 01:00 PM


11/30/2010 04:52 PM

Rated this recipe:

loved this, okra was the best part imo!


01/30/2011 02:07 PM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)

Delicious! Made 1/2 recipe and it was perfect. Didn't have okra, so substituted frozen green beans. Added some currents/raisins for a sweet bite...yummy! Used fresh kale. Will make again for sure!


01/05/2012 01:29 PM

Rated this recipe:

I agree - can't imagine this without okra. The okra added a hearty richness to this dish. I didn't have kale or collards so I used frozen choppped spinach. I cooked everything in a pressure cooker because I was pressed for time. I added extra cayenne for more heat. With the spinach, this reminded me of saag, an Indian dish, and would probably taste great over brown rice.


09/14/2012 02:34 PM

Rated this recipe:

Winner! I'm another one who would miss the okra if this dish didn't have it. We cut them into little "rounds" rather than cutting lengthwise. I added Garam masala, as someone suggested, and we served it with homemade roti (whole wheat chapatti made with just ww flour, water and salt). The okra pulls the lentils together and makes it less soupy. It's a keeper!
This comment was last edited on 09/22/2012 09:46 PM


12/03/2012 04:30 PM

Rated this recipe:

This is awesome! Will be added to my favorites list except it does take a long time took / make but well worth the wait. I burned the red lentils which did not help with timing. I used chopped mustard greens instead of chopped kale because its what I had. Overall it was delicious, I served it over some kale and it was great. I highly suggest, even my wife loved it and she is a non ETL eater (healthy but not ETL eater).


12/09/2012 12:11 AM

Rated this recipe:

I made this for non ETL guests for dinner last night and everyone loved it. My partner had never eaten okra before I tried this recipe last week. It's fantastic in this dish, and it's been added to the firm favourites list in our family.


12/08/2013 10:04 PM

Rated this recipe:

Took this dish to church today for a pot luck dinner after services. People were scraping the bottom, they loved it so much. I made it two days ago, so it had aged a bit. That probably made it better.


01/26/2014 01:06 PM

Rated this recipe:


This is a great recipe and guests like it. I am substituting green beans for the okra today (because I don't happen to have okra).

But don't try to make this in a "large saucepan." After everything is added it takes up most of my largest soup pot! No way it will fit in a "saucepan" of any size. :)

I also find it takes more water (added as needed, not measured), because my red lentils needed longer than 15 minutes to be tender. I think next time I will pressure cook those first, then do the rest.
This comment was last edited on 01/26/2014 01:14 PM


04/25/2014 09:31 PM

Rated this recipe:

This came out well, except, like others, I burned the bottom of the soup pot. Make sure you stir often. It tastes great, the sauce is what really makes the recipe. I cut the sweet potato small so that it would cook throughly without overcooking the other ingredients. Will make this one again.

Betty L

05/16/2014 09:46 PM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)

Has any body come up with a way to make a cajun Gumbo?


05/16/2014 10:05 PM

Rated this recipe:

This recipe is outstanding, I made it for the first time today. I used green beans for okra , which I believe was a good choice. Also I cooked the lentils for only a few minutes before adding all the other ingredients, in the past I find cooking lentils according to the recipe tends to make them mushy. This stew turned out perfectly!


05/19/2014 10:54 PM

Rated this recipe:

This stew has a great flavor. I find that cooking the onions and herbs first a little brings out more flavor. I first sauteed the onions, garlic & tomato paste with a little olive oil and then added the lentils followed closely by the carrot juice. I think this may have kept the lentils from scorching as noted in the postings. I then added all the other ingredients while stirring. This recipe requires paying attention and frequent stirring. Also, I added the okra last and it kept the okra from falling apart and becoming overcooked. . I also substituted some of the carrot juice with 1 1/2 cup of low sodium chicken broth. It was a big hit but I think I will leave out the broth next time. I am not sure it made a big difference. lots of thumbs up and compliments... I will definitely do this again for a crowd. None one drop was left in the pot. Yum!


10/04/2015 12:55 AM

Rated this recipe:

This is absolutely one of my all time favorites. It was one of the first Furhman recipes I tried. It is wonderful. I have made it with and without the sweet potato and it is excellent both ways. I love adding lots of extra heat too.


11/19/2015 03:24 PM

Rated this recipe:

My copy of Eat for Health says 3 tablespoons of chili powder, not 3 teaspoons. Not sure which was the intended unit, but I thought it tasted great with 3 tablespoons!


12/08/2016 06:13 PM

Rated this recipe:

It's really good as is with a big squeeze of lime!


01/06/2017 11:04 PM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)

This recipe sounds wonderful. I will have to try this.