Jodi’s Flexitarian Stew Recipe: A Perfect Healthy Meal for Cold Winter Weather

Pot simmering on the stoveI only recently learned what it means to be a flexitarian so the term is entirely new to me. If you’re wondering what a flexitarian is (just as I was), please know I’m not talking about a person who can stretch and bend their body in ways that make the rest of us cringe. Once the term was explained to me I realized that my 16-year-old daughter is a good example of a flexitarian… and she didn’t even know it!

A flexitarian (or flexible vegetarian) is someone who eats mostly plant-based foods but occasionally eats meat, poultry and fish. This explains my daughter perfectly, but we never knew until now that there was actually a term for it. Turkey and chicken are her preference, she will allow herself a small portion at dinner time about 5 times per week. She typically only eats them as a side, not a main dish.

Our family once thought of meat as a main dish for all dinners, but now we realize that we consume less calories and fat if we focus more on vegetables, beans, legumes and brown rice instead – meat is now our side dish.

Today I would like to share a family favorite recipe with you, one that is perfect for the flexitarian in your family. I promise that it tastes just as good whether you decide to include meat or not. I think you will agree it tastes especially good during these Michigan winter blizzards when we want to warm up a bit.

Jodi’s Flexitarian (or not) Stew

  • 1 lb. ground turkey – brown
  • 1/2 small diced onion
  • 2 28 oz. cans stewed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 10.5 oz. can tomato soup
  • 1 cup water * you may need to add more later…
  • 3 TBS Worchester sauce
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup broccoli flowerets
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1 medium size diced green or red bell pepper
  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • ¾ cup dried lentils
  • ¾ cup dried green split peas

Brown the ground turkey (if using) with the diced onion. Add the canned tomatoes and combine. Continue adding the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the brown rice, pearl barley, lentils and split peas are tender.

Please don’t feel as if you have to follow this recipe ingredient by ingredient… I don’t always have every vegetable in my refrigerator so you can feel free to improvise. I use what I have and it always seems to taste wonderful. Enjoy!

Photo credit: davitydave