Spring Asparagus, Fennel & Sun Dried Tomato Stew

Cooking time
Serves2 people
Spring Asparagus, Fennel & Sun Dried Tomato Stew

A rich stew of springtime veg simmered with tender lentils in a cherry tomato passata-based sauce with the an boost of oregano, sun dried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.


  • 35g sun dried tomatoes
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large potato
  • 400g tin of green lentils
  • 330ml cherry tomato passata
  • 200g asparagus
  • A handful of oregano, leaves only
  • 1-2 balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon
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1. Pop the sun dried tomatoes into a heatproof bowl (use a small pan if you don't have a heatproof bowl) and pour in 200ml boiling water. Set aside to soak for 10 mins.
2. While the tomatoes soak, trim the base and top 1cm off the fennel (saving any fronds for later in the recipe). Thinly slice the fennel. Peel the onion and thinly slice it. Peel and crush or finely chop the garlic.
3. Pour 1 tbsp olive oil into a large pan and warm over a medium-low heat. Slide in the sliced fennel, onion and garlic. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper and fry for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, till softened.
4. While the veg cook, peel and dice the potato. Drain and rinse the lentils. Lift the sun dried tomatoes out of the bowl (but keep the water they were soaking in), and roughly chop them.
5. Slide the chopped potatoes and sun dried tomatoes into the pan. Tip in the lentils. Pour in the water from the sun dried tomatoes and tip in the cherry tomato passata. Stir and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 10 mins, till the potatoes are tender when pressed with a fork.
6. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus (bend the spears and they'll break at the right point). Chop the tender spears into bite-size pieces. Pick the oregano leaves off their sprigs and roughly chop the leaves.
7. Stir the asparagus into the stew and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 5 mins till the asparagus is cooked and dark green.
8. Add 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar into the stew. Squeeze in the juice from half the lemon. Stir the oregano leaves into the pan. Have a taste and add more vinegar, lemon juice or salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Ladle into bowls and serve topped with any reserved fennel fronds.
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