Yucatan Stew with Tofu, Lentils and Ancho Chiles

Yucatán is a state in the north western part of the Yucatán Peninsula, with its coastline facing the Gulf of Mexico. The rich culture and history of the Mayan regional cuisine almost always included chiles, usually the more fiery habanero pepper. Not wanting to blow out the top of my head, I opted for the more subtle ancho chili pepper.

This is such a robust dish, filled with warm and bright flavor layers. Everyone loves a good, hearty stew!

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 60 minutes

Serves 6-8


  • 1 cup cooked green or brown lentils
  • 1 -12 oz. package firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • ½ cup tamari
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 2″ long pieces
  • 2 ancho chiles, seeded and cut into very thin strips
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Steamed brown rice and diced jalapeños for serving


  1. Slice tofu into ½” x 1” pieces and place in deep bowl. Cover entirely with the tamari and let marinate for up to 6 hours.
  2. After tofu is marinated, heat the vegetable stock in a large non-stick deep pot.
  3. Stir in the onions, garlic, carrots, chiles, bay leaves, ground cloves, and lime juice. Season with salt (as desired) and pepper and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the tomatoes carefully covering them in the broth. Cover and cook over low heat until the carrots are cooked through, about 40 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaves.
  6. Stir in the cooked lentils, and the cilantro.
  7. Serve over brown rice and add sliced jalapeños.

The stew can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving.