Historically considered a food for the poor in many parts of the world, bulking up on lentils provided a solution to potentially meagre meals, especially in winter when summertime crops simply weren’t available. Dried lentils, when properly stored, can stay good for up to three years, and once cooked they can keep for up to one full week in the fridge.But aside from lentil soup and Indian dahls, there perhaps aren’t too many obvious recipes for lentils. And yet we really should be eating more of them. In fact, they should be placed on a pedestal for all their health-giving benefits. Lentils are high in protein and fibre, as well as potassium, folate (one of the B vitamins), and iron. Potassium can counter the negative effects of high salt intake and can lower blood pressure. Folate protects your health by converting carbohydrates into energy and making red and white blood cells, especially important when growing up and for expectant mothers. Iron helps support the immune system, as well as fighting fatigue. On their own lentils might be a little boring, but add in some extra ingredients and suddenly you have a flavoursome and belly-filling budget food.This lentil and vegetable winter stew is hearty, rich, and easy to make. The hardest bit is waiting for the lentils to soak overnight, although you can miss this step out if you buy them tinned. This recipe makes enough for you to keep some in the freezer and whip out to microwave whenever you need a quick, warming meal. To make the dish fully vegan, make sure to use a vegan Worcestershire sauce or use a mix of soy sauce and brown sugar instead.