Lentil Stew

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How to make a really flavorful Lentil Stew that makes a nutritious vegetarian or vegan dinner. Lentils are loaded with fiber and you should definitely be making them if you don’t cook them.

Enjoy this hearty vegan lentil stew as it is or serve it with some crusty bread, easy roasted potatoes, cornbread, or honey whole wheat rolls. It is also amazing with a simple green salad. This is one of those yummy stew recipes you’ll need to make over and over again! You might even want to change your plans and make it for dinner tonight because it’s just that good.

Spoon digging into a bowl of Lentil Stew.

Lentil Stew Recipe

A bowl of this hearty Lentil Stew is lip-smacking good and loaded with nutrients for you, thanks to the healthy ingredients. With the combination of dried and fresh herbs and spices used, the stew is highly flavorful! Add this vegetarian dish to your regular rotation!

At this time of the year when many of us are trying to reset our lives, I find this stew to be one of the most delicious and filling meals I can use to nourish my body.

I recently decided to eat mostly plant-based meals for a few weeks. And this is one of the recipes I enjoyed again and again. This vegan lentil stew recipe is the best of the best. I couldn’t believe how amazing it was the first time I made it. It’s a great main dish! Add it to your to-do lists, and you won’t regret it.

A bowl of stew made with lentils is really good on its own, as it can be a complete meal. But feel free to pair it with some cornbread, rustic bread like French bread, or hot fluffy brown rice.

I even made a Lentil Stew VIDEO on my YouTube channel to show you how to make it. If you haven’t checked out my channel yet, make sure to subscribe so that next time I have videos for new recipes, you won’t be missing out!

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And if you love tasty stew and soup recipes, check out this Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup, Beef Stew Without Wine, and African Chicken Stew.

What Is Lentil Stew?

Lentil Stew is a stew made with lentils. Lentils are legumes (similar to beans) that are high in protein. They are a type of plant-based protein. Because of the lentils, this stew has over 26 grams of protein per serving!

Lentils look like pebbles and have a mild flavor which makes them a good canvas for adding other flavors.

Lentils come in different varieties including red lentils, brown lentils, black lentils, and green lentils.

Green Lentils in a bowl.
Green Lentils

Lentil Stew is made with different spices, sometimes grated tomato or tomato paste, and can be made completely plant-based or can be made with added meat.

Lentils are similar to beans as they are part of the legume family but they are smaller in size and they cook faster than beans, so lentil recipes often cook quicker overall.

Ingredients For Lentil Stew

Here is the list of ingredients you need for an easy vegan stew made with lentils:

Ingredients for Lentil Stew on a table
  • Chopped Onion and Cloves of Garlic: These hearty vegetables build the flavor base for this stew.
  • Carrots and Celery Stalks: These are a classic addition to any stew and they add great flavor.
  • Cumin, Paprika, Curry Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, and Bay Leaf: For even more flavor and a rich color. No bland stew here!
  • Green or Brown Lentils: Avoid lentils that will easily disintegrate, like red lentils. I used green lentils. You can also use French green lentils. The lentils I use don’t easily disintegrate, but the one you use might disintegrate more, so take note of that.
  • Vegetable Broth or Stock: If you use low-sodium broth you’ll have to add quite a bit of salt to bring out the flavors. Other kinds of broth or stock like chicken broth or beef broth would work here as well. Or even bouillon cubes and water.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: I prefer crushed tomatoes to diced tomatoes in this recipe because I don’t cherish chunks of tomatoes in my Lentil Stew.
  • Lemon Juice: Finish off the stew with a squeeze of lemon juice for an even brighter flavor.

Aside from the key ingredients, you’ll also need some extra virgin olive oil (or extra virgin Spanish olive oil), table or sea salt, and black pepper.

See the recipe card below for quantities. You can also find the nutrition info there if you have a medically restrictive diet or low-calorie diet and need to keep track of your daily values.

Two bowls of Lentil Stew.

How To Cook Lentil Stew

This lentil stew is a breeze to make! Let’s take a look at the cooking process:

First, in a big pot on the stove top, sauté yellow onion and garlic over medium heat. Then add carrots and celery and cook to release their flavors for a couple of minutes.

Pot with sauteed onions, garlic, carrots and celery

Next, add dried spices to the large pot and stir so their flavors can bloom with the base of onions and other veggies.

Then add in lentils, vegetable broth or stock, crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high heat to bring it to a simmer.

Pot with all ingredients for Lentil Stew

Let the stew cook until the lentils are soft. The cooking time for the lentil soup takes about 35 minutes, so it doesn’t take a lot of time.

Cooked Lentil Stew in pot

Note that cooking times could vary so start checking your lentils around 30 minutes for doneness.

Finish your stew with a squeeze of lemon juice for freshness, and top with minced fresh parsley and chopped green onions if desired. You can also use fresh rosemary for a nice presentation and earthy flavor.

If you can, make this Lentil Stew in a large Dutch oven pot because Dutch oven pots retain their heat well, so they are great for making stews.

Expert Tips

  • If you want to double the recipe, I suggest making it in a large stock pot.
  • You can use an instant pot to make this stew if you wish! Check out this guide since you will need to make some minor adjustments to the ingredients and cook time.
  • Although lentils can have a long shelf life, avoid using old lentils, as they take longer to cook and might not be of as good quality.
  • For a deeper flavor, you can add a small amount of brown sugar and soy sauce to the onion mixture at the beginning of cooking. This will provide extra umami depth and the brown sugar can help caramelize the onions.
  • For a creamy stew, finish it off with a splash of coconut milk. This will maintain the vegan nature of the dish while adding richness.
  • You might assume that dried lentils need soaking since they are similar to beans. However, it is not necessary to soak the lentils beforehand. They will absorb all the broth and become the perfect texture. But if you want to soak them, you can! They will cook much more quickly.
A pot of Lentil Stew garnished with chopped fresh parsley and green onions


Here are different ways you could take this easy vegetarian stew recipe to the next level.

  • Spicy – add more red pepper flakes or a little cayenne pepper to bring the heat.
  • Potatoes – add diced red potatoes or sweet potatoes; make them thick bite-sized pieces. Cook them with the lentils to make a filling one-pot recipe. Note that you may need to adjust seasoning and the add the amount of broth used if you choose to add potatoes.
  • Chicken – Add chicken to make chicken lentil stew.
  • Greens – add leafy greens like kale, swiss chard, or spinach and let them wilt just before you turn off the heat for even more nutrients.
  • Add Your Favorite Vegetables: For instance, bell pepper, green peas, fresh ginger, mushrooms, or squash. For quicker cooking veggies, add them later in the cooking process.

Can You Freeze Lentil Stew?

Yes! Lentil Stew freezes quite well for up to 4-5 months. Place the stew in freezer-safe bowls, let it cool completely then transfer it to your freezer.

I love freezing individual servings that I can easily thaw and reheat for a quick lunch! You can always refrigerate it, too, if you want to reheat it the next day!

How Many Calories in Lentil Stew?

A serving of Lentil Stew is 412 calories. This recipe makes 6 good servings.

Landscape photo of garnished Lentil Stew

What To Serve With Lentil Stew

This is a perfect meal on its own. But serving it with sides is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it. Here are some side dish ideas:

More Hearty Stew and Soup Recipes

Also, check out these Easy Dinner Recipes For Family and African Dinner Recipes.

If you make this recipe please leave a star rating below. Your rating helps others find the recipe plus I love hearing from you! Thank you!

Spoon digging into a bowl of Lentil Stew.

Lentil Stew

5 from 3 votes
The secret is in the combination of spices used! This yields a really flavorful Lentil Stew that makes a nutritious vegetarian or vegan dinner. Enjoy as is or pair with some crusty bread, cornbread or rice. This is one yumminess you'll need to make over and over again.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped I used yellow
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes for a little heat, optional
  • 15 oz crushed tomato (425g)
  • 2 cups lentils (400g) picked over and rinsed
  • 6 cups vegetable broth or stock or chicken/beef stock. Sub with enough bouillon cubes and water to make 6 cups.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon (juice)

To Serve

  • Chopped green onions and fresh parsley for garnish
  • Warm bread or hot rice to serve


  • Place a large pot on medium heat. Add oil and heat up for 2 minutes. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic and stir. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the chopped carrots and celery. Cook for about 7 minutes until softened.
  • Add the cumin, smoked paprika, curry powder and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir and let them cook for 2 minutes with the carrots, celery and onions while stirring so the flavors can bloom.
  • Add the rinsed lentils, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth or stock, salt and pepper. Stir everything to combine. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Remove the scum on the surface of the stew and discard.
  • Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 30-35 minutes until the lentils are soft and the liquid has greatly reduced. Add more liquid to the pot if desired (I add a little more broth at this point).
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add a little more salt/pepper if you like.
  • Squeeze in lemon juice and stir to combine just before serving. Garnish with parsley and green onions if desired and serve as is or with arm crusty bread, cornbread or hot fluffy rice.



Lentils: This recipe works well with green or brown lentils. Avoid red lentils as they will easily disintegrate.
Storage: Store lentil stew in the fridge for up to 5 days or keep in the freezer for up to 4-5 months.
Optional add-ins: Shredded chicken or leafy greens like kale or spinach make great optional add-ins. 
Source: This recipe is slightly adapted from the Lentil Soup recipe by Nagi of RecipeTinEats. I added some touches to it to make it more suited to my taste.


Calories: 412kcal | Carbohydrates: 63.8g | Protein: 26.3g | Fat: 7.7g | Saturated Fat: 1.3g | Sodium: 1312mg | Potassium: 1704mg | Fiber: 25.9g | Sugar: 4.1g | Calcium: 157mg | Iron: 9mg

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Western
Calories: 412
Tried this recipe?Mention @preciouscore or tag #PreciousCore!

About Precious

Welcome to my core! I am Precious Nkeih, the recipe developer and writer right here on my blog, Precious Core. My goal is to show you insanely delicious recipes you can replicate in your kitchen. And I love to tell stories too. Hope you find recipes here that will make cooking easier for you! Check me out on YouTube at YouTube.com/PreciousKitchen.

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  1. I’ve made this twice now and we really enjoyed it. It’s an easy recipe with lots of flavor. I added shredded chicken to it one time which was also a big hit.

    1. Hi Dayna, check the full recipe at the bottom of the post. I added the measurement in cups for the lentils, broth, etc. Please let me know if you have any other questions.