Weeknight dinner never tasted so good! My lentil stew is hearty, healthy, and easy to make. This vegan stew is loaded with vegetables, spices, and fresh herbs, it is the ultimate one-pot-wonder!
I don’t know about you but when it’s cold outside I want a stew recipe that is going to warm me from the inside out without weighing me down.
With the help of aromatics and a few warm Mediterranean spices like coriander, cumin, turmeric, and a hint of cinnamon, lentils in this vegan stew recipe are transformed into a flavor party! To brighten things up, I finish my lentil stew with fresh parsley and a little lemon juice.
I prefer to use French green lentils, also called Puy lentils, in soups and stews because they hold their shape better when cooked. This is also my go-to lentil for salads and sides like this Jeweled Couscous recipe.
To make this vegan lentil stew (loved by meat-eaters too) for dinner tonight all you need is 20 minutes of hands-on time and 20 minutes to let it simmer. Serve with some crusty bread, a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and you’re good to go!
Table of Contents
Lentil Stew Ingredients
This is definitely a stew for people who love their veggies. It has carrots, tomatoes, celery, onion, and zucchini. All those gorgeous vegetables are dressed up with warm, earthy spices, a little garlic and fresh herbs.
- Plant-based protein: If you haven’t gotten on the lentil train now is the time. They are so good and so good for you!
- Extra virgin olive oil: I used Private Reserve). I use olive oil to saute the vegetables, but also to finish the soup. A little drizzle of olive oil before serving just takes the flavor up a notch and makes the lentil stew feel that much richer and heartier.
- Aromatics: I use a yellow onion here, but a white or sweet onion will also work. Garlic (so much garlic) also makes it to the party because it adds so much flavor, especially when you’re talking about four cloves!
- Vegetables: Carrot, celery stalks, potato, zucchini squash, canned diced tomatoes pack this stew with vegetables. I like to leave them kind of chunky, but you can cut them as large or small as you want.
- Spices and seasonings: Salt, pepper, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric powder, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper (optional). These are the flavor makers. The right combo of warming spices, takes soup from good to great!
- Liquid: Honestly, water works great in this soup, but if you prefer to use vegetable or chicken stock that works too. If you opt for broth or stock use the low-sodium version.
- Finishing touches: fresh parsley, fresh lime or lemon juice
- To serve: In my book, bread is a must. A nice crusty loaf or something pillowy like this focaccia cut into strips is perfect with lentil stew.
How to Make Lentil Stew
The best thing about soup and stew recipes is they are typically a one-pot situation. Fewer dishes to wash is always a win! For this stew recipe you just layer all of the ingredients in one pots, building the flavors as you go. Super easy!
- Wash the lentils: Place the lentils in a bowl and cover with water. Wash and soak for 10 minutes or so. Drain well. Pick over to look for stones.
- Saute some vegetables: In a large heavy pot or Dutch Oven set over medium-high heat, add the extra virgin olive oil. Once it shimmers, add the diced onions, carrot, celery, and potatoes and cook. Saute, stirring regularly for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and zucchini: Add garlic and zucchini. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the lentils, spices and liquid: Add lentils, salt, pepper and spices. Toss to combine, then add the tomatoes and water (or low-sodium broth, if you prefer.)
- Simmer: Bring everything to a boil for 5 mins, then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 20 mins or so until the vegetables are tender and lentils are well cooked (stir occasionally and watch to add water or liquid, if needed.)
- Finish and serve: Remove from heat and stir in parsley and lemon juice (or lime juice). Transfer to serving bowls and top with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve hot with your favorite crusty bread.
Lentils: A Nutritional Powerhouse
These tiny legumes are an excellent source of plant-based protein and a permanent item on my shopping list.
Lentils add texture and nutrition dishes like this lentil stew packed with tomatoes, zucchini, carrots and celery, but also to recipes like my spicy spinach and lentil soup, salads or grain bowls. They really are tiny wonders. According to the USDA, 1 cup of lentils has 47 grams of protein — it’s a good thing I put 1 ½ cups in this lentil stew!
In addition to protein, lentils are a good source of fiber, folic acid and potassium. In a nutshell, lentils are good for you. There have even been studies that have shown eating lentils is connected to a reduction in diabetes, obesity, certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases thanks to the many bioactive compounds in lentils. In a nutshell, lentils are good for you!
Aside from their health benefits, lentils taste good. And as a mom, nothing spells success more than seeing my family come back for seconds — and third! I'm telling you, this lentil stew recipe is a winner!
Lentil Recipes for Days!
Try our French Green Lentils!
These green lentils are hearty, healthy and versatile! Their firm texture allows them to hold their shape well while cooking, making them a perfect ingredient for all of your favorite lentil soups!
Hearty One-Pot Lentil Stew
- 1 ½ cups green lentils
- Extra virgin olive oil, I used Private Reserve
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 russet potato, small diced
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small zucchini squash, diced
- Kosher salt, a pinch
- Black Pepper, a pinch
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 ½ cup water or low-sodium broth
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley, stems removed
- juice from half a lemon or lime
- Bread to serve
- Wash and sort lentils: Place the lentils in a bowl and cover with water. Wash and soak for 10 minutes or so. Drain well.
- Saute firm vegetables: In a large heavy pot or Dutch Oven set over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add diced onions, carrot, celery, and potatoes. Cook over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the garlic and zucchini: Add garlic and zucchini. Saute for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add lentils, spices, tomatoes and liquid: Add lentils, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne. Toss to combine, then add the tomatoes and water (or low-sodium broth, if you prefer.)
- Simmer: Bring everything to a boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender and lentils are well cooked (stir occasionally and watch to add water or liquid, if needed.)
- Finish and serve: Remove from heat and stir in parsley and lime juice (or lemon juice). Transfer to serving bowls and top with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve hot with your favorite crusty bread.
- Best lentils for this recipe: Recommended for this recipe: All-natural Green Lentils.
- Best olive oil for this recipe: Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives.) SAVE! Try our Greek Olive Oil Bundle!
- If you need to stock up on spices: Coriander, cumin and turmeric powder. SAVE! Create your own bundle of spices.
- Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams and spices.
*This post has recently been updated with new information for readers’ benefit.