A big bowl of Vegan Lentil Stew is truly the coziest comfort food! This dairy-free stew is packed with protein, fresh veggies, and is best served over a heaping pile of vegan mashed potatoes for a vegan dinner recipe you won't be able to stop making.
So what is a stew anyways? Well, after doing some research, it all comes down to the amount of liquid in the dish. While a soup is brothy and has enough liquid that the ingredients can float around in it, a stew really just uses enough liquid to simmer the rest of the ingredients.
To make this lentil stew truly creamy & delicious, we use a mix of coconut milk & vegetable broth as the liquid to simmer our lentils and veggies. Then, we add in lots of delicious Moroccan spices for flavor. Since you all loved the coconut milk & mushroom combo in my Vegan Wild Rice Mushroom Soup, I know you will love it this vegetable and lentil stew too!
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas:
- Oil: I used olive oil, but any oil works. This recipe only calls for 1 Tbsp of oil and can easily be made oil-free by sautéing with veggie broth vs. oil
- Shallots : Sub 2 shallots for 1 onion
- Minced garlic
- Mushrooms : used a mix of button, cremini, and shitake
- Lentils : Brown/green lentils work best in this recipe
- Spices : Cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, & pepper. It's super important to use all of these for the best flavor in this dish!
- Coconut milk : For the right consistency, canned full-fat coconut milk is best for this recipe. You can try subbing for a thicker plant-based milk like soy milk or oat milk, but keep in mind it will change the texture of this vegan stew
- Vegetable broth
- Tomato paste
- Lacinato Kale : Can sub 1:1 for curly kale. I just prefer the flavor of lacinato kale in soups & stews!
- Lime juice : Can be subbed 1:1 for lemon juice. Fresh is always best!
How to make a lentil stew:
Sauté the veggies
This recipe starts off by sautéing the shallots and minced garlic in oil until translucent. Then we add in the remaining veggies & sauté for another 8-10 minutes until they are beginning to brown.
It's important to wait to add the salt & spices until after this step to get the right texture for the veggies.
Add in the lentils & spices to toast
Next, I like to add more lentils & spices in and toast them for a minute as this really brings out the flavor in the spices.
Add the coconut milk, veggie broth, & tomato paste and simmer
Then add in the coconut milk & veggie broth and simmer until the lentils are cooked through and most of the broth has been soaked up.
The green lentil stew will start off pretty soupy and thicken as you cook the lentils. If your stew is getting too thick, but the broth is almost gone, just add in a few Tbsp of additional veggie broth!
The lentils are done when they are soft on the inside with chewy outsides and no longer crunchy.
Finish with kale & lime juice, then serve!
As the last step, add in the lime juice and chopped lacinato kale and cook another 2-3 minutes so the kale wilts. It's best to wait to add an acidic ingredient such as lime juice until after the lentils cook so they do not split apart and get mushy.
For serving, I like to add this pair this vegan lentil stew with mashed potatoes. However, it's great all on its own or even over a big bowl of rice!
FAQ & Expert Tips:
Nope! In fact, it's really just as delicious all on its own. It tastes especially good with a nice crusty piece of garlic bread on the side too.
As mentioned, I used my favorite Vegan Mashed Potatoes recipe (minus the caramelized onions) as the base for this stew. I've also had this lentil mushroom stew over white rice or on its own with a side of bread and it's still absolutely delicious!
For this recipe, I used green lentils. They cook a bit faster than brown lentils, but still hold their shape during the cooking process. This recipe also works really well with brown lentils. Just keep in mind you may need slightly more broth!
Red lentils also lose their shape during cooking which is why I don't recommend them for this recipe. I used Red Lentils in my Eggplant Lentil Curry and love using them in soups/curries.
P.S- This is a really good breakdown of How to Cook Lentils and the differences between each variety.
Yes! If your lentils are taking a bit longer to cook than mine did, it may be due to the variety you're using.
As mentioned above, brown/green lentils are my go-to for stews because they hold their shape. If your lentils aren't cooked after 30 minutes, just add a bit more veggie broth and keep cooking the dish until they are tender.
Brown/Green lentils will never get soft or mushy like red lentils, but they should be chewy, earthy, and firm on the outside with softer insides.
Leftovers will keep in a closed container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Just reheat until warmed throughout to enjoy!
I truly hope you love this easy Vegan Lentil Stew filled with mushrooms, carrots, kale, & spices! It's deliciously easy, warming, and one of my go-to protein-packed comfort foods for dinner. Enjoy!
More plant-based soups & stews you will love:
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Vegan Lentil Stew
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 shallots minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms any variety
- 1 cup chopped carrots about 2 large carrots
- 1 cup dried lentils green/brown preferred
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- salt to taste I use about ¼ tsp
- 13.5 oz canned full-fat coconut milk
- 1 ½-2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 cups lacinato kale stems removed, just the leaves
- 1 serving Vegan Mashed Potatoes
- Add the oil to a large pot or dutch oven and turn on the heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the chopped shallots & minced garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes until translucent.
- Next, add in the chopped mushroom and carrots. Sauté everything together about 8-10 more minutes until the veggies are beginning to brown.
- Once the veggies are browned, add in the lentils and spices including the cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Toast everything by stirring together for about 1 minute.
- Next, add in the canned coconut milk, vegetable broth, and tomato paste. Stir together and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are cooked through. The stew will start off brothy like a soup and get thick as the lentils cook. It's important not to simmer at too high of a heat and to stir the stew every few minutes for the best results. If your lentils are taking a bit longer to cook and the stew is getting too thick, just add in a bit more veggie broth. I always start by adding in 1 ½ cups and add up to 2 cups if needed.
- Once the lentils are cooked through (soft on the inside, chewy on the outside), add in the chopped kale and lime juice. Stir and cook everything together an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the lentil stew from the heat and serve! I like to serve over homemade mashed potatoes, but this dish is great over rice or eaten as is. Enjoy!
- I used my Vegan Caramelized Onion Mashed Potato recipe to serve this stew, but the stew also is great over rice or served as is
- Please see blog post for substitution ideas
- Leftovers can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.