This Lentil Stew Recipe is naturally vegan, gluten-free and packed with 14 grams of protein per serving! It’s perfect for busy weeknights or when you want a cozy meal.

bowls of lentil stew on a white counter

Vegetarian and Vegan-Friendly Lentil Stew

When Fall comes around there’s nothing better than enjoying cozy soups and stews. They’re filling, warming and perfect for the colder weather.

Lentil Stew is thicker than a lentil soup and made with hearty ingredients like potatoes and carrots. It’s a dish meant to be eaten with a spoon and can be enjoyed as is or with some crusty bread.

This recipe will become a staple in your kitchen in the colder months and is a great vegetarian meal because it’s packed with protein and fibre. (So it will keep you feeling full!)

Why you’ll love this Lentil Stew

  • One pot meal. This lentil stew is made entirely in one pot, making it easy to throw together and even easier to clean up. Just grab a big pot and stew away!
  • Make ahead. Enjoy meal prepping? Lentil stew is perfect to prepare in advance and keep in the fridge for a week. The flavours in this stew will actually intensify if you let the stew sit overnight.
  • Freezer-friendly. Double this recipe and freeze half of it so you have an easy dinner on hand at any time. This stew will stay well for up to 3 months in the freezer!
  • Season it how you like. If there are any herbs, spices or seasoning you love, you can customize this stew with any of your favourite flavours.

Lentil Stew Recipe Ingredients

a flat lay of ingredients for lentil stew
  • Olive oil: you can use any type of oil here to saute the vegetables.
  • Onion: regular white onion works fine here. You can also use shallots of you prefer which will give the stew a slightly sweeter and less sharp taste.
  • Garlic: 2-4 cloves depending on how much you like garlic!
  • Celery: this ingredient is often overlooked in cooking, but adding celery to the base of the stew will help it develop some great flavour
  • Carrots: 2-3 carrots depending on your preference.
  • Potatoes: I use russet potatoes, but you can really use any type of potato you love here. If you’d like you can also try this recipe with sweet potatoes!
  • Spices: three simple spices are used in this lentil stew. Smoked paprika, salt and pepper. If you don’t have smoked paprika you can substitute it with regular paprika.
  • Herbs: fresh rosemary and thyme are the secret to developing that perfect *stew flavour.* If you can’t get fresh, you can always use dried.
  • Lentils: brown lentils are what I use in this recipe, but you can substitute them with your favourite type of lentils.
  • Vegetable broth: or any type of broth you love.
  • Lemon juice: a touch of lemon juice will add some acidity to the recipe and help balance out the flavours.
  • Bay leaves: this a classic ingredient to use in a stew that adds a delicious flavour.
  • Spinach (optional): you can mix in some spinach with the stew, but if you prefer you can leave it out.

Types of lentils you can use

Brown lentils: these are some of the most common types of lentils. They take about 30 minutes to cook and hold their shape well, making them perfect to use in a stew.

Green lentils: these lentils tend to have a rich flavour and hold their shape and texture, but they can take longer to cook. If using green lentils in this recipe you may want to adjust your cooking time.

Red lentils: this variety of lentils is the sweetest and mildest and cook in about 30 minutes. This type of lentil is commonly used in Indian dishes like dal. Red lentils tend to become mushy when cooked, which for some recipes is great. But if you prefer to have the whole lentils in your stew then I would recommend avoiding red lentils.

Tip: it’s always a good practice to rinse your lentils until the water runs clear before using them in a recipe. This will remove any bitterness from the lentils.

How to make Lentil Stew

Step 1

Heat some olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat, then add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sautee together.

A white pot with carrots, celery, onions and garlic in it

Step 2

Add in the potatoes, seasoning and herbs and mix everything together to combine.

A white pot with potatoes, vegetables and herbs in it

Step 3

Using a strainer, rinse the lentils under some water, then add the lentils to the pot.

A white pot with brown lentils and potatoes in it

Step 4

Add the broth, lemon juice and bay leaves to the pot and mix everything together. Then cover and let simmer for 30-45 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Uncooked lentil stew in a white pot

Step 5

Remove the lid from the stew and add in the spinach and mix together.

Cooked lentil stew in a white pot

Step 6

Taste and adjust any seasoning with additional salt and pepper if desired then serve!

Tip: don’t forget to remove the Bay leaves before eating!

A pot of lentil stew

What do you eat with Lentil Stew?

Lentil stew is delicious enjoyed on its own in a bowl, but if you prefer to have it as a side or with another element, here are some great things you can serve with this stew:

How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat Lentils Stew

Fridge: store any leftovers in the fridge directly in a pot or in a sealed container for up to 7 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Freezer: to freeze let the stew cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost on the countertop or in the microwave.

Tips for making this Vegan Lentil Stew perfectly

  • Use brown lentils in this recipe if you want the lentils to hold their shape. If you prefer a softer lentil stew that is more like a soup, you can use red lentils.
  • Sort through the lentils. Pick out any lentils that don’t look great or check for small stones. This is normal to find in a pack of dried lentils sometimes.
  • Use fresh rosemary and thyme for the best flavour. If you don’t have these available you can use them dried, or use 2 tsp of herbs de Provence.
  • Go for low sodium vegetable broth. This way you have more control over how salty the stew is and can add more salt as needed.

Vegetarian Lentil Stew FAQ

Is lentil stew healthy?

Yes! Lentils are packed with protein and fibre and are part of a healthy balanced diet. They help keep you feeling full and are a great source of plant-based protein.

Do lentils need to be soaked before making soup or stew?

For this recipe you do not need to soak the lentils. The lentils are added directly into the pot of stew and will cook in the vegetable broth to absorb more flavour.

Can you put dried lentils straight into a stew?

I recommend rinsing your lentils before adding them to the stew. This will remove any dirt that may be on the lentils and can also help remove any bitterness from the lentils.

Can I use canned lentils in this recipe?

Yes, however it will taste better with dried lentils. (Dried lentils will absorb the flavour of the broth and spices as they cook.) If using canned lentils you can cook the stew for just 15 minutes, since the lentils don’t need to cook.

Can vegans eat lentils?

Yes. Lentils are 100% vegan and vegetarian-friendly.

Do lentils thicken stews?

Lentils can act as a great thickener in soups and stews, especially if they are pureéd. If you want to thicken a lentil stew, lightly pureé ¼ of the stew and add it back to the pot and mix.

three bowls of lentil stew with parsley on top

More lentil recipes to try

If you tried this Lentil Stew or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on PinterestInstagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!

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lentil stew in a bowl with a brown napkin on the side

Lentil Stew

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 10 reviews
  • Author: Jessica Hoffman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stew
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This Lentil Stew is easy to make and naturally vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. It’s the perfect cozy meal for a cold night!


Units Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, cut into cubes (approx 3 cups)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups spinach (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat, then add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots and sautee for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme and mix everything together letting cook for 1-2 minutes until all the vegetables are evenly coated in the spices. 
  3. Rinse the lentils in a strainer under some water for 30 seconds (this will remove any dirt) and add the lentils, vegetable broth, lemon juice and bay leave and mix everything together. 
  4. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer on low for 30-45 minutes until the lentils are cooked through.
  5. Remove the lid and mix in the spinach before serving.  


Use brown lentils in this recipe if you want the lentils to hold their shape. If you prefer a softer lentil stew that is more like a soup, you can use red lentils.

Use fresh rosemary and thyme for the best flavour. If you don’t have these available you can use them dried, or use 2 tsp of herbs de Provence.

Go for low sodium vegetable broth. This way you have more control over how salty the stew is and can add more salt as needed.


  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 250
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Fat: 6.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.2g
  • Fiber: 11g
  • Protein: 14.2g