Nothing warms my soul like a hearty stew in the fall or winter, I could eat it everyday! This is an easy lentil stew filled with colorful veggies and nutty, savory flavors you can make on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. Scroll down to see how you can make it both ways!

Hearty Lentil Stew Recipe | pickledplum.com

One of my favorite ways to eat healthy easily is to make soups and stews.

The concept is so simple – chop veggies, add legumes or meat of your choice, and cook in plenty of broth. Season with herbs and spices and you have a hearty meal that’s not only wholesome but also delicious!

And lately I have taken to making stews with lentils. The earthy, nutty taste of these lens shaped seeds add depth of flavor and make it seem like I’m eating something much heavier than the actual dish itself. It’s a great way to fill up without having to worry about overdoing it on calories and fat.

What are Lentils?

Lentils are legumes (a fruit or a seed) from the plant in the family Fabaceae. They are cousins to beans, chickpeas, peanuts and soybeans. The seeds grow in pairs inside pods and are harvested when the plants are dry, around 110 days after sowing. The seeds are then separated from the plant by either rubbing the plant in the palm of a hand until the seeds fall off, or by threshing them.

Lentils are packed with nutritional benefits such as magnesium, zinc and potassium. They are also very high in lysine (called L-lysine), an essential amino acid that the body cannot make but needs to maintain certain bodily functions. Lysine helps support the immune system and aid in the production of enzymes, antibodies, and hormones.

Each lentil approximately contains 8% water, 26% protein, 63% carbohydrates, and 45% starch.

Do I need to Soak Lentils Before Using Them?

The simple answer is no, you don’t need to soak them.

However, soaking them for 2-4 hours will reduce the cooking time by about half. I’ve also read that the outer shell of lentils contains anti-nutrients that can interfere with digestion and that soaking can neutralize them. I’m not sure whether this is true or not so it’s always best to do your own research if this is a concern for you.

Lentil Stew Ingredients in Slow Cooker | pickledplum.com

Ingredients for Lentil Stew

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to get the pot started. You can also use grapeseed oil or vegetable oil.
  • Garlic: I’m using 4 cloves because I’m crazy about garlic. You can adjust the amount according to your preference.
  • Onion: Medium size and finely chopped. You can use a yellow onion which is sweeter, or a white one for a sharper taste.
  • Leek: 1 large leek with most of the green part cut off and finely chopped.
  • Carrots: 4 medium size carrots that are peeled and chopped. If you don’t like carrots or are out of them, use celery instead.
  • Potatoes: Yukon Gold is always my preferred type of potato because of their natural sweetness and solid texture. If you cannot find them, use Russet potatoes.
  • Brussels Sprouts: About 1 1/2 cup, trimmed and sliced in half.
  • Lentils: I’m using brown lentils because they hold their shape better than yellow or red lentils when cooked for a long time.
  • Diced Canned Tomatoes: I prefer using diced over whole tomatoes because they soften and blend with the stew seamlessly. But fee free to use whole canned tomatoes if you already have them in your pantry, it will also work.
  • Broth: I prefer the taste of chicken broth when I make stews but using vegetable broth or water is also delicious.
  • Curry Powder: I’m only using 1 tablespoon for an exotic touch to the dish but feel free to add more if you prefer more intensity. You can also use cumin powder if you don’t have curry powder.
  • Oregano: Just enough to infuse a little warmth and pepperiness.
  • Thyme: I used thyme as a base for most of my stews because I love its lemony and earthy flavors.
  • Salt and Pepper: There are no specific measurements for salt and pepper as I believe the final touch should be based on your personal preference.
Hearty Lentil Stew Recipe | pickledplum.com

How To Make Lentil Stew

There are two easy ways to make this lentil stew – in a pot on the stove or in a slow cooker.

Stovetop

  1. Cook the garlic, onion and leek. This is the base of your stew and what will impart lots of flavors to it.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring the pot to a boil and give the ingredients a stir. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook for about 90 minutes.
  3. Taste and season the stew. Add more curry powder for more punch and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve. Serve with a warm baguette or on its own.

Slow Cooker

  1. Cook the garlic, onion and leek. This is the base of your stew and what will impart lots of flavors to it. Once the ingredients are cooked, transfer them to a slow cooker.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir.
  3. Set the timer and cook. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Taste and season the stew. Add more curry powder for more punch and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve. Serve with a warm baguette or on its own.
Bowl of homemade lentil stew | pickledplum.com

Freezing and Reheating

Stews make wonderful leftovers because they freeze well and can be served as an entire meal. Freezing in airtight single serving storage containers is how I like and recommend saving this stew since it’s easier to reheat later.

To reheat, microwave on high for 2 minutes at a time, stirring the stew after each microwave cycle, until the stew is hot. You can also reheat the stew in a pot over medium heat, covered with a lid for a few minutes.

What to Serve with Lentil Stew

Bread and butter is my go-to choice when I think of what to serve with a stew. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was a kid, “a very French way of eating” in Ben’s words.

But for those looking for something lighter and more creative, here a some options that will make dinner fun for you and your family to enjoy!

Hearty Lentil Stew Recipe | pickledplum.com

Did you like this Hearty Lentil Stew Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!

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Slow Cooker Lentil Stew

This is an easy lentil stew filled with colorful veggies and nutty, savory flavors you can make on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. 

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large leek, white parts and light green color only, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and sliced in half
  • 2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large pot over medium high heat, add olive oil, garlic, onion and leek, and cook for 4 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 90 minutes.
  • Check your stew and add more broth or water if needed.
  • Season with salt and pepper.The stew is ready to eat when the vegetables and lentils are tender.

Slow Cooker Version

  • In a pan over medium high heat, add olive oil, garlic, onion and leek, and cook for 4 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
  • Turn the heat off and transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Check your stew intermittently and add more broth or water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Notes

The stew will keep for up to 5-6 days refrigerated in an airtight storage container.

To freeeze: Store in individual airtight storage containers and reheat in the microwave or in a pot on a stovetop.

Keywords: crock pot, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free

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