vegan red lentil stew

$4.28 recipe / $0.71 serving

It’s soooo cold here! (read: below 75 degrees) So, I’ve been really into soups lately, if you can’t tell.

Earlier this week I got an email from Lindsay with a red lentil soup recipe that she had found on (link may be NSFW) and it looked scrumptious! Seeing that I had a big bag of red lentils in my cupboard, I had to make it.

I made a few changes to amp up the flavor a bit and I have to say it turned out really, really well. Serve it with some hearty bread (or pita like in the pictures) to make sure that you have complete proteins. Legumes + grains = all of the amino acids that you need.

Make sure you get red lentils and not brown or green for this recipe. Red lentils break down very quickly when cooked which is what makes this stew thick and hearty! Even though I probably over paid for these red lentils, can you believe how inexpensive this is? I mean, WOW.

Vegan Red Lentil Stew

Vegan Red Lentil Stew

4.8 from 17 reviews
vegan red lentil stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $4.28
Cost Per Serving: $0.71
Serves: 6
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.24
  • 1 medium yellow onion $0.28
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 3 oz. tomato paste $0.26
  • 1 cup dry red lentils $1.20
  • ½ lb carrots $0.55
  • 1 medium potato $0.49
  • 6 cups vegetable broth** $0.78
  • 1 Tbsp cumin $0.15
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • ¾ tsp salt $0.05
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  1. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat until soft and transparent (about 5 minutes). Add the tomato paste and continue to stir and cook for about 3-4 minutes more. The tomato paste will caramelize during this time, which will make it sweeter and cause it to look slightly darker.
  2. While the ingredients in the first step are cooking, peel and dice the potato and carrots. Rinse the lentils. Once the tomato paste has caramelized, add the carrots, potato, and lentils to the pot.
  3. Also add 6 cups of vegetable broth, cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Give everything a good stir to make sure it’s mixed well. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the soup to a boil. As soon as it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to its lowest level and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. After it has simmered for 30 minutes give the pot a stir and add the salt, starting with ½ teaspoon. Add more if desired. I used about ¾ teaspoon total. Serve hot!
**I used vegetable soup base + water because it’s less expensive than canned or boxed broth.

Vegan Red Lentil Stew

Step By Step Photos

garlic onionAs always – dice the onion, mince the garlic. Cook both with olive oil over medium heat until soft.

tomato pasteOnce the onions are soft, add the tomato paste. It will start out very bright red like this. (Don’t toss the rest of the tomato paste in the can, it can be frozen and used later).

caramelized tomato pasteContinue to stir and cook the tomato paste with the onions for 3-4 minutes. It will get a little dry and turn a deeper shade of red. That’s what you want. Make sure to stir often (although continuously is not necessary).

carrot potatoWhile all of that is going on, peel and dice the potato and carrots. I used a half pound of carrots, which is about 3-4 medium carrots or half of that bag.

rinse lentilsAlso, as with any dry bean product, make sure to give the lentils a good rinse. They’re so small that they’d slip through the slits in my colander, so I used a wire mesh sieve.

add to tomatoAdd the potatoes, carrots, and lentils to the pot.

brothAdd six cups of vegetable broth, cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Stir everything well to make sure the tomato paste is dissolved in. Put a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and let it come to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and let it simmer there for 30 minutes (with the lid on).

simmered stewAfter it has simmered for 30 minutes, the lentils will have soaked up a lot of the liquid and gotten all nice and soft. Stir everything together. Add the salt, starting with just 1/2 teaspoon, give it a taste, and then add more if desired.

Vegan Red Lentil StewServe hot!

Vegan Red Lentil StewQuite hearty and delicious!


  1. Shira says:

    I made this last week and my husband and I loved it. He ate 3 bowls in one sitting!

  2. Susan says:

    I just discovered your blog, and this was the very first recipe I tried. It was an instant hit around here, and I’ll be making another batch tomorrow–We love it that much! The only thing I changed was using sweet potato instead of white potato, which I didn’t have, and not adding any salt. It didn’t seem to need it. This will be a family favorite forever.

  3. I needed a soup to throw all my vegetables in before heading on break and this was perfect! I doubled the recipe and added a ton of mushrooms, it gives it a nice meaty flavor. Not quite as tasty as the Beth’s split pea or black bean lentil stew recipes, but definitely hits the spot!

  4. Miranda says:

    I just made this recipe but swapped out green lentils for the red, added peas and corn, and threw it all in the slow cooker. The end result was amazing!!!

  5. Elaine says:

    Last night I made the Bacon & Spinach Pasta with Parmesan, which was such a big hit that I had no leftovers to take for lunch today. So, I whipped up this Red Lentil Stew. It was surprisingly good! Almost everything I cook these days comes from this blog. Keep the awesome recipes coming!

  6. Christine says:

    Decent enough soup, I like that the ingredients are things that I pretty much always have on hand (except for tomato paste; luckily, I happened to have some in my pantry, but it’s rare for me). Plus I like how fast this soup is.

    The soup was… ok. I used chicken soup base instead of vegetable stock, since that’s what I had, perhaps that is why? It was good, but not amazing. I like how healthy it is, and the amount of fiber it has, but there’s lots of other soups I like better.

  7. The Red Lentil Stew is my favorite all time recipe. I don’t use oil though. Quick, easy, delicious and hearty. Everyone loves it especially in the winter.

  8. Onesti says:

    I make several of your baked oatmeal recipes on a regular basis for my family but this was the first dinner recipe of yours I tried. I just happen to have the ingredients on a cold night I was having serious dinner block. My curry-hating, meat-loving husband was skeptical but found it to be better than he expected. I loved it! Thanks Beth! Great recipe!

  9. Jenni O says:

    Yummmm!!! Love all your recipes, but this soup just hits the spot on a cool evening. So glad I found your website. I recommend it to everyone.

  10. So filling and delicious! Definitely making this again :)

  11. Nikki says:

    I’m thinking of making this Saturday to eat on Sunday. Does it reheat well? I always worry that the veggies will “melt” away. :)

  12. Angela says:

    Love making this for people, they all fall in love.

  13. Lindsay says:

    This is one my staples. Tonight I made it in preperation of Meatless Monday. Instead of a regular potato I added 1 medium sweet potato and grated (or riced) 1/2 a cauliflower head into it too. I also added 1 tablespoon of chipotle in adobo. I just put the whole can of chipotle in adobo in my food processor and then freeze it in an ice tray by the tablespoon. It is delicious! Nothing wrong with the original recipe either! Thanks for the recipes!

  14. Arran says:

    My favorites of the soups/stews I’ve done from here. Absolutely wonderful!

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