Ever since I added coconut milk to my ramen broth, I haven’t been able to stop adding coconut milk to all of my savory saucy and brothy dishes. The creaminess of the coconut milk is unmatched, and pairs particularly well with the flavor of mushrooms. So I did it again this week with these Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy, which make a great easy weeknight dinner that you can eat almost like a stew with some crusty bread for dipping, or spoon it over a big bowl of mashed potatoes or rice. It’s hearty, creamy, and just right for cold winter nights!
Garnished with chopped parsley, for color.
What Kind of Lentils Should I Use?
I suggest using brown lentils for this recipe, which are quick-cooking (only requiring 20 minutes of simmering) and hold their shape. These lentils look kind of greenish-brown when dry and are sometimes labeled green lentils (not to be confused with French green lentils). If you’re unsure if you have the right kind of lentil, check the cooking instructions on the package. If they say to simmer for about 20 minutes, you’ve got the right kind of lentil.
Red or yellow lentils will break down and create more of a split pea soup textured dish, so I don’t suggest using them for this recipe.
What Kind of Mushrooms Should I use?
I used baby bella mushrooms because they’ve been available for a great price at Aldi lately, but white button mushrooms will work perfectly well and are often less expensive.
Meal Prep It!
These Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy make a great winter meal prep. They hold up perfectly in the refrigerator (for about four days) and also freeze well. You could freeze them right in the same container as your mashed potatoes or rice!
How to Serve Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy
As mentioned in the introduction, you can serve these creamy lentils as is with some bread for dipping, or spoon them over a bowl of mashed potatoes, rice, or even pasta!
Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy
- Mince the garlic and slice the mushrooms. Add the olive oil and garlic to a large skillet and sauté for about one minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms have released all their moisture and begin to brown.
- Add the lentils, sage, thyme, freshly cracked pepper, and vegetable broth to the skillet with the mushrooms. Stir to combine. Place a lid on the skillet, let the broth come up to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the lentils simmer for 20 minutes (with lid), stirring occasionally.
- After simmering for 20 minutes, the lentils should be tender and most of the broth absorbed. Add the coconut milk, stir to combine, turn the heat back up to medium, and let the lentils simmer for about five more minutes (without lid), or until the mixture in the skillet has thickened to a gravy.
- Once the mixture has thickened, turn the heat off. Taste the mixture and add salt to your liking. I added about 1/2 tsp. The salt will help the herbal flavors pop and reduce the sweetness of the coconut milk.
- Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping or over mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!
Shown with Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes and garnished with parsley for color.
How to Make Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy – Step by Step Photos
Start by mincing two cloves of garlic and slicing 8 oz. mushrooms.
Add the minced garlic to a large skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté the garlic for about one minute, then add the sliced mushrooms.
Continue to sauté the mushrooms until all of their moisture evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown.
Add 1 cup brown lentils, ½ tsp dried thyme, ¾ tsp rubbed sage, some freshly cracked black pepper, and 2 cups vegetable broth to the skillet. Stir to combine, then place a lid on the skillet and allow the broth to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the lentils simmer for 20 minutes (with lid), stirring occasionally.
After simmering for 20 minutes, the lentils should be tender and most of the broth absorbed. Add a 13.5 oz. can coconut milk and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to medium and let the mixture simmer for about five more minutes.
The mixture will thicken a bit more as it simmers and form a rich gravy. Once it has thickened slightly, turn off the heat. Give the lentils a taste and season with salt to your liking. I added about ½ tsp. Adding enough salt will help the flavors of the herbs pop and it will reduce the sweetness of the coconut milk.
You can serve the creamy mushroom lentils as-is with some bread for dipping…
Or spoon them over something starchy, like a big bowl of mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta! 🤤