Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy

$5.09 recipe / $1.27 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.96 from 63 votes
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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!

Overhead view of a bowl full of Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy served over mashed potatoes, with a black spoon.

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 in the skillet being scooped with a wooden spoon

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Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy

4.96 from 63 votes
These Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy are an easy, hearty, and comforting vegan weeknight dinner, perfect for cold winter nights.
Lentils with Creamy Mushroom gravy in the skillet being scooped with a wooden spoon
Servings 4 About 1 cup each
Prep 5 mins
Cook 35 mins
Total 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms ($1.69)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 cup brown lentils ($0.50)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • 3/4 tsp rubbed (dried) sage ($0.07)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper ($0.03)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth ($0.26)
  • 1 13.5oz. can coconut milk ($1.99)
  • salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp) ($0.02)

Instructions 

  • 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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Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 441kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 16gFat: 28gSodium: 489mgFiber: 15g
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A bowl of Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy over mashed potatoes, a bite being lifted by a black spoon.

Shown with Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes and garnished with parsley for color.

How to Make Lentils with Creamy Mushroom Gravy – Step by Step Photos

Mushrooms being sliced on a green cutting board

Start by mincing two cloves of garlic and slicing 8 oz. mushrooms.

Mushrooms added to a skillet with sautéed garlic

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.

Sautéed and browned mushrooms in the skillet

Continue to sauté the mushrooms until all of their moisture evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown.

Lentils, herbs, and broth added to mushrooms in the skillet

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.

Coconut milk being poured into the skillet full of lentils

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.

Simmered lentils in creamy mushroom gravy

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.

Finished lentils with creamy mushroom gravy garnished with parsley in the skillet

You can serve the creamy mushroom lentils as-is with some bread for dipping…

Overhead view of a bowl of mashed potatoes topped with lentils in a creamy mushroom gravy

Or spoon them over something starchy, like a big bowl of mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta! 🤤

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  1. I fixed this gravy with already cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s and it turned out delicious! We ate it over cooked rice, but I think it would be even better over mashed potatoes! It didn’t thicken as much as I’d have liked but it was very tasty! I let it come to simmer/boil for about 5 minutes after I had put in the coconut milk. Thanks for a delicious quick entre!

  2. The first time I made this, I couldn’t get the lentils tender enough. Turns out my improvised addition of salt while the mushrooms were cooking could have been the culprit, according to various internet lentil experts.

    My second attempt, turned out great. Perhaps only adding salt at the end per the recipe made the difference?

    We liked this best served over egg noodles. 2-year-old and grown up approved!

    1. Hi, Jennifer! Lentils can be a fickle friend because the package labeling can be a bit inconsistent — not to mention, the cook times and final textures can really vary between different types. I would gander that the salt wasn’t really a factor, but instead, you were using a type of lentil that may have needed to cook down a longer to break down and really get tender. Beth helped me craft a wonderful explainer on this in our new lentil soup recipe round-up. I hope you check it out! https://www.budgetbytes.com/lentil-soup-recipes/

      ~ Marion :)

  3. Can I use pre-cooked brown lentils, that I can get at Trader Joe’s, and not have to bring it to boil for more than 5 minutes?
    I want to make this in as little time as possible, but everything sounds awesome! My hubby & I love all your soup recipes!!!

    1. Not Beth but there is no reason why you wouldn’t be able to use canned lentils and just heat them up quickly.

  4. I messed up this recipe. I forgot to add my coconut milk while it was in the pot, had it dished up in tupperware over mashed potatoes. Poured the coconut milk over the top and attempted to stir but it was white and milky and liquidy overall. Very unappetizing looking. The flavour was there I suppose but I could not get over the look and liquidy feel to it. Lesson learned: follow the recipe!

  5. First time I make this and I’m flabbergasted! I ate it over mashed potatoes and it is so delicious that I can’t wait to get up and eat more for breakfast LOLLL

    1. Full-fat coconut milk will help pull everything together. XOXO -Monti

  6. The coconut milk is just SO high in saturated fat (and even counting the MCT aspect, so many other options). Looking forward to trying this with dairy and/or dairy substitutes!

    1. Not sure if you’ve taken a dietary science class in the past 10 years but saturated fats do not raise your blood cholesterol. The fat in coconut is not going to hurt you. Dairy has saturated fats and as many supposedly “unhealthy” cons as coconut milk.

  7. It’s humble but really flavorful. In a thicker form, it could be used as pie stuffing. To further amplify the meaty flavors I used a tsp of soy sauce at the end. Brava Beth!!

  8. I, too, have made this recipe many times! Where I live, fresh mushrooms (and really all other fresh produce) are quite expensive. I’ve discovered that the dollar store jar of sliced mushrooms works just fine instead of fresh. That way you can get that “meaty” mouthfeel for less!

  9. I made this tonight for dinner over some jasmine rice. I made homemade veggie broth and ended up cooking the brown lentils ~40-45 min. instead of 20 til they got soft. I added two Tbsp of margarine, some oat milk to make it creamier, and lots of pepper. It was delicious!

  10. Just made this today. Absolutely fantastic. It will be my new favorite. Seriously, even without the coconut milk it is still great!

  11. This recipe is delicious and so lovely and cozy for a cold night. I especially enjoy it with a big splash of white distilled vinegar mixed in at the end and some fresh thyme or oregano on top.

  12. I make this dish all the time! It’s one of my husband’s favorites. I double the herbs (because I love those flavors) and serve it over rice. I also sometimes double the mushrooms, if I have enough on hand.