Vegan Lentil Stew

$5.08 recipe / $0.64 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.89 from 190 votes
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I’m already declaring THIS my favorite recipe of the winter of 2018/2019, and we haven’t even gotten to winter yet! That’s just how excited I am about this Lentil Stew. I’ve made it twice in a row and am not even tired of it yet. I’ve even eaten it twice for breakfast. My want for this hearty lentil stew knows no boundaries. 

Close up side view of a piece of bread being dipped into a bowl of lentil stew.

I had been craving beef stew but felt like I’d been eating a bit more meat than usual lately, so I decided to try to craft something just as rich, hearty, and flavorful, without meat. I modeled this Vegan Winter Lentil Stew recipe after my Slow Cooker Beef Stew, but I made a few substitutions to make it 100% plant-based. The medley of vegetables and herbs creates a thick, flavorful, and comforting stew that is just begging for some crusty bread to sop it all up. I served mine with a batch of No-Knead Bread and was in heaven.

Ingredients for Lentil Stew

  • Aromatics: Any good stew will start with aromatics for a nice deep flavor. I used onion and garlic (four cloves, but you can measure with your heart!).
  • Vegetables: A medley of vegetables adds flavor, color, and texture to this hearty stew. I used carrots, celery, potatoes, and green peas, but you could also try other vegetables like mushrooms, parsnips, or turnips.
  • Lentils: Lentils are what make this stew so thick and hearty. They provide a ton of fiber and other nutrients, yet are super budget-friendly! We used green or brown lentils (not French green lentils), which cook quickly, in about 20 minutes, with no soaking needed.
  • Broth: The liquid base for this stew is vegetable broth, which provides tons of complex flavor and an appealing stew-like brown color. The type of broth used will definitely impact the flavor of your stew, so I suggest using Better Than Bouillon.
  • Seasoning: To flavor the stew even further we add dried rosemary, dried thyme, a little Dijon mustard for some zing, soy sauce for umami, and a little brown sugar to add a sweetness similar to what you’d find in Worcestershire sauce.

What to Serve with Lentil Stew

This hearty lentil stew is truly a complete meal in a bowl that is packed with nutrients. I wouldn’t typically serve a side dish with lentil stew, except maybe some bread for sopping up all that delicious gravy. Try our no-knead bread, garlic bread, beer bread, or drop biscuits.

How to Store and Reheat Lentil Stew

This stew will stay good in the refrigerator for up to five days. To reheat, simply microwave until hot or place in a saucepot and heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until heated through.

To freeze this stew, I suggest dividing it into single portions, cooling it completely in the refrigerator overnight, and then transferring it to the freezer. And don’t forget, always label and date your freezer food! The stew will stay good in the freezer for about three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before heating, or use the defrost function on a microwave.

Overhead view of a bowl of lentil stew with a gold spoon in the center.
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Vegan Lentil Stew

4.89 from 190 votes
A rich and hearty medley of vegetables, lentils, and herbs makes this freezer-friendly Vegan Lentil Stew the perfect cold-weather comfort food. 
A hand dipping a piece of bread into a bowl of lentil stew.
Servings 8 1.5 cups each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 50 minutes
Total 1 hour


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 4 carrots (about 1/2 lb.) ($0.45)
  • 4 stalks celery ($0.75)
  • 2 lbs potatoes ($0.70)
  • 1 cup brown lentils ($0.49)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard ($0.09)
  • 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.09)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.04)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth ($0.78)
  • 1 cup frozen peas ($0.38)


  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to a large soup pot and begin to sauté over medium heat.
  • While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice the celery, then add it to the pot and continue to sauté. As the celery, onion, and garlic are sautéing, peel and chop the carrots into half rounds. Add the carrots to the pot and continue to sauté.
  • As the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots are sautéing, peel and cube the potatoes into 3/4 to 1-inch pieces. Add the cubed potatoes to the pot along with the lentils, rosemary, thyme, Dijon, soy sauce, brown sugar, and vegetable broth.
  • Briefly stir the ingredients to combine, then place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and bring the stew up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Toward the end of the simmer time, when the potatoes are very soft, begin to mash the potatoes a bit as you stir. This will help thicken the stew.
  • Finally, after 30 minutes, stir in the frozen peas and allow them to heat through. Taste the stew and add salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth, I did not add any extra). Serve hot and enjoy!

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Serving: 1.5CupsCalories: 249.2kcalCarbohydrates: 45.91gProtein: 9.88gFat: 3.99gSodium: 964.61mgFiber: 7.86g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A ladle full of lentil stew held above the pot.

How to Make Vegan Lentil Stew – Step by Step Photos

Sauté Onion and Garlic fo Vegan Winter Lentil Stew

Begin by dicing one yellow onion and mincing four cloves of garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large soup pot. Sauté over medium heat.

Add Carrots and Celery to Pot

While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice or slice 4 stalks celery (depending on how chunky you want your stew). Add the celery to the pot and continue to sauté. Peel and chop four carrots into half-rounds, add them to the pot, and continue to sauté.

Add Potatoes Lentils and Seasoning to Pot

While the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic are sautéing, peel and cube 2 lbs. potatoes into 3/4 to 1-inch cubes. Add the potatoes to the pot along with 1 cup brown lentils, 1 tsp dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp brown sugar.

Add Vegetable Broth to Vegan Winter Lentil Stew

Finally, add 6 cups vegetable broth to the pot and give everything a brief stir. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring it up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for 3o minutes, stirring occasionally.

Simmered Vegan Winter Lentil Stew

Toward the end of the simmer time, when the potatoes are very soft, begin to mash them a bit against the side of the pot as you stir. This will thicken the stew. After 30 minutes, add 1 cup frozen peas, and allow them to heat through. Finally, taste the stew and add salt if needed (I did not add any salt because the broth I used had enough).

A hand lifting a spoonful of lentil stew out of the bowl.

Enjoy your Vegan Lentil Stew with a big chunk of crusty bread to sop up all that richness!

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  1. This is my favorite way to eat lentils and is part of our regular rotation now! I didn’t add brown sugar or Dijon mustard. I made it in an instant pot too using it using the saute button and pressure cooking on high for 30 min. I think the soy sauce really makes the stew!

  2. Amazing!! My family loved and and went for thirds! Even my picky 8 year old went for more. Thank you!

    1. Update: I used regular white/gold potatoes (not Russet) and that worked well. Great recipe, definitely going in my regular rotation!

      I increased the lentils to 1.5 cups and kept everything else the same, including the broth. Great consistency – not too soupy or too solid.

  3. Another winner. Supreme yumminess! I made as directed, with the addition of a few ounces of tomato paste (which I allowed to bloom with the vegetables at the end of the sauté – I needed to use it up) and a ton of spinach at the end (because – spinach! – and I also needed to use that up). Served with freshly grated Parmesan. Can’t wait until tomorrow for to have it again!

  4. I made this for dinner tonight. It was so good. I’ve never been disappointed with any of your recipes, but this was especially good. I made it just as written, but next time I’d like to try using vegan Worcestershire sauce. Would I just substitute that for both the soy sauce and brown sugar? Thank you to you and your team for your dedication to delicious, healthy, budget friendly meals.

  5. I love this stew! The only change I usually make is to halve the amount of dijon mustard. It is so wholesome and warming and friends I’ve made it for have also enjoyed it. I typically make a batch of the rosemary pepper drop biscuits from this site to go with it :)