This Easy Vegetarian Lentil Stew is filled with finely chopped veggies, tender cubes of butternut squash, smokey chipotle chiles in adobo, kale, and brown lentils. A perfect marriage of flavors and textures, learn how to make this totally awesome and delicious one-pot lentil stew recipe!
Amazing Vegetarian Lentil Stew Recipe
This is probably my favorite power-packed veggie-filled stew that I have ever made. Not only is it filled with a few of my favorite ingredients (like sweet delicious cubes of butternut squash and smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce), but the flavor is top-notch!
Lentil recipes can sometimes taste pretty boring (in my opinion), but this (updated) recipe is truly great.
Originally published 5 years ago, I have modified and updated the ingredients and cooking process to make it even better than before. It’s:
- and seriously awesome
For flavors that aren’t quite so bold, you may enjoy this simple lentil soup.
Tips and Tricks
Keep in mind these helpful little tips and pointers as you get started making your very own pot of this delicious veggie lentil stew:
- Chop the onion, celery, and carrots super small. You can do this by hand or with a small food processor, either way, a smaller chop is better than a bigger chop. I don’t always feel this way. In fact, sometimes I prefer to keep my veggies nice and chunky. But the distribution of flavor and the overall texture is better this way – at least in this particular recipe.
- That said, chop the butternut squash into large cubes, approximately 1.5 inches.
- Remove the tough, woody stems from the kale. Sure, it’s edible and definitely won’t hurt you, but you shouldn’t have to chew soup so much.
- If you’re sensitive to spicy food, add fewer chipotle peppers or none at all. Chipotle peppers can be quite spicy, so plan accordingly.
- Add additional protein including shredded chicken breasts or ground turkey.
- Include other veggies like corn, peas, or chopped bell peppers.
- Feel free to use your favorite type of lentil. One thing to note is that some types of lentils take longer to cook than others and some (like masoor dal, or red lentils) tend to dissolve and fall apart after a certain period of cooking.
How to Make Vegetarian Lentil Stew
1. Chop the vegetables first. To save time you can even do this the night before and keep them stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Or, if you’re especially short on time, try looking for pre-chopped butternut squash at your local grocery store.
2. Heat some olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, then add the finely chopped carrots and celery. Sprinkle with a little salt. Mix well to combine and continue to cook until the vegetables have softened. Toss in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
3. Add the canned, diced tomatoes, ground cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to combine.
4. Add the lentils (I used brown lentils) and 6-8 cups of water or vegetable broth depending on how thick vs soupy you prefer your lentil stew.
Mix well everything together and increase heat to high, bringing your pot to a low boil.
5. Meanwhile use a knife to chop 5-7 chipotle peppers mixed in adobo sauce. If you are sensitive to spicy foods, cut this amount by at least half.
Transfer to a small bowl and mix with 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
6. Once the pot reaches a boil, reduce to low and add the chipotle chili and tomato paste mixture. Mix thoroughly to incorporate. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 30 minutes, add the butternut squash and continue to cook for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until lentils are cooked and butternut squash is tender.
Approximately 10 minutes before serving, stir in the chopped kale and mix well to combine.
7. Remove from heat and serve with your favorite garnishes.
- Sour cream
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh cilantro
- Chopped green onions
- Tabasco sauce
How to Freeze
This delicious vegetarian lentil stew recipe freezes incredibly well. Sometimes I’ll double the recipe and freeze half for busy nights when I’m too busy (or lazy) to cook.
To freeze, allow the stew to cool before transferring to freezer-safe ziplock bags or storage containers. Remove as much air as possible. Lay flat on a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer (stacking multiple bags, one on top of the other, if necessary).
When ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight or transfer to a bowl filled with warm water for more immediate thawing. Best enjoyed within 3 months.
Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.
More Stew Recipes,
If you try making this Vegetarian Lentil Stew Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
REMEMBER TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE FORKED SPOON NEWSLETTER FOR FREE AND RECEIVE WEEKLY RECIPE NOTIFICATIONS DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX!
Totally Awesome Vegetarian Lentil Stew (Easy One-Pot Recipe)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions (diced)
- 4 large carrots (finely chopped/minced)
- 3 stalks celery (finely chopped/minced)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (plus more to taste)
- 1.5 cups brown lentils (rinsed thoroughly in cold water)
- 6 cups water (plus more if needed)
- 6 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (chopped (more or less depending on how much heat you like))
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste (plus more if needed)
- 1 medium butternut squash (peeled, seeded and chopped into small cubes)
- 1 bunch fresh kale (rinsed and chopped)
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce
- Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until just starting to soften. Add the finely chopped carrots and celery and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Mix well to combine and cook, over medium heat, for 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables have softened. Add the minced garlic and mix well to combine. Continue to cook for 1 minute more.
- Pour in the entire contents of 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes. Add the ground cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to combine.
- Add the rinsed and drained lentils plus 6-8 cups of water or vegetable broth. Mix well. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil.
- As the pot comes to a boil, use a knife to chop 5-7 chipotle chiles mixed in adobo sauce. Transfer to a small bowl and mix with 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
- Once the pot reaches a boil, reduce to low and add the chipotle chili and tomato paste mixture. Mix thoroughly to incorporate. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, add the butternut squash and continue to cook for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until lentils are cooked and butternut squash is tender.
- Approximately 10 minutes before serving, stir in the chopped kale and mix well to combine.
- Remove from heat and garnish with sour cream, avocado, cilantro or hot sauce (or all of the above!).
- If you're sensitive to spicy food, add fewer chipotle peppers or none at all. Chipotle peppers can be quite spicy, so plan accordingly.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)