This hearty, high protein vegan lentil stew is chock full of green or brown lentils, colorful vegetables, and cozy spices simmered in a seasoned broth. With nearly 25g of plant-based protein per bowl, this vegan lentil soup makes a comforting plant-based dinner (with a simple gluten free option) ready in about 45 minutes!
Why You’ll Love this Hearty Vegan Lentil Stew
When the weather turns chilly, usually all I crave for dinner is a big bowl of soup or stew. This hearty vegan lentil stew is incredibly flavorful, filling, and nutritious, making it perfect for this time of year! Here are a few more reasons why we love this recipe and you will too:
- Cozy Comfort Food: The combination of tender lentils, veggies, and warming spices makes this stew so comforting and satisfying.
- Simple One Pot Meal: With big flavor from herbs and spices, this recipe comes together easily in one pot for fuss-free cooking (and clean up).
- Great for Meal Prep: Make a big batch on the weekend to reheat for quick weeknight dinners.
- Perfect Plant-Based Dinner: Served with crusty bread and a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs, this hearty stew makes a nourishing meatless meal.
- 25 Grams of Protein per Bowl: This stew is packed with plant based protein!
This hearty vegan lentil stew brings together simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry or fridge already. The blend of spices adds big flavor without a lot of fuss and all the veggies really help make it hearty. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Green or Brown Lentils: They hold their shape during cooking and provide protein.
- Olive Oil: Adds flavor as the base for sautéing the aromatics.
- Yellow Onion and Garlic: These are the aromatics. We’re using lots of garlic in this soup because everything is better with garlic!
- Carrots and Celery: Provide crunch and color contrast.
- Cumin, Coriander and Cayenne: Warming spices that season the broth.
- Vegetable Better Than Bouillon Broth Base: This bouillon paste has the best flavor, and I highly recommend using this over traditional boxed vegetable broth!
- Dry White Wine: Helps deglaze the pot and adds acidity.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Brightens up the stew with tartness and just a touch of sweetness.
- Lime Juice and Cilantro: These help finish the stew with freshness and herby flavor.
Substitutions & Add Ins
The great thing about this lentil stew recipe is how customizable it can be. Switch up ingredients or add extras based on your preferences! Here are some substitutions and add ins to help give you an idea of how you can customize this recipe:
- Lemon Juice: A squeeze of lemon juice can be used in place of lime juice for a bright, citrusy flavor that would pair well with fresh rosemary and thyme instead of the cilantro.
- Sweet Potatoes: Swap for the carrots or one of the other hearty vegetables for more sweetness and color.
- Yellow Potatoes: Add in either Yukon Gold Potatoes or Russets to make this stew extra hearty.
- Tomatoes: Feel free to add 1 tbsp of tomato paste or diced tomatoes for a rich flavor.
- Veggie Broth: Regular vegetable broth can be used instead of the Better Than Bouillon Broth Base and water.
- Green Beans: Add some green beans for extra veggies and texture.
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes: Serve alongside the stew instead of rustic bread.
- Mushrooms: Sauté with the aromatics for more umami flavor!
Below are a few tools and pieces of kitchen equipment to help you make this hearty lentil stew.
- Large pot or large dutch oven: Choose a heavy bottomed pot with a lid for simmering the stew.
- Measuring cups and spoons: For accurately measuring out ingredients.
- Airtight container: For storing leftovers in the fridge.
Step By Step Instructions
Below are a few simple steps to make this soup. You can find the exact ingredient quantities and instructions in the recipe card down below!
STEP 1: In a large pot, sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat.
STEP 2: Add garlic, carrots, celery and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then, add in the soy sauce (or gluten free tamari) and the spices.
STEP 3: Deglaze with the white wine, then add the brown or green lentils, vegetable broth base and water. Simmer over medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender.
STEP 4: Stir in the balsamic vinegar, lime juice and cilantro. Give everything a taste, and add seasonings as needed. Feel free to cook for 5-10 extra minutes uncovered to help thicken everything up. That’s it! This lentil stew is so simple.
What I love about this green lentil stew is that it can be enjoyed for any season, meal or time of day! But I especially love it during the chilly winter months for dinner.
For dinner, I recommend serving it in bowls garnished with fresh chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. The bright herby flavors pair perfectly with all the warm spices in the stew. I love dipping crusty bread spread with vegan butter into the broth. Highly recommend!
You could also pair this stew with cooked whole grains like quinoa, brown rice or farro instead of crusty bread on the side.
Storage & Meal prep Tips
- Refrigeration: This lentil stew will keep fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freezing: While the lentil texture may change slightly after thawing, this stew freezes quite well for longer term storage. To freeze, let the stew cool completely first, then portion it into an airtight freezer-safe container or bags. It will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through.
The hearty lentils and vegetables hold up well to freezing and reheating. This makes it easy to cook a big batch for meal prepping. You’ll have ready-to-go portions to quickly reheat for dinners later on in the week. The flavors continue to meld together beautifully, making this a perfect stew for leftover meals.
- Sauté the vegetables first: Browning the onions, carrots, and celery before adding the liquids will add more depth of flavor to the stew.
- Don’t skip the vinegar/wine: The white wine and balsamic vinegar may seem like small additions, but they add a tangy flavor that balances out the hearty stew.
- Simmer the lentils: Allow the lentils to simmer until very tender, then remove the lid to help thicken the broth as it reduces. Check lentils around 20 minutes.
- Slow cooker tips: If making this in a slow cooker, use a 4-6 quart size. Add all ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours. You may need to add extra broth.
- Instant Pot tips: Use the pot’s ‘Sauté’ setting to brown vegetables first. Lock lid and pressure cook on high for 15 minutes. Allow natural release for 10 minutes before quick releasing. Adjust the cook time as needed until the lentils are tender!
Looking for more Vegan Recipes or Lentil Recipes?
- Air Fryer Korean Chili Cauliflower
- Curried Vegan Chickpea Patties with Coconut Rice
- Vegan Lemon Herb Couscous with Crisp Chickpeas
- Easy Roasted Sweet Potato Soup
- Vegan Chickpea Sweet Potato Buddha Bowls
- Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie