Vegetarian Lentil Stew

4.9 of 55 votes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
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Zoom on a bowl of vegetarian lentil stew

Looking for a healthy and delicious dinner idea? Look no further than this vegetarian lentil stew! Packed with protein and nutrients, this hearty stew is the perfect way to fuel your body after a long day.

Best of all, it’s quick and easy to prepare, making it a great option for busy weeknights.

Whether you’re a vegetarian or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, this lentil stew is sure to become a new favorite in your recipe rotation. So grab your ingredients and let’s get cooking!

Two bowls of vegetarian lentil stew

What Is A Vegetarian Lentil Stew?

An easy vegetarian lentil stew is a protein-filled dish that’s made in just one pot. Apart from lentils, it features various kinds of hearty vegetables, like potatoes and carrots.

Additionally, lentil recipes tend to be more complex, but for this one, it almost feels surreal how simple it is to make! Typically, a hearty lentil stew is served as a main dish. However, you can also serve it with a sides such as rice or potato puree.

Large pot of a vegetarian lentil stew

List of Ingredients

Here’s a list of the main ingredients you’ll need to make a delicious and easy vegetable lentil stew.

  • Brown lentils: you can use other types of lentils if you like; brown lentils and green lentils take about 30 minutes to cook and keep their shape throughout cooking. For a softer stew, you can go for red lentils which are sweet and take half of the cooking time as their brown counterpart.
  • Vegetable broth: go for a low-sodium type. You can also use chicken broth (not for vegetarians).
  • Onions: yellow onions work best, but you can use shallots or other kinds as well.
  • Garlic: you can use more (or less) depending on your liking.
  • Celery: usually overlooked, celery can enhance the taste of a dish.
  • Carrots: the carrots add a sweet touch to this stew.
  • Potatoes: I recommend firm potatoes, I choose baby potatoes to avoid peeling them. Sweet potatoes are great alternatives here if you want a sweeter taste for your easy vegetable lentil stew – they’re well-paired with red lentils.
  • Rosemary: for some aroma in your stew.
  • Thyme: one of my favorite herbs!
  • Smoked paprika: get regular paprika if you can’t find a smoked one.
  • Dark soy sauce (optional): excellent addition for a richer flavor and darker color.
  • Fresh spinach: a kick of iron for your delicious stew.
  • Cloves: essential for an “oignon clouté” (I’ll teach you what this means).

You will find the exact quantities in the recipe card.

How To Make an Easy Vegetarian Lentil Stew?

Firstly, peel the carrots, onions, and potatoes. Cut the celery and carrots into little cubes, while the potatoes should be cut equally. Next, chop one onion and the garlic. Prick the other yellow onion with cloves – this is known as the oignon clouté which I mentioned earlier.

In a large pot or a large dutch oven, heat some olive oil, and sauté the chopped onion for about 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.

Then, add the celery, carrots, and potatoes and sauté them for 5 minutes. Season with smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt.

Vegetarian lentil stew step by step

Add in the low-sodium vegetable broth for a deglaze. Add in the lentils, thyme, rosemary, and the oignon clouté. You can also add in some dark soy sauce, but this is entirely optional.

Simmer the stew for about 30-40 minutes. Keep in mind the timing can vary depending on which type of lentils you’re using (see above).

Vegetarian lentil stew step by step

Finally, wash the spinach and chop it roughly. Once the lentils are cooked, remove the thyme, rosemary, and oignon clouté, and add the spinach. Mix well and cook it for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve this easy vegetarian lentil stew with a drizzle of olive oil.

Large pot of a vegetarian lentil stew

Geraldine’s Tips

  • This hearty vegetarian and vegan lentil stew is even better the next day! So I recommend to double the quantities !
  • The lentils will tend to soak the liquid with the time so add a little water before when reheating it.
  • I like to add a drizzle of lemon juice and some fresh herbs such as parsley just before serving, it give this stew some more freshness!
Zoom on a bowl of vegetarian lentil stew

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the brown lentils need to be soaked before cooking?

Absolutely not! For this recipe, you can place them directly into the instant pot, and they will absorb the vegetable broth, giving them more flavor.

Can I freeze this vegetarian lentil stew?

Yes, of course! Stored in an airtight container in the freezer, it will keep for up to a year.

Is it healthy?

Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein, and when paired with an abundance of vegetables, they make the ultimate healthy dinner. 

Is it vegan-friendly?

In addition to vegetarians, this dish is also adapted to a vegan diet.

Don’t hesitate to leave me a comment, it always makes me very happy!

Géraldine Leverd, author of the cooking blog La Cuisine de Géraldine, cooking.

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Recipe card

Print Recipe

Vegetarian Lentil Stew

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4.9 of 55 votes
This vegetarian lentil soup is super-healthy, protein-rich and tasty all at the same time. It's cooked in just 30 minutes!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main course
Cuisine French
Servings 4
Calories 342 kcal



  • 250 g brown lentils
  • 1 L of vegetable broth
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 300 g firm potatoes
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce optional
  • 3 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 6 cloves
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil


  • Peel carrots, onions and potatoes. Cut carrots and celery into small cubes. Cut the potatoes into equal pieces.
  • Chop one onion. Prick the other onion with cloves. This is called a "oignon cloûté". Chop the garlic.
  • Heat a little olive oil in a casserole dish. Sauté the chopped onion for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and potatoes and fry for 5 minutes.
  • Season with smoked paprika, some black pepper and salt. Deglaze with the broth. Pour in the lentils and add thyme, rosemary and onion studded with cloves. You can add dark soy sauce to flavor the stew and make it darker.
  • Simmer over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Wash the spinach and chop it coarsely. Once the lentils are cooked and shortly before serving, remove the thyme, rosemary and "oignon cloûté". Add the spinach. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.



Calories: 342kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 19gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 1207mgPotassium: 1200mgFiber: 24gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 8844IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 89mgIron: 6mg
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4.90 from 55 votes (46 ratings without comment)

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  1. 3 stars
    Flavor was good if a bit salty for my taste. I didn’t love the lentils/potatoes combination of textures. If I made it again, I would leave out potatoes and not use the soy sauce.

  2. 4 stars
    My family loved this recipe. I finished it off with a drizzle of olive oil and basalmic vinegar. So satisfying on a cold night.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious and satisfying, thanks, Geraldine! I’ve made this twice in the last few weeks with great results.

  4. 5 stars
    lovely recipe, thankyou. I had no rosemary so I substituted bay leaf. nice to have a lentil recipe without tomato.

  5. 5 stars
    Very yummy but I’ll have to try again because I did not have celery🙄(my bad)!
    A huge thanks for your recipes that are making me enjoying cooking again (husband thanks you too;)

  6. 5 stars
    Similar to how I usually prepare green lentils, but the oignon cloûté elevated the dish to a new level. I’m not vegetarian and serve this with chicken sausage. Enjoying your recipes. Thank you.