Looking for a hearty and flavorful stew to warm you up on a chilly evening? Look no further than this delicious Smoky Red Lentil Stew. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also packed with protein with a smoky kick from smoked paprika.
With a couple vegetarians in the family (and as someone who is looking to add more plant-based meals to my diet too), I’m always trying to come up with recipes that everyone in the family, vegetarian or not, can enjoy. Lentils are one of the first ingredients I reach for when wanting to come up with a hearty, vegetarian meal mainly because they’re packed with protein – super important for a vegetarian diet. I’ve been testing and making this stew for a few weeks now, and we can’t get enough! The creaminess you get from the cooked red lentils and the warm flavor from the smoked paprika are an incredible combo.
How To Make Smoky Red Lentil Stew
- Prepare the ingredients: Peel and medium dice the onion. Dice the celery and carrots and thinly slice the shiitake mushrooms. Mince the garlic and roughly chop your green of choice. Finally, gather the remaining ingredients. Having all of your ingredients ready to go will make this recipe come together super quick!
- Sauté: Heat olive oil in large stock pot over low to medium heat. Sauté the onions for 4 minutes. Add the celery and shiitakes and sauté an additional 3 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender. Add garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, and carrots. Sauté for an additional minute.
- Start the stew: Add balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, cumin, red lentils and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are soft.
- Finish the stew: Add the greens of choice and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook for 3 minutes or until fork tender. Finally, serve with desired toppings and enjoy!
Benefits of Red Lentils
There are tons of reason why I love cooking with red lentils, especially for my vegetarian people! Here are some red lentils benefits:
- They’re high in protein! One cup of red lentils has 18 grams of protein making it a fantastic alternative to meat if you’re looking to add more plant-based meals to your diet.
- They’re a good source of minerals such as iron and potassium, and B vitamins such as folate.
- Red lentils are a rather quick cooking variety of lentil. They only need about 15-20 minutes to cook, which makes them the perfect ingredient to grab when you want dinner on the table stat. They tend to break down and become creamy when cooked, which makes them a good choice for purees, soups, and stews such as this one.
- These small legumes are also naturally gluten free making them a great choice for people with gluten sensitivities.
Like I said, I’ve been making this stew for a few weeks now and everyone is obsessed. I love making this recipe not only because it’s absolutely delicious, but also because it’s a satisfying and healthy vegetarian meal. But the best part of this Smoky Red Lentil stew might be that it makes a pretty large batch. We usually have lots of leftovers which means lunch is covered for the next day or two, too!
More Comforting Vegetarian Dinners
- Baked Farro with Lentils, Tomato and Mozzarella
- Crispy Rice with Shiitakes and Cabbage
- Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
- Crock Pot Lentil Veggie Stew
- Vegetarian Skillet Lasagna
Smoky Red Lentil Stew is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or to meal prep for the week ahead. Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments or tag me on social media if you make it!
Images by Ivan Solis
Smoky Red Lentil Stew
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 carrots peeled and diced
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms sliced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 cups dried red lentils
- 6 cups vegetable broth (if the stew feels too thick after cooked, you can add additional broth or water to loosen it up to your preference)
- 1 cup greens of choice (kale, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard), chopped
- Optional toppings: greek yogurt sour cream, chives, green onions, hot sauce.
- Heat olive oil in large stock pot over low/medium heat. Sauté onions for 4 minutes. Add celery and shiitakes and sauté an additional 3 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender. Add garlic, 1 tsp salt, and carrots and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, cumin, lentils and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are soft.
- Add the greens of choice and 1 tsp salt. Cover and cook for 3 minutes or until fork tender.
- Serve with desired toppings.