This healthy vegan lentil and potato stew is full of comfort food goodness and seasonal ingredients, like carrots, greens, and wintery herbs. This lightened up stew is great for cold weather, quick & easy, and very budget friendly.
This lentil potato stew is another recipe that’s a great staple pantry meal using what you likely have on hand. With just a handful of ingredients plus spices, it’s a truly excellent classic dish.
The basics are made a bit more interesting here with rosemary, thyme, and Dijon mustard adding loads of flavour for a surprisingly complex vegan meal. This is winter comfort food all the way.
It’s sort of a cross between a soup and stew, really. That being said, the leftovers from this are fantastic and it will thicken up significantly by day two. This was inspired by a blog favourite, this red lentil and carrot soup, and my oma’s lentil potato soup.
Need some more soup and stew inspiration? Check out this collection of cozy cold weather soup recipes!
Scroll to the bottom of the post or click “skip to recipe” above to see the recipe card with full ingredient measurements and instructions.
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Sweet paprika
- Cayenne pepper (optional, see notes)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Vegetable broth
- Brown lentils (or black or green, see substitutions)
- Coconut sugar or honey (see notes)
- Dijon mustard
- Spinach, rucola, or other hardy greens (see substitutions)
Tips and Notes
You might be wondering about the honey (or coconut sugar, if vegan) listed in the recipe. This isn’t to sweeten the stew, but rather to round out the flavours. It’s fairly typical in (good) vegan recipes to ensure that there’s a proper depth of flavour in the dish and I don’t encourage leaving it out.
If you have cooked lentils on hand, you can use them instead of dried if you have to use them up. Dried lentils are preferable because they’re being cooked alongside everything else and pick up plenty of seasoning from the broth. To use cooked, reduce the amount of broth by a cup.
In the pictures I peeled the potatoes because they were a little green. I wouldn’t peel them otherwise, because the most nutritious part is the skin. Try to use organic if you can as potatoes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops in conventional agriculture but the skin is excellent.
Rosemary and thyme flavour the stew. Both are good go-to herbs just about year round depending on where you live as 1. they probably over-winter, and 2. unlike basil, both are excellent options dried.
Mustard is key. It’s a tiny amount, just half a teaspoon, but is very important in this recipe.
You can leave the herbs out if you don’t have any or don’t want to buy a whole bundle for such a small amount. I have made it without herbs when I haven’t wanted to go out in the rain to cut any, but they really do improve the dish and I don’t really recommend ditching them.
Alternatively, try subbing in a tablespoon of herbes de Provence – the recipe includes a note on how to use it instead of fresh herbs. Here are some good substitutes for thyme.
I have had some comments that this recipe is too spicy despite just a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper for flavour. If you have a hard time with any spiciness, you can leave it out or just add a tiny pinch. Make sure you’re not using hot paprika.
An earlier iteration used water interchangeably with stock and let me tell you that there were some very grumpy readers. I use water all the time and just up the salt a bit to make up for it (if you’re using store-bought stock, it’s really just salt anyway). So if you don’t have vegetable broth please feel free to use water and then season to taste.
If you’re not too keen on eating so many potatoes, you can switch the carrot/potato amounts and use more carrots and less potatoes.
More Lentil Recipes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 500 grams / 2 cups potatoes, cut into 2cm pieces
- 250 grams / 1 1/2 cups carrots, cut into 1 cm slices
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped*
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 750 ml / 3 cups vegetable stock
- 150 grams / 1 cup brown lentils, soaked if possible**
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or honey***
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
- 70 grams / 3 cups rucola (arugula) or other greens****
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium. Add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes or until softened and fragrant. Stir in the potatoes and carrots and cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally, to brown slightly.
- Add the garlic and rosemary, cook for an additional minute, then add the spices and stir for about 30 seconds. Pour the apple cider vinegar into the pot and stir, then the stock.
- Increase the heat to high and bring the stew to a rolling boil. Add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium-low, then simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
- Take the pot off the heat and stir in the coconut sugar, mustard, thyme, and greens. Serve hot and keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. The stew will thicken slightly as it sits.
• The pot might get a bit brown on the bottom from the starch in the potatoes. Adding the vinegar should help lift it, but otherwise the broth will incorporate it and you'll end up with a more flavourful stew. Don't worry about it unless it's starting to burn, and then just reduce the heat.
* If you don't have fresh herbs, substitute 1 tablespoon of herbes de Provence in place of the rosemary and thyme. Add it when you add the lentils.
** Try to soak the lentils for 24 hours, but use dried and rinsed in a pinch. They'll take a bit longer to cook if they're not soaked.
*** The stew tastes a bit off without the sweetener, please don't leave it out.
**** You can also use frozen greens. If you do, stir them in and then turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner to thaw the greens.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 786mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 14gSugar: 11gProtein: 12g
This data is provided by a calculator and is a rough estimation of the nutritional information in this recipe.
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This post was originally published in October 2017. It has been last updated with improvements to the text and recipe as of October 2020.