Creamy French Lentils with Mushrooms & Kale

Created by Laura Wright
4.99 from 68 votes

Creamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale is a hearty vegan dinner recipe that will satisfy all types of eaters with only 10 core ingredients.

Overhead shot of creamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale in a small turquoise pot with a blue napkin. A wooden serving spoon is scooping up a bit.
creamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #vegan
Overhead shot of dry French lentils in a copper measuring cup
creamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale // via thefirstmess.com #vegan

We finally got some snow in Ontario! Like, a ton of it. Three rounds of driveway shovelling in one day? No problem. I had my tea cupboard stocked and plenty to eat (including these creamy French lentils) to keep us going through a snow day or two.

When I see the flashing red alerts on my weather tracking app this time of year, my instinct is to stock up on some produce, assess the pantry stores situation, decide whether I have enough non-dairy creamer for my coffee/tea, and then I get out there to make sure we’re prepared. This whole process is secretly one of my favourite things about Winter. It’s just super cozy.

If we’re on the topic of pantry stocking, I have to mention beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas (or pulses). Along with whole grains, these make up the bulk of my dry storage. Perfect for plant-based dinners! I eat these in some form at least 3-4 times a week—they’re economical, sustainable, easy to prepare/integrate within plenty of meals, full of protein and fiber, and they’re so delicious. The United Nations has declared 2016 as the international year of the pulses, so the momentum and love is strong with these crops.

As part of an ongoing project for 2016, I’ll be partnering with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada to get more people on board with incorporating legumes into their meals. My hope is that at least a few of you can gather up some inspiration to try something new. I keep a variety of dry pulses on hand, all purchased from the bulk section of my local health food store. I have pre-cooked cans of chickpeas and black beans around for the crazier days as well. If you’re really, really on board with all of this, you can even take the Pulse Pledge.

When I was getting some produce together on a little weekend outing, I grabbed an assortment of mushrooms with the intention of mixing them with lentils. I wanted the mixture to be creamy without adding too many ingredients. So I just made a soup-y mixture of thyme and garlic-spiked mushrooms and pureed half of them with a bit of plant-based milk. Creamy results with very minimal effort! Once the lentils were folded in and I had some warm toasts on hand, it was cozy bliss! Hope you try these creamy French lentils!

An up close, overhead shot of mushrooms stewing in broth.
A 3/4 angle shot of a mushroom stew with a pile of ribboned kale added to the top.
An overhead shot of a creamy vegan mushroom stew with lentils and kale against a beige linen backdrop. The stew is photographed in a white bowl with a slice of baguette sticking out of one serving.

Creamy French Lentils with Mushrooms & Kale

Creamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale is a hearty plant-based dinner that will satisfy all types of eaters.
4.99 from 68 votes
An overhead shot of a beige stew in a turquoise pot. The stew contains sliced mushrooms, kale, and cooked lentils. A wooden spoon is sticking out of the pot.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings 3 -4

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, fine dice (roughly ⅓ cup diced shallot)
  • 1 lb (454 grams) mixed mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • cup unsweetened plant-based creamer or rich milk (such as soy or cashew)
  • 3-4 kale stalks, stems removed and leaves sliced (1 ½ packed cups of sliced kale)
  • fresh bread or toasts, for serving

Equipment

Notes

  • If you don’t have any white wine around or you choose not to consume it, a teaspoon of white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice will substitute just fine.
  • I serve this as a thick, stew-y mixture fit for serving over toast, but you could add extra vegetable stock/non-dairy milk to make it more soup-y if you like.

Instructions

  • Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lentils to the water along with a fat pinch of salt. Simmer the lentils until they’re just-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a braiser or medium soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots to the pot and stir. Cook the shallots until slightly softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot and let them sit for a full minute. Stir the mushrooms up and season with pepper. Let the mushrooms sit in the pot for another full minute.
  • Stir the mushrooms until they start glistening slightly. Season the mushrooms liberally with salt. Add the garlic and thyme to the pot and stir. Once the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the white wine and tamari to the pot. Stir the mushrooms. Add the drained lentils, vegetable stock and plant milk to the pot. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Ladle half of the mushroom mixture into your blender pitcher, ensuring that you include enough of the liquid. Blend on high until completely smooth. Scrape the creamy blended mushroom mixture back into the pot. Add the sliced kale and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil and check it for seasoning. The texture should be like a thick and creamy stew and the kale should be slightly wilted..
  • Serve the creamy French lentils hot with toasts or other accompaniments of your choosing.
An overhead shot of a creamy vegan mushroom stew with lentils and kale against a beige linen backdrop. The stew is photographed in a white bowl with a slice of baguette sticking out of one serving.

*This post was created in partnership with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!

13/01/2016 (Last Updated 09/08/2023)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, earthy, gluten free, kale, lentils, main course, mushrooms, nut free, quick, refined sugar-free, salty, umami, vegan, winter

198 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Karen

    This looks so delish…just want to check that the final step is to bring the entire mixture to a “simmer” vs. “boil” and check seasonings?

    Many thanks!

    • Laura

      Hi Karen,
      I do specify to bring to a boil, so definitely do bring the stew to a boil because the heat is needed to wilt the kale at the end.
      -L

      • Karen

        Thanks so much for your speedy reply, Laura. Now, I see your reasoning here. I’m super excited…

  • Anu

    What a delicious soup and a gorgeous Dutch oven. Where did you get that?? What kind is it?

    • Laura

      Thank you! This pot is by Dansk Kobenstyle. It was a random find at Home Goods/HomeSense, but I think Crate & Barrel sells their stuff regularly.
      -L

  • Katy

    I made this for dinner last night and both my husband and I loved it! He has been looking for some more vegetarian meals and this was so filling and delicious. I am even currently eating leftovers for lunch and it is just as good the second day!

  • Heather

    I made this today and it turned out amazing! Hearty, cozy and filling…everything I was hoping for on this rainy Ohio day!!! Thanks so much for sharing an incredible recipe. I’ll be adding this to my regular rotation.

  • Sofie

    Delicious! I just made this today and I already know it will become a favourite. Thanks you for the recipe.

  • Courtney

    This look absolutely delish!

    And that beautiful teal pot. the handles! Where does one find something like that?

    • Laura

      It’s by Dansk Kobenstyle! Lots of retailers sell their stuff now :)
      -L

  • Christine

    I’ve made this recipe a couple times now and love it! Can you tell me how many days it is safe in the fridge and can it be frozen? Thanks!

    • Laura

      Hi Christine,
      I think you could keep this in the fridge for up to 5 days, but I wouldn’t recommend adding the kale to the whole recipe if you’re doing this. Instead, I would add chopped kale to the stew as you heat it up in instalments, just to keep it from getting slimy and brown. In terms of freezing, I’m not totally sure since I’ve never done this myself. Mushrooms tend to freeze fine when they’re surrounded in sauce/stew, but otherwise they can take on a funny texture. If you try freezing it, I would ensure that the mushrooms are totally submerged in liquid first. Also, I would avoid adding the kale before freezing it–just like I mentioned above. Might be best to just add handfuls of chopped kale before the thawed stew hits the pot/microwave. Hope this is helpful.
      -L

  • April

    This tastes great! Thanks for sharing. I did have an issue, if I make this again, I’d rather not blend 1/3 of the soup up and add back in because it looks like a pot of mush now- I think adding cornstarch would thicken it up nicely and look much better.

  • Lizzie

    Why would you pre cook and drain? Surely that takes vitamins out of the lentils, much better to reduce the amount of water, simmer for longer and add less stock and milk when the lentils are tender

    • Laura

      You could certainly adjust the recipe if that’s your preference :)
      -L

  • Ev

    I have split lentils, will those work for this recipe?

    • Laura

      They will! The split lentils will just cook faster and may not need as much liquid. If you don’t mind the stew being slightly thinner though, I wouldn’t adjust anything.
      -L

  • Claudia

    So glad to have found this site through Oh She Glows! Absolutely beautiful pictures and this recipe is a new fav!!

  • Emma

    Okay, I just have to say – I’ve been wanting to make this one for a while, and I finally did last night…WOW. Seriously incredible (and I was skeptical about mushrooms up until recently!)
    Also, extra points for your amazing styling & photography (as usual), since mine looked like serious brown mush despite being SO tasty :)
    I’m a fellow Southern Ontario gal and I love your blog – thank you thank you! Excited about the cookbook release!

  • Jenna

    Hi, what are your thoughts on freezing this? Mushrooms don’t freeze very well…. thinking this needs to be our night before Thanksgiving dinner and would like a no-muss, no-fuss recipe. THanks from a former neighbor in northern NY. In connecticut now. :)

    • Laura

      So sorry to be commenting back this late! I’ve never frozen this recipe before and, come to think of it, I haven’t frozen anything with mushrooms before either. After some googling, most sources seem to say that freezing mushrooms are fine as long as they’re cooked. Since everything else in this stew is freezer-friendly, I say it can’t hurt to try, honestly.

      Another idea: You can make the recipe as is, but in the purée step, ensure that you get all of the mushrooms so that you don’t have to worry about the texture of frozen and thawed mushroom slices. Hope at least some of this is helpful! :)

      -L

  • Molly Moroney

    Wow, this was so good!!! I used liquid aminos for the soy sauce/tamari and used a whole Tablespoon. Also had great results using flax milk. I didn’t add any salt to my recipe and even used unsalted vegetable broth and I thought it was perfect. I’m not a big fan of salt anyway. Also used spinach instead of the kale. This was so yummy and my non vegan husband loved it too. I served this with Minimalist Bakers corn bread. For some reason the slight sweetness of the cornbread paired perfectly with this dish! Thank you so much and will be making this often!

    In case anyone wants the cornbread recipe:
    http://minimalistbaker.com/the-best-vegan-gluten-free-cornbread

  • AJ

    Made this last night and it is delicious! I used chard instead of kale – what I had from my CSA – and the flavor was great. Perfect cold weather stew!

  • Tory O'Neill

    Just made my first batch of this stew, was so enticed by the use of lentils, and the pictures! And it turned out a dream. Oftentimes following blog recipes bring up some bumps in the first test out, but this was delicious and balanced. Thanks so much!

  • Melissa

    Hello! I just finished this recipe! It’s delicious. I think it needed quite a bit of salt at the end. (I didn’t salt the lentils while they were cooking.)

    One question – I read the directions and it seemed like everything was added consecutively to the same pan. But then noticed you use both pot, and pan. I’m wondering if the blended portion should contain some of the lentils…or not? I’m a pretty experienced cook. The recipe is great. But wanted to clarify! Thank you !!

    • Laura

      Hi Melissa,
      Thanks for this! I’ve examined and edited the recipe for clarity. Appreciate your comment and questions.
      -L

  • Smadar

    Laura, do you put the cooked lentils in before transferring half the mixture to the blender or after?

  • Lauren C

    I made this for a late Saturday lunch on a cold, rainy day and it was perfect!! So easy and so delicious! Not to mention healthy. My non-vegan boyfriend loved it. Like most stews, it was even better the next day.

  • Caitlin

    This is the first of your recipes I’ve actually made and not just pinned, and wow!!!!! I was already lowkey obssessed with your blog/instagram, but now I’m a real fan. This was delicious! I served it over brown rice and added bell pepper in with the kale.

  • Susan

    After a record hot summer, the weather is starting to cool down. I love the change of seasons and food with it. Looking for warming recipes and found this. It does not disappoint! Used lots of FRESH thyme and some gorgeous Ontario garlic. Half & Half as I had no coconut milk in the house – next time though – I’m sure it will add to the flavour. I added a little of hot pepper infused sherry at the end for an extra zing. My husband & I both enjoyed this with a homemade baguette. It will be in my recipe rotation for the coming seasons.
    Beautiful pictures too!

  • Amanda

    Hi there, I was only able to find canned green lentils. How will this change the process?
    Thanks!

    • Laura

      Hi Amanda,
      The recipe will be relatively the same. Just drain and rinse the canned lentils and add them to the stew with the pureed mushroom mixture, as described in the second last step.
      -L

  • HL

    This unfortunately did not work out for me – I’m not sure what I did wrong? It tasted way better before I pureed it but now it’s extremely bland. It’s quite stewy which is nice. I think I’ll have it with crostinis and a dollop of sour cream and see if that works.

    • Laura

      Hi HL,
      I would try adding stirring in more tamari or an extra fat pinch of salt as well.
      -L

  • Marcy

    Just made this recipe and LOVED it! I went the soupier route (doubled the broth and coconut milk) since I have celiac and have to leave the bread out. So so good and nourishing! Do yourselves a favor and serve with a bottle of Crystal hot sauce on the table. Thank you for the recipe!

  • pooja

    where do you use the vegetable stock ? it says to boil the lentils with water.

    • Laura

      It’s added after the white wine and tamari in step 3.
      -L

  • Debbie

    I never comment but I made this tonight. And it absolutely tasted so good, I’m gonna love making this in winter… Thanks for sharing!

  • SAMANTHA

    Used green lentils since I had them on hand and added some carrots. Also, since I love coconut flavor, I enhanced it by using real coconut milk (from asian market) and coconut oil. Amazing flavor! This one is a keeper! thank you!

  • Smadar

    Another sensational recipe. I can’t wait to make this again in the fall. Thank you Laura!! xx

  • Dani

    Made this and absolutely loooved the flavour and the easyness of it all. Added more coconut milk and broth to add a little bit more consistency, but overall great recipe!! I did have a little bit of trouble with the lentils though, but will definitely explore other types or maybe a little bit more gourmet ones :)

  • Hollie

    I was really surprised and disappointed at how bland this dish turned out to be. I even added an extra helping of salt, pepper and cheese (I’m not vegan, just vegetarian) to it. I feel like more wine or SOMETHING should have been added b/c there was just NO flavor at all.

  • Sharon

    This is amazing. I doubled the wine and added a pat of vegan butter at the end. Melts in your mouth.

  • virginia

    Oh my…this was SOOOO delicious and I felt so nourished afterwards we had it was walnut wholegrain sour dough bread and the nuts complemented the mushrooms perfectly. I had enough left over for lunch the next day and next time will make a much bigger batch! Thank you! So looking forward to trying more of your recipes!!

  • Nayanna Holley

    THIS.WAS.AMAZING!! I was so tired of eating meat and your pictures just screamed, “eat me!!!!”. So I got the stuff. Man I wish I had doubled the recipe. It looks, smells, and tastes incredible! Thank you as always.

  • lucy james

    Superb photos! love how buttery this soup looks! Absolutely eating this for my feast tonight. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  • Liz

    This is a truly divine recipe. I adjusted it to suit the ingredients that I had on had and the results where amazing. This will be my go to comfort food from now on!!

  • Kate

    This was great – thx for a healthy and satisfying recipe!!

  • Ana @ Ana's Rocket Ship

    Wow this looks so creamy and comforting. Like a vegan macaroni cheese with lentils!

  • Kay

    Laura, I am not inclined to write comments on blogs, but I just had to tell you how stunning your photos are. They are so crisp and clear and beautifully styled . Your site is on the top of my list!

  • Shanna

    This. Was. Epic.

    I did sub red onions for the shallots and garlic powder for the garlic because I didn’t have them on hand and I didn’t use any tahini again because I didn’t have any. Next time I make it, I will be sure to have these items on hand. It was still yummy regardless. This is a receipie that will be on constant rotation in my house!

  • Katie

    i made this subbed things like shallot for small white onion and alil bit of rice wine vinegar as i didn’t have white on hand and used almond milk turned out delish putting this in my keepers pile

  • Ru

    I have recently become vegetarian again… Words cannot describe how much i love this blog! Completely saves my life everyday.

    Today I tried this recipe, my tastebuds are still having a flavour party :) comfort food so good and guilt free, what a win! #fullflavourbehaviour

    Thank you thank you thank you! <3

    • Laura

      Thank you for this very generous comment, Ru! Making my day right now :)
      -L

  • Anna

    Hi, I am wondering how this is to freeze? I’d love to double it and freeze half but I wanted to check with you first. Thanks!

    • Laura

      Hi Anna,
      I’m not sure about freezing this because I haven’t done it myself. I know the lentils and greens would be fine, but I’ve never frozen any kind of stew mixture with mushrooms. I imagine it would be fine! Let me know what it’s like if you do try it.
      -L

  • Amanda

    i made this tonight. It was amazing! Hubby approved. He loved it even though he does not like lentils. It was easy to double the recipe…and I just used cheap button mushrooms and regular onions. I love tasty and vegan, especially with this cold weather. Thanks! Looks forward to trying other recipes on your site.

  • Gaelle / My nomad cuisine

    This looks amazing! Lentils+mushrooms+kale, everything I love.
    And I’ve got all the ingredients at home… Definitely having this for my dinner tonight! Thanks Laura =)

  • Jim K

    Excellent healthy recipe I made and adjusted it a bit. I added way more garlic and put in a lot more coconut milk and stock turned out yummy. Next time I’m going heavier on the onions they flavor everything more intense.

  • Lianne

    This is amazing! My roommate just made it and it was absolutely delish!

  • gina

    Your photos are stunning!

  • p

    Excellent recipe! Yummy dish as a side or main

  • Dot

    I made this dish the very evening I saw it posted! I happened to have mushrooms and red lentils (not French) in the house, and it came out great. I’ve since ordered French lentils through Vitacost (my go to online source for natural foods), so I’m ready for the next dinner. My husband loved it!

  • Gretchen

    Just made this dish tonight and it was amazing! My sixteen-year-old daughter and husband gobbled it up! It was the first time I’ve made something with kale and had no complaints ☺