Baked Balsamic Lentil Stew with Mushrooms & Rosemary Potatoes

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 5 votes

Baked vegetable & balsamic lentil stew topped with crispy potatoes for a pot pie vibe. This vegan recipe is healthy and great for the holidays

An overhead shot of baked balsamic lentil stew in individual serving bowls, topped with crispy potatoes.
This post is sponsored by USA Pulses & Pulse Canada.
An overhead shot of ingredients for a lentil stew.
Image shows lentils scattered out on a piece of brown paper.
Image shows a kitchen scene with brown creaming mushrooms being weighed on a scale.
Image shows vegetables and lentils sautéing in a Dutch oven-style pot.

I look at the photos of this cozy baked balsamic lentil stew and honestly, you would not believe how many times I’ve eaten pizza, large helpings of chocolate, and waffles/pancakes in the last couple weeks. I always over-commit to work projects when the holidays start and then kind of neglect my personal wellness in the process. Maybe this is sounding familiar to some of you? When we start closing in on Christmas day and it’s time to get together with our people, I’m starting to feel pretty wiped.

There’s a meeting point between less-stellar eating habits and a lack of mindfulness for me. If I’m pounding coffees and turning to sweets regularly, chances are I’m feeling a slight disconnect because I’m not sleeping as well/not taking the time to engage with something that isn’t work-related. It doesn’t take long for this whole thing to boil over.

Before the lack of balance undermines my potential completely, I usually try to snap out of it by making something seriously healthy—whether that takes the form of the greenest smoothie imaginable, a batch of fluffy brown rice to mix into a few meals, or something comforting like this lentil stew. The act of making the food is like hitting the reset button. I focus on the ingredients, how I’m preparing/handling them, and how they’ll make me feel. It sounds a little precious, but it works for me.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I believe in the restorative powers of cozy brown/beige-coloured food. It’s not always the most glamorous (it actually never is), but it does the trick when you need nourishment that soothes. While we’re hitting the home stretch of the International Year of Pulses, I’m still maintaining my Pulse Pledge week in and week out. When I cook lentils for a recipe here, I almost always go for the French or black beluga ones because they tend to look a bit more exciting in photos—even though I cook with the brown/pale green ones just as often.

In this baked stew (I’m trying really hard to not call it a casserole), lentils are combined with some plump mushrooms, leeks, a little sharp edge of balsamic vinegar, and the woodsy aroma of rosemary. Then, the whole thing gets a cozy, salty potato blanket. Topping it this way kind of evokes the idea of a pot pie, but is infinitely easier because there isn’t any pastry involved. The dish is meaty and filling, but light and balanced too. Aside from a few garnishing rosemary sprigs, it’s comfortingly beige—but in a way that makes you feel good when you’re done eating, trust me! If the idea of all of this appeals to you, you may like my mushroom gravy pie, my creamy French lentils with mushrooms and kale stew, or any number of the recipes included in my holiday recipe roundup.

Image shows a hand holding a paper thin potato slice to the light of a window.
Two images show a pile of sliced potatoes and potatoes being layered on top of a lentil and mushroom stew in a baking dish.
Image shows a baked balsamic lentil stew topped with thinly sliced potatoes, before baking.
An overhead shot of baked balsamic lentil stew in individual serving bowls, topped with crispy potatoes.
Two images show overhead shots of baked balsamic lentil stew in both a baking dish and individual serving bowls, topped with crispy potatoes.

Baked Balsamic Lentil Stew with Mushrooms & Rosemary Potatoes

Baked vegetable & balsamic lentil stew is topped with crispy potatoes for a pot pie effect. This vegan recipe is healthy and great for holiday entertaining.
5 from 5 votes
Baked Balsamic Lentil Stew w/ Rosemary Potaoes - The First Mess
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (plus extra)
  • 1 ⅓ lbs cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, chopped (white & light green parts only)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced (plus extra)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • 4 cups vegetable stock, divided
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes


  • I trimmed the potatoes into rectangles so that I could have a domino effect (hehe), but the natural potato rounds are obviously just as great and a little lower maintenance ;)


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Set a 9x13x2 baking dish on the counter.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot and let them sit for a full minute. Season the mushrooms with pepper and stir. Let the mushrooms sit another minute or so. Season the mushrooms with salt and stir continuously until the mushrooms are soft and moist. Transfer cooked mushrooms to a plate or bowl and set aside.
  • Pour the remaining olive oil into the pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and leeks to the pot and stir. Cook and stir until the onions are quite soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and garlic to the pot and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the lentils to the pot and stir to coat in the oil/vegetables. Pour the balsamic vinegar and tamari into the pot and scrape up any brown bits that have accumulated.
  • Pour 3 cups of the vegetable stock into the pot. Bring the lentils to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook until lentils are just tender and there is only a tiny slick of liquid left in the pot, about 18 minutes. Season the lentils with salt and pepper.
  • Turn the heat off and stir in the cooked mushrooms and remaining cup of vegetable stock. Transfer the stew to the 9x13x2 baking dish. Pat the stew down into the dish. There should be just enough liquid to keep things ever-so-slightly fluid—like a thick, but still broth-y, stew.
  • Trim the sides off of the potatoes so that you have 2 relatively even rectangular prisms of potato. Then, using a mandolin, slice the potatoes into ⅛ inch-thick slices. Lay out the slices and blot them dry with paper towel.
  • Layer the potato slices on top of the lentil stew, covering the entire surface. Drizzle the top of the potatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and scatter some extra rosemary leaves.
  • Slide the potato-topped stew into the oven and roast until the potatoes are very lightly browned on the edges and tender, about 35-40 minutes. Then, set the oven to broil and let the potatoes brown even further for about a minute. Serve the stew hot with sections of the potatoes on top.

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

07/12/2016 (Last Updated 12/07/2023)
Posted in: autumn, earthy, gluten free, holidays, lentils, main course, mushrooms, nut free, refined sugar-free, roasted, salty, side dish, sour, spring, sweet, umami, vegan, winter


5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

Recipe Rating

  • Sarah

    This looks so good! Do you think I could omit the mushrooms or sub something else for them? Or are they key? Thank you ❤️

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Sarah,
      You could omit them, but you may want to make up the bulk with another sautéed vegetable that you like–bell peppers, eggplant, leeks etc. If you just want the lentils topped with potatoes, you’ll likely need a smaller baking dish and I would start with only 2 cups of vegetable stock with the lentils, and just add more as necessary.

      • Sarah

        Thank you, Laura! My partner is anti-mushroom, so those are all very helpful suggestions. :)

  • Sarina

    How long does this keep in the fridge? Can I freeze some to eat at a later date? 

    • Laura

      Hi Sarina,
      I think you could keep this in the fridge and re-heat it for up to 3 days. You can definitely freeze this meal after it’s fully baked! It r wheats very well.

  • Tracy

    I made this tonight and was really pleased – great depth of flavor, healthy, and pretty! My partner, who is usually only responsive to meals with a lot of meat, fat, cheese, etc., thought it was delicious. Win-win!

  • Liz

    I’ve volunteered to make this dish to give mum a break from cooking a couple of times during fall/winter of last year – it’s my new specialty, and my dad asked me to make it again a couple of times! It’s so hearty and warming, there’s so much food and we’re always kept up with leftovers but they never last more than a day or two. Since my household isn’t plant-based (I’m the only one that wants to go plant-based, they’re trying to stop me :P) I normally serve it with parmesan on the side for people to grate as they please! Absolutely scrumptious dish, thank you for sharing!

  • Anna

    Made this last night with sweet potatoes and loved it! My oven was a bit too hot, so they got a bit dark, but it still tasted amazing. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  • teegan

    Just chiming in to say thanks for this recipe! It’s been our Thanksgiving entree these last couple of years and goes so well with all of the traditional sides we serve.

  • Braden

    This recipe looks awesome! I love lentil stew and balsamic vinaigrette separately, so I can’t wait to make it. Thanks for sharing!

    BTW, cool idea with the potatoes! I would’ve never thought of that!