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


Recipe Rating

  • David L

    Tonight was the second time I made this meal. What a great recipe! Your page is on my go to list if for no other reason than this dish.

  • Erin

    Your recipes are the most innovative and delicious I’ve ever found on the internet. This recipe is mine and my boyfriend’s favorite, it’s so savory, we just want to drink the broth. I’ve been using a light apple balsamic instead because that’s just what I have on hand and it’s wonderfullly sweet as a result.

  • Amirah

    Made it, loved it. So easy and I think adaptable with other spice combos, or sweet potato instead of the yukon golds. I’m not a very good cook so being able to make this was a great confidence booster! I didn’t even use a mandolin and the top turned out nicely. I served with a dollop of Greek style yogurt (the kind made with goats milk gives extra flavor). Thank you for the recipe.

  • Mary Catherine Garrison

    Hello Laura! I wasn’t familiar with your blog—I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it tonight and I had to come on here to tell you that it is FABULOUS. So rich (yet not heavy) and flavorful and sooooooo satisfying. I’ve already sent it to some other friends—both vegetarian and not—because I think its absolutely delicious and also beautiful. Just wanted to let you know! Thank you :)

  • Emily

    Just made this and it is FANTASTIC. I didn’t have leeks so I just omitted them. Used french green lentils. I also don’t have a mandoline so I just sliced the potatoes thinly and they cooked just fine. Will definitely make again!

  • kas

    Prepared this recipe – but the 4 cups of veggie broth was way too much. In the initial pan cook, I had to discard at least 1 cup of broth. And, I cooked it for 4x the amt. of time. Lentils were soft.

  • D

    I’ve made this a couple times and I’m making it again tonight! Love this recipe so much. Definitely a go to one for me. I just need a mandolin that can slice this thin.

  • Laura

    I made this in order to hit my reset button! I normally skip right past the spiel before a recipe when I’m online, but I’m glad I didn’t in this case. Without being corny, you added another dimension to my cooking experience because I really related to what you wrote. Thank you graciously ❤️

  • Roisin

    It’s actually rather nice to hear that there is a USA/ Canada Pulses council (& they’re supporting you) when you hear so much about egg/ milk/ meat industry/ board pushing their cruelty-filled products by paying chefs or government etc to encourage people to eat aforementioned products. plant protein for the win

  • Nicky

    Fab – whole family loved it and only one vegetarian here!

  • Jayne

    Would this be freezable Laura?

    • Laura

      I think you could get away with freezing it if it was fully cooked, but even then… I find mushrooms don’t always fare very well after being frozen. I have’t tried freezing this one yet, so if you have success please let me know.

  • Karishma Suchday

    Hi Laura! Can I use black chickpeas instead of lentils? Also can I use sweet potato instead of russet?

    • Laura

      Hi Karishma,

      The black chickpeas, if you’re using from their dry state, will take much longer to cook than the lentils. They’ll also require more liquid. This is a situation where Googling might offer better advice than what I can give because I’ve only made this recipe with the lentils.

      If your black chickpeas are cooked though, you would need double the amount that I specify of lentils (so 2-2 1/4 cups total of cooked black chickpeas). You wouldn’t need as much vegetable stock if you’re using cooked beans because they wouldn’t be taking on any liquid. Just use enough to keep the whole mixture moist and slightly fluid.

      And yes, you can use sweet potatoes for the topping, but they won’t crisp up like the russets. I would recommend slicing them as thin as you can just because they’re definitely wetter/more dense than regular potatoes.


      • Karishma Suchday

        Thank you Laura. I’ll let you know how the black chickpeas turn out. And yes, I’m going to boil them before hand. Excited to make this recipe!

  • Sally

    Can’t wait to try this – I have recently discovered your blog (and I just got your cookbook! Swoon!) Does the baking sheet need to be oiled before the lentils are spread around? Thanks!

    • Laura

      Thank you so much! Yes, I’d recommend oiling the dish ahead of time ;)

  • Laine

    Holy moly was this ever delicious! Thank you for such a simple and delicious recipe. I added 2x the balsamic and used de puy lentils. Such a delicious, warming meal in this western cold snap we’ve been having!

  • Suzannah

    Late to the party, but oh my goodness this looks amazing. I can taste those potatoes.

    Beautiful blog!

  • Kelli Brink - Food, Wine & Poopy Diapers

    We LOVE lentils! They’re a staple in my frugal and healthy kitchen. They’re cheap and versatile! Your food photography is absolutely amazing, I must say. What a great website! Kelli Brink

  • Jennifer Santangelo

    Simply one of the best vegan recipes I have ever, ever made. This was off the charts delicious. My carnivore fiancée had 3rd helpings AND took some for lunch much the next day.

  • Rebecca

    I served this to a whole house full of meat-loving friends and family and it went over spectacularly. I can always count on your recipes to do so!

  • Lindsay R

    I made this last night and it was delicious! The perfect blend of flavors + the potatoes on top were delicious.

  • Jeff

    I happen to have some mushrooms and lentils right now, and never thought of combining the two. Sounds awesome. I also love combiningn feta cheese with lentils or mushrooms, so might throw some in too! Thanks!

  • christine desroches

    I’m so into this coziness right now! Also your potato dominos are adorable/beautiful. I have a similar strategy (making a super healthy dish to interrupt my less-than-amazing stressy choices) and it really does help turn things around. Hang in there these last few weeks of 2016! xo

  • Mary

    This looks SO delicious – just perfect for a cold winter’s night!

  • maja

    Made this today! It was really good and filling, just a little bit time consuming to chop all the ingredients, but it was worth it!
    Thanks for the recipe :)

  • Loganayaki

    Very delicious recipe!! loved it.

  • Erica

    This was so delicious! When I saw the picture I thought it was going to be time consuming to make…it really wasn’t! I had friends over for dinner and it was a hit :)

  • cynthia

    I can’t get over how beautiful and cozy this is, Laura! I could get lost in that first photo, and this crispy thin potato lid. Just perfect.

  • Lauren

    This recipe is amazing! It will definitely be going into my regular rotation. I used potato shaped slices out of laziness but it still looks pretty! I would double it to serve 6-8 though, I ate the whole thing myself in 4 servings!!

  • Jessy

    Hi Laura,

    This looks delicious!
    Do you think I could use red lentils in lieu of the green ones? I have some sitting pretty in my pantry, but I don’t want to make the substitution if that will ruin the dish!

    • Laura

      Hi Jessy!
      The red split lentils will definitely break down completely in this recipe–making for a creamier and runnier texture. The green/brown ones retain their texture. You could try it if you want because the cook time would be the same, but I don’t think I would recommend it.

  • Jess @Nourished by Nutrition

    Can I be wrapped in a cozy, salty potato blanket??!? But seriously, Laura, between this baked lentil stew, Jessie’s savory cobbler, and Lindsey’s vegan alfredo, I feel like I’ve hit the plant-based comfort food goldmine! Your photos are absolutely sunning and have no sense of dullness whatsoever. They perfectly convey the idea of comfort and warmth during this chilly season. This dish really does sound delicious!

  • Kristi

    This is an awesome way of making an otherwise “dull” stew gorgeous. I made the stew with the addition of deer meat and it is in the oven now smelling wonderful! Thank you for the inspiration! xo Kristi

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    I saw it on your instagram and had this feeling that I’m going to make it. I love the recipe.

  • Lara

    Hi Laura! Looks delicious! Would you tell me what kind of mandoline you are using to cut the potatoes in such thin slices?
    Greetings from Austria :)

  • Martha Mackay

    Hi Laura. Do you think I could make this ahead of time and bring it to a family get together that is about a one hour drive away? I was thinking I would cook it partially, and then finish off the cooking and broiling stage when I get there? Do you think that would work?

    • Laura

      I think your strategy of partially cooking it and the broiling at your destination might be the best way to do it! I would cook this right up to the broiling stage, wrap it up, slowly warm it back up at your destination, and then broil it for a minute or so. Let me know how it goes!

  • Chris Hildebrand

    I made this dish for dinner last night. It was delicious and by far the best lentil dish I have ever made! I can’t wait to make it again for my family during the holidays.

    • Laura

      That is wonderful to hear, Chris! Appreciate it so much.

  • Julia @ HappyFoods Tube

    This stew looks so delicious and those paper thin potatoes – wow! No chance my mandolin can do that – looks like gotta invest in a new one!

  • maya

    this is such a creative idea (as usual) and you’ve somehow managed to make it look gorgeous. also your kitchen is amazing!

  • Raquel Osorio

    Stellar blog. I wish I was yourger and had grown up with all the tech savvy ways of expressing ourselves. You are brilliant and a reminder to us, older grumps, that better times are yet to come. You are an all time classic food writer and your documented sensitive thoughts on cooking and eating shall survive many decades. Kudos to you and your progenitors . They should be sooo proud. Much love and Peace from upstate NY

  • La petite poire

    Wow this looks absolutely delicious and the perfect dish for Christmas! I can’t wait to try this recipe out

  • Maya | Spice + Sprout

    Definitely sounding familiar to me ;) I think I’ve had waffles for breakfast 3 days in a row (but they are made with chickpea and brown rice flour so that’s healthy riiiight)! Studying/exams/work are all things that make my eating habits change a little. Loving this stew <3

  • Maren

    Is there any way this recipe could be adapted for a crockpot? I’m a med student with final exams coming up, and this looks incredible, but I’d love to be able to have it cook while I’m away!

  • Christine @ Yum and in Love

    The potatoes are GORGEOUS- glad I stumbled upon this- looking for more ways to use lentils. Thanks for sharing!

  • Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A.

    What a creative idea! This looks delicious and such a cozy dish for winter :) Can’t wait to try!

  • valentina | sweet kabocha

    I love the idea of domino-potatoes :D

  • Allyson (Considering The Radish)

    Brown food may not be as eye catching as brightly colored food, but it’s still elegant and beautiful in its own ways. Thank you for this recipe- I’m always looking for new ways to eat lentils, and these lentils are making me hungry.

  • Sarah | Well and Full

    This recipe is gorgeous, as always, but I really came here to say that your kitchen = #goals. Ryan and I are trying to figure out how we want our new kitchen to look, and I legit pulled up your Instagram feed to show him your countertops + subway tile. Is that weird? Maybe? #YOLO

    • Sonia

      No, I don’t think that is weird. :) I did a screenshot on my phone of her kitchen in Instagram so I could zoom in on it. Everything is so beautiful and I looove the copper pots. It makes me happy when I come to it while looking thru my pics!

  • Sarah

    This looks fantastic! I’m going to try it with sweet potatoes -I usually substitute them for other starchy potatoes because they are very healthy and flavorful. You could use the white variety of sweet potatoes, which are available this time of year, to keep the color consistent if family won’t eat the orange ones! :). Thanks for the recipe.

    • Laura

      Love this tip! Thanks Sarah :)

  • Alex

    This recipes looks amazing. You are a genius :)

  • Allana

    Love the creative twist of a lentil shepherd’s pie! I’m going to try this but instead of potato prisms; I think I’ll cut the potato into rounds to add a pretty scallop touch to the dish :)

  • Sonia

    I can’t read your blog today. :( The Eddie Bauer and le creuset ads keep covering up your post and I can’t even move them at all on my iPad!

    • Laura

      Sonia, I’m so sorry about this. I’ll contact my ad provider with these details right away, and hopefully this won’t happen again. I appreciate you letting me know.

      • Sonia

        Welcome. :) it does seem good now. And not that I don’t love le creuset, but I’d rather read your blog.

  • thefolia

    Another great way to make lentils…can’t wait to try that blanket on top of it. Happy feasting.