QUICK SMOKY LENTIL STEW from "Pretty Simple Cooking"pin it!QUICK SMOKY LENTIL STEW from "Pretty Simple Cooking"pin it!QUICK SMOKY LENTIL STEW from "Pretty Simple Cooking"pin it!QUICK SMOKY LENTIL STEW from "Pretty Simple Cooking"pin it!
I can’t believe I’m sharing a pantry-friendly stew recipe here with you in April, but springtime in Ontario is a bit of a cruel joke, so here we are. Cozy stews and bakes are still necessary with these single digit temps. This super quick and cozy pot is from a new-ish cookbook by Sonja and Alex Overhiser, the power duo behind A Couple Cooks!

Sonja and Alex are probably the most genuinely nice people you could ever meet, and their vegetarian cookbook follows with that same warm intent. It’s filled with 100 very accessible recipes that will call to new cooks, but will also remind people like me to simplify and remember what is at the heart of cooking itself. Their lessons for a good life in the kitchen are woven throughout Pretty Simple Cooking. Their words are honest, real, and most importantly, distinctly felt. You know that they have walked this path and that they want you to be successful, to have fun, and to feel nourished and energized at the end of it all.

I went to this smoky red lentil stew on another day of unexpected (but secretly and begrudgingly expected) snowfall. The base of onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and spices is super classic, but also suuuper smoky with an ample helping of smoked paprika/pimenton (my fave!). The red split lentils make for a good hit of protein that simmers to completion very quickly. It’s an excellent back pocket recipe. Perfect with crusty bread, a nice salad, a heap of warm and fluffy grains, or just some simply steamed broccoli, ripe avocado & a squeeze of lemon.

This smoky red lentil stew hits the right note of comforting, easy-casual-healthy (as opposed to overly-prescriptive-and-joyless-healthy lol), quick, and easy to throw together on a whim. I know I’ll be making versions of it as we wait for warmer days. Other goodies from the book that I have my eye on: Burrito Bowls with Cumin Lime Cream, Falafel Burgers, Turmeric Rice Bowls with Lemon Tahini, and the Smashed White Bean Salad Sandwiches.

For all my peeps that are still waiting on Spring: I’m here for you! Make some stew in the meantime :)

QUICK SMOKY LENTIL STEW from "Pretty Simple Cooking"pin it!QUICK SMOKY LENTIL STEW from "Pretty Simple Cooking"pin it!QUICK SMOKY LENTIL STEW from "Pretty Simple Cooking"pin it!
From: Pretty Simply Cooking: 100 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes to make You Fall in Love with Real Food by Sonja & Alex Overhiser
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: Sonja and Alex suggest topping this stew with some plain Greek-style yogurt, chopped cilantro or parsley, and a squeeze of lemon. I didn’t have either of the herbs or any coconut milk yogurt on hand, so I just tore up some dill, added a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper, a drizzle of good olive oil, and the little lemon spritz.
-I went completely by the book for this recipe! Just added one packed cup of chopped kale at the end and let it wilt into the stew :)
-I’m not sure why, but I’m slightly obsessed with the idea of ladling this lovely stew into a piping hot baked potato. Could be great, right? Will update here when I try it.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large carrots, small dice
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ¼ cups red lentils, rinsed
4 cups vegetable stock
sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from ½ a large lemon)
chopped fresh herbs for serving (see headnotes)

In a large pot or deep braiser, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, and celery. Stir and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5-6 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pot and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then, add the balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, and lentils. Give everything a big stir.

Add the vegetable stock, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir and bring the stew up to a simmer. Cover the pot halfway with a lid and let the stew simmer for about 7-10 minutes, depending on your preferred doneness of the lentils. I went the full 10 minutes because I was aiming for a creamier texture. Stir in the lemon juice.

Serve the stew hot with chopped fresh herbs and extra lemon.

  • barbara04/04/2018 - 10:07 am

    Love your recipesReplyCancel

  • Ti Reed04/04/2018 - 10:41 am

    This looks amazing. My 14 year old has turned to a vegetarian diet and I can’t wait to make this for her AND check out that cookbook.ReplyCancel

  • lauren moses04/04/2018 - 1:59 pm

    Did you use cooked or raw lentils?ReplyCancel

  • Aria smith05/04/2018 - 5:47 am

    It’s looks colorful, thanks for sharing such a delicious vegan recipe!!ReplyCancel

  • Mary05/04/2018 - 6:07 am

    Love your recipes!ReplyCancel

  • Patricia Scarpin05/04/2018 - 7:27 am

    I cannot believe how easy this is to make! It looks amazing and it is perfect for the fall – it has just started here. Wonderful and nutritious, yum!ReplyCancel

  • thefolia05/04/2018 - 8:02 am

    What a yummy bowl of goodness…I’m soaking my lentils now…happy feasting.ReplyCancel

  • Marcy youker05/04/2018 - 9:14 am

    love your recipes, i like vegetarian recipes, will try it, thanks. Oh can I use regular lentils?ReplyCancel

    • Laura05/04/2018 - 9:21 am

      Thank you so much! You can use regular lentils, but they may require some more liquid and extra time to cook. Also the stew won’t seem as “creamy” because the red split lentils tend to break down in stews and soups like this.

  • Alana05/04/2018 - 9:46 am

    I bet this would be good over a baked SWEET potato! Baked potato would be good, too, but I think the sweet potato’s creaminess would pair well with the stew. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing it!ReplyCancel

    • Amanda03/07/2018 - 3:51 pm

      I tried it over a sweet potato and indeed it was quite good! Great base recipe. Thanks to Laura, Sonja, & Alex for the recipe and Alana for the idea!ReplyCancel

  • Ushmana05/04/2018 - 9:53 am

    Coming from Nepal, lentil stew is a basic necessity for dinner here. I am so glad I found this recipe, time to spice things up with my lentil stew for tonight! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda05/04/2018 - 10:40 am

    It was -21 with the windchill in Ottawa this morning. Spring is such a cruel joke! Half of me craves the switch to lighter dinner options and to be done with soups/stews, but with this weather it’s just not an option yet. This stew looks great, maybe my last stew of the season?!? One can hope :)ReplyCancel

  • Cassie Thuvan Tran05/04/2018 - 11:48 am

    You have no idea how much I love the smell and flavor of anything smoky. Smoked vegetables, especially bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, and Brussels sprouts, are always winners in my book! I have rarely ever had smoky beans, let alone a pulse stew! So, this is a recipe definitely worth trying. Sonja and Alex are probably amazing individuals as well. I bet their cookbook has more wondrous recipes!ReplyCancel

  • judith scott05/04/2018 - 6:32 pm

    i subscribe to quite a lot of food blogs. sometimes i have enough time and forethought to prepare the meal sent to me on a particular day. today was that day. i had all the ingredients and without hesitation put this little dish together and found it DELIGHTFUL,filling,tasty. i added chard into the stew,chopped a bit of cilantro and green onions. wished i had a dollop of yogurt,but i call this GOOD! thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Ann06/04/2018 - 1:38 am

    Made this tonight ~ absolutely fantastic. So many good flavours. Only adjustment I made was increasing the cumin to 1 tsp. So good. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Shilpa Kumar07/04/2018 - 9:38 am

    Lovely recipe! HaHa! Spring can seem like a cruel joke in these parts!

    Those mugs you have are gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie09/04/2018 - 5:09 am

    Whenever I feel sick, I’m also craving for some stews like this. They are so healthy and yummy. I have to ask my bf to do it for me tonight xDReplyCancel

  • Kim Hutchinson09/04/2018 - 1:19 pm

    I added a big handful of chopped kale at the end and then topped with lemon juice and fresh dill. Delicious. I especially like the addition of lemon juice and dill. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • […] Et pour changer des ragoûts de lentilles vertes (ma spécialité) un ragoût de lentilles corail &#… (en anglais) (thefirstmess.com) […]ReplyCancel

  • Charlene12/04/2018 - 7:23 pm

    I guess I am in the minority here..made this tonite and it is definitely ‘not a keeper’. Lets just say I am glad we had leftovers in the fridge to fall back on.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy Duckett26/09/2018 - 9:39 pm

    So good! Really hit the spot for a healthy comfort meal. Just made it tonight. Only adjustment was adding a little coconut milk I happened to have in the fridge. It didn’t need it but sounded good. I also didn’t add onion as my teenager hates anything with onion (sigh).ReplyCancel

  • Claire Goldberg08/01/2019 - 9:49 am

    Do you think I could replace the smoked paprika with chipotle pepper in adobo?ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/01/2019 - 5:39 pm

      Yes definitely! Just as long as you enjoy a bit of spice ;)

  • Lindsey18/02/2019 - 11:43 pm

    Just made this tonight, it was absolutely amazing! Added some coconut milk to make it creamy, and some potatoes as well just for fun :) Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Micah24/04/2019 - 3:36 am

    I just made this tonight and tried it over baked potatoes, as suggested. Yum! I definitely recommend it that way. I also added in 8 oz of sliced mushrooms before the lentils. My husband loved it too so I will definitely be making this again.ReplyCancel

  • Danni Liu13/08/2019 - 2:31 pm

    this recipe is so so so tasty ! I cooked it for 30 mins instead of 10, so the lentils becomes mushy creamy , but again so so so good !ReplyCancel

  • Philip Morton16/10/2019 - 1:40 am

    I love this recipe. I’ve been expanding my reportoire to include more legumes and less meat. This one hits the spot. One thing I like to do is to add grilled halloumi cheese to give it a bit more umami.


  • Ciaran Welch30/10/2019 - 5:53 am

    Does the lemon juice go anywhere apart from finishingReplyCancel

    • Laura04/11/2019 - 9:11 am

      It is only stirred in at the end. You have the option to serve the soup with extra lemon wedges as well!

  • Lindsey04/12/2019 - 8:40 pm

    This recipe was delicious! We added two chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, more cumin, TJ’s lemon pepper, and TJ’s garlic salt. Thank you for sharing this recipe. We are trying to add more vegetarian dishes to our menu and this was a hit!ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Tilghman-Lee14/12/2019 - 5:12 pm

    The smoky red lentil stew recipe is perfect! I added collard greens and substituted the salt and pepper with Lawry’s seasoning salt. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • TK12/03/2020 - 7:03 pm

    OMG!! Made this Evening and it was DELLIcious!!!
    Thank You for a Simple Delicious Meal!!ReplyCancel

  • Maria18/04/2020 - 8:52 pm

    Very tasty!
    I will have the leftovers for breakfast, over idli!ReplyCancel

  • Sophia Campbell01/05/2020 - 11:11 am

    Amazing food
    Thank you for sharingReplyCancel

  • Elisa08/06/2020 - 9:12 pm

    Made this tonight because I unexpectedly had a bag of split red lentils. Like you, made the recipe exactly, without fresh herbs, but with some kale past its prime from a recent farm box. Delicious! The squeeze of fresh lemon was especially nice.ReplyCancel

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