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Red Lentil Stew Mediterranean Style

by on October 14, 2022
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Fall arrives and the only thing I want to eat is warm, cozy meals like this one! This red lentil stew checks all the boxes. It’s equally hardy as it is savoury and salty. The olives, oregano and tomatoes give it a mediterranean flavour you’ll love.  Plus, it’s vegan and a one-pot dish!

Red lentil stew in a stainless steel pot with a wooden spoon in it and cloth napkin on the side.

For my gardeners, this is a great stew if you’re looking for a way to make the most of your veggie harvest.

The recipe serves 4-5 people and can easily be doubled for freezing. To freeze, simply transfer cooled stew to a glass or air tight container. Keep it in the freezer for 4-5 months.

This way, you’ll be able to enjoy your garden veggies in the middle of Winter!

Red Lentil Stew Vegetable Substitutions

I always include substitutes in my recipes so you can give my dishes your own twist with the ingredients you have on hand.

Here’s a few vegetable substitute ideas if you need to make tweaks to this red lentil stew recipe.

  • Sub zucchini for eggplant. The soft texture of both vegetables make them easily interchangeable.
  • Change out Roma tomatoes for whole cherry tomatoes. Skip chopping them and instead toss into the stew whole. They’ll break down and add to the broth. Or, wait and add them at the end so they hold their shape. They’ll add great texture to the stew.
  • Toss in some garden potatoes as either a replacement for carrots or in addition. Cook potatoes as you would the carrots, adding them first to the stew so they cook the longest.
  • Replace Better Than Bouillon with vegetable stock. Homemade stock, if you have! However, I swear by Better Than Bouillon and use it weekly. It’s a seasoned vegetable base that comes in a jar and stores in the pantry for weeks at a time. It’s worth the purchase!
  • If you like a thicker tomato sauce, add 1-2 tbsp of tomato paste.
  • Add extra olives and brine for a saltier stew. I like to keep some olives to use as garnish as well!
  • Other great garnishes instead of chives — fresh basil, fresh oregano or chopped kale (massage the kale with a little olive oil and it works great as a salad on the side).

How To Properly Cook Red Lentils For Stew

Compared to brown, green and black lentils, red lentils cook the quickest. They can be fully cooked in as little as 20 minutes on high heat.

Red lentils are especially great in stews and curries as they get slightly mushy when cooked through. Their flavour is nutty and rich. So tasty!

The first step in cooking red lentils is to thoroughly rinse them. Place your dry lentils in a strainer in the sink. Run cold water over them, moving the strainer around until all lentils are rinsed.

For this recipe, transfer to a bowl and set aside until you’re ready to add them to your stew.

When you’re ready to cook, transfer lentils to a medium sized pot.

The ideal ratio for cooking lentils is 2:1.

  • 2 to 2 1/2 parts liquid, such as  water and/or vegetable broth.
  • 1 part lentils

In your pot, mix lentils and liquid until thoroughly combined. Set element to medium-high heat, cover pot and bring to a boil.

It will take anywhere from 6-10 minutes to boil depending on the heat of your stove. Stir occasionally to avoid the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low, stir again and then let simmer covered for another 5 minutes. If lentils have absorbed all the water, simply add in another 1/4 cup at a time.

For red lentils, you’ll typically need a little extra liquid since they get mushy as they cook.

You’ll know your red lentils are ready to eat when they are soft and a porridge-like consistency.

How to Store Red Lentil Stew

Black measuring cup pouring olives into red lentil stew

This red lentil stew stores great in the fridge for up to 10 days. Keep in a glass container or air tight Tupperware.

Before placing in fridge, transfer stew to container and let cool on the counter.

To freeze the stew, follow the same steps.

All ingredients in this stew keep well in the freezer for up to 5 months. Likely even longer!  Just make sure your container is freezer safe and won’t crack or explode.


Happy harvest, happy cooking, happy eating!

More Easy Plant-Based Recipes:

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Lentil stew in bowls with tomatoes on the side and chive garnish

Red Lentil Stew Mediterranean Style

  • Author: Maggie
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Diet: Vegan


Warming and hearty, this red lentil vegan stew is perfect for Fall and Winter days.


Units Scale

1 medium-sized yellow or green zucchini

2 small yellow onions

2 large cloves of garlic crushed

2 large carrots

5 medium-sized Roma tomatoes

1 cup of dry red lentils rinsed

3 1/2 cups of water

1 tbsp of Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base

2 tbsp of olive brine

1/4 cup of sliced green olives

1 tbsp of oregano

1/2 tbsp of cumin

1 tbsp of smoked paprika (regular paprika works great too)

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of ground black pepper

1/2 tsp of red pepper chilli flakes (optional)

2 tbsp of fresh chives for garnish (optional)


1. Wash and dice into small cubes the zucchini, onions, carrots and olives. Roughly chop tomatoes into bite sized pieces. The tomatoes will breakdown as they cook and create a paste in your stew. Set all chopped veg aside.

2. Place a medium-sized pot on your element at medium-high heat. Add in 1 cup of water, onions and garlic. Gently sauté until aromatics begin to turn translucent (about 5-7 minutes).

3. Stir in the Better Than Bouillon, oregano and cumin.

4. Add carrots and let simmer for another 3-5 minutes.

5. Add red lentils, zucchini, tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.

6. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low, letting stew cook covered for 7-10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on your pot to ensure it doesn’t boil over.

7. After 7-10 minutes, uncover the pot and stir stew to ensure no lentils have stuck to the bottom.  If carrots are still hard, cover and cook on low for another 3-5 minutes.

8. Reduce heat and stir in your last 1/2 cup of water, olives, olive brine, paprika, red pepper chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Taste and season more to your preference as needed.

9. Use a ladle to transfer the stew to serving bowls. Garnish with chopped chives and serve with fresh bread. Delish!


  • If lentils have absorbed most of the water after cooking, simply keep adding in 1/4 cup of water at a time until stew is at a consistency you like.
  • This recipe is a great way to use up any garden veg you’ve harvested. Eggplant, potatoes and peppers would also go great in this stew as substitutes or additions.

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