Hearty Lentil and Mushroom Stew answers comfort food cravings without tons of calories. Full of vegetables, potatoes, fresh herbs in a smoky-sweet broth, it's an easy dish for the cold weather season the whole family loves.
As far as stew recipes go, they don't get easier or more delicious than this vegan mushroom stew. It's a great recipe for hearty meals and tastes even better the next day.
Any kind of mushrooms can be used or a combination. It's an easy recipe and comforting stew perfect for lazy Sunday nights or a dinner party.
Try our Chickpea Vegetable Stew recipe too!
What makes this skinny?
- Loads of vegetables
- Lentils provide lean plant protein which is filling
- Using fat-free stock
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Mushrooms. You'll need 4 cups of sliced mushrooms. We love using Baby Bella mushrooms which are young portobello mushrooms with great flavor. Any mushrooms can be used.
Lentils. Use dry brown or green lentils. Do not use red lentils for this mushroom stew recipe. They disintegrate when cooked where green or brown lentils stay whole.
Tomato sauce. Use canned tomato sauce, not pasta sauce.
Vegetable broth. Use fat-free low-sodium vegetable broth or stock.
Potatoes. Use red potatoes or Yukon gold. They stay firm when cooked. Red potatoes have slightly fewer calories than Yukon Gold but either will work.
How to clean mushrooms
Because mushrooms are porous they'll soak up water so should not be washed like other vegetables for best cooking results. We use two methods:
- Mushroom Brush. This is a soft bristled brush specifically designed to gently remove any dirt particles without damaging the soft texture of the mushroom. These can be found where kitchen tools/gadgets are sold or online.
- Damp paper towel. Dampen a paper towel so it's just damp (not saturated) and gently rub off any dirt. Take care not to damage the soft mushroom.
How to make Mushroom Stew - Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Saute
Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat on the stove top. Add the carrots (photo 1) and sauté until beginning to develop some browning (5 minutes).
Add the onions and sauté until softened (photo 2). Reduce heat to medium and add garlic (photo 3-4). Sauté 30-60 seconds.
Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender (they do not need to be fully cooked)(photos 5-7).
STEP 2. Make the stew
Add the lentils, potato, tomato sauce, smoked paprika, oregano, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, vegetable broth, salt and pepper (photos 8-12). Scrape any browned bits on the pan from sautéing into the soup .
Bring to a simmer, cover and allow to simmer over low heat for 40 minutes or until the potatoes and lentils are tender.
Variations can change the calories and Weight Watchers points so adjust the nutritional values if making substitutes.
Try different mushrooms. We love baby bellas thanks to their flavor but any variety of mushroom will work. Or try a mix of mushrooms: cremini mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, white button mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, shitake mushrooms.
Add more vegetables. Bell pepper (green peppers and red peppers) and green beans are great in this stew. If you have a vegetable you love add it!
Swap sweet potatoes for the regular potatoes. The flavor works great in this hearty mushroom stew and the calories are comparable.
Add meat. This stew is hearty and filling however if you want to add meat, beef stew meat works great. Sear it before sautéing the vegetables and remove it from the pan. Add it back when adding the soup ingredients. And voila, you have a beef stew recipe.
Love tomatoes? Adding tomato sauce creates a tomato-based broth but for more tomato flavor add some tomato paste.
Add some wine. For more flavor some wine can be substituted for some of the vegetable stock. Try a red wine like Pinot Noir.
Change the broth. Chicken broth or beef broth can also be used instead of the vegetable broth. To keep it vegan or vegetarian stick with vegetable broth.
Time Saving Tip
Buy sliced mushrooms. We love a time saving tip and this cuts down on the prep work! Stores sell multiple types of mushrooms cleaned and pre-sliced.
How to Store
Allow the stew to cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezer: place cooled stew in an airtight freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
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Lentil and Mushroom Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium carrots peeled and sliced
- 2 small yellow onions peeled and chopped
- 3 medium garlic cloves
- 4 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 1 cup dry green or brown lentils do not use red lentils
- 2 cups cubed red potato or Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 large sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 cups fat-free low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- The the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and sauté until they begin to develop a golden crust (aproximately 5 minutes).
- Add the onions and sauté until they begin to turn translucent (aproximately 5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften. NOTE: all the vegetables will finish cooking during simmering.
- Add dry lentils, chopped potato, tomato sauce, smoked paprika, dry oregano, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, vegetable broth, salt and pepper. Simmer covered, over medium heat for 40-45 minutes or until both potatoes and lentils are tender.Remove the bay leaves and thyme before serving.