Smoky Vegan Lentil Stew
Smoky Vegan Lentil Stew

Two ingredients — smoked salt and smoked paprika — can make a huge flavor shift in this smoky vegan lentil stew. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.

When it comes to vegetarian and vegan cuisine, lentils are one of my favorite ingredients. Lentils are fairly inexpensive, and they’re an absolute workhorse in recipes. I’ve been known to use them as a vegan sloppy joe base, make meatball-like bites, and use them in about fifty different versions of soups, chillies, and stews.

Which lenses to buy

I like to have three different types of lentils on hand: red, brown and black:

  • Red lenses are actually lenses that have been split in half. This makes them crumble and are perfect for creamy stews and curries; this also means they cook the fastest.
  • Brown lentils, like those in this stew, hold their shape but absorb all the flavors and are the most versatile. They can be used in soups, stews, or in something like a lentil bread. When I can find them, I use green lentils as a substitute for brown lentils.
  • Black Lentils are beautiful and I usually reserve them for salads and cereal bowls because they hold their shape and color well.

I use brown lentils in this recipe because they hold up well during the cooking time. These lentils are really the foundation of the stew’s texture.

If you choose bagged lenses, check the date the lenses were packaged or when they expire. If you’re buying from a bulk container, ask how often the products are cycled through and make sure you’re buying lenses that haven’t been stored for more than six months.

Lentils older than a year can be more difficult to cook and often remain crispy even after long cooking.

Smoke it if you have it!

In this lentil stew, the smoky essence of smoked paprika and smoked salt provides the smoky aroma.

I love having both of these ingredients on hand, but it’s really the smoked salt that adds depth — it kinda reminds me of sitting next to a campfire on a chilly night, which is why I love it in this stew. Smoked salt can be purchased at most spice stores or online.

Finally add the tomato paste

Lentils and tomato products don’t always get along – the acidity in tomatoes can prevent the lentils from becoming completely soft, leaving crunchy lentils behind. That’s why I’m saving the tomato paste for last with this lentil soup.

What to serve with this vegan stew

Finally, this stew makes an easy dinner during the cooler months. Serve with a simple side salad and crusty bread.

You can also play around with toppings. More fresh herbs, whole milk yogurt, or even a sprinkling of salty cheeses like feta can be a nice finish. You can also add a dash of Frank’s hot sauce to spice things up if you like.

More Easy Weeknight Soups

  • Broccoli Cheddar Soup
  • Updated Mushroom Barley Soup
  • Pressure Cooker Butternut Squash Soup
  • Yellow Pea Soup
  • Easy Tuscan Bean Soup

Smokey vegan lentil stew

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
30 minutes

total time
40 minutes

4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 medium)

  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots (about 2 large carrots)

  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 to 3 medium sticks)

  • pinch of salt

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 cup diced Yukon golden potatoes (about 1 medium potato)

  • 2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and drained

  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 6 cups vegetable broth or water

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish

  • bread to serve


  1. Cook Vegetables:

    Place a stock pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the onion, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt. Cook until vegetables are tender and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes.

    Stir in the garlic and potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.

  2. Simmer the stew:

    Add lentils, smoked paprika powder, smoked salt, thyme, bay leaf and vegetable stock or water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

    Cook, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 22 to 24 minutes.

  3. Add tomato paste:

    Stir in the tomato paste and lemon juice and cook for a further 5 minutes until the lentils are completely soft. Taste and add more smoked salt if you like.

  4. Surcharge:

    Divide the soup between 4 bowls and garnish with fresh parsley before serving. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!