This rich, thick stew will taste like you spent hours making it, but it comes together quickly with frozen vegetables and canned lentils.
I’d hoped to be sharing a Halloween recipe with you, but life has been getting in the way of cooking lately.
The other night I went into the kitchen to make a last-minute dinner of my Dirty Little Secret Soup but wound up making so many changes that it took on an entirely new character. I had about 2/3 of a cup of leftover pumpkin puree that I wanted to use up, so I changed the other ingredients and seasonings to complement it. And do you know what happens when you add pumpkin and quinoa to soup? It thickens so much that it’s not soup anymore but stew!
The recipe is ridiculously easy because I used frozen vegetables and canned lentils, but if you want to do it the slow way, chop your own veg and cook your own lentils. I’m sure fresh ingredients will make this flavorful and deeply satisfying stew even more delicious.
P.S. I may still get around to creating a Halloween dish, but until then, check the bottom of this post for links to vegan Halloween treats.
Ridiculously Easy Lentil and Vegetable Stew
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic cloves minced
- 2 12-ounce packages frozen vegetables* (or 2 pounds fresh vegetables cut in bite-sized pieces)
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
- 1 15-ounce can cooked lentils (or 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils and cooking liquid)
- 4 cups vegetable broth or “no-chicken” broth
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
- 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/3 cup quinoa rinsed very well
- 2/3 cup pumpkin (canned or cooked and water pressed out)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cook the onion in a large, non-stick Dutch oven until it begins to brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add next 7 ingredients and cook until vegetables thaw and broth begins to boil.
- Add quinoa and cook on medium heat until it is tender, about 15 minutes. Add pumpkin and salt and pepper to taste and cook for 5 more minutes, adding a little water if it seems too thick. Serve hot, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Nutritional info is approximate.
For a Spooktacular Vegan Halloween:
- Spooky Black Bean Hummus on this blog
- Pumpkin Cookies on this blog
- Witches Fingers at Novel Eats
- Ghastly Tortilla Chips & Ghoul-camole at Manifest Vegan
- An Orange and Black Halloween Menu from Robin Robertson
- Two Savory Halloween Treats at VegSpinz
- Healthy Halloween Cookie Dough Balls from Oh She Glows
- Healthy Raw Halloween Recipes at Happy Raw Kitchen
- Raw Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes at Rawdorable
Please pin and share!
CatMarch 19, 2011 at 9:53 am
Ok. I´ve just finished doing this amazing recipe and once I did the final tasting I knew I had to come here and leave a comment. I’m not a great cook, In fact I’m very well known for my kitchen disasters but this amazing stew came out perfectly and it is very very tasty. I played a little with the spices and it is amaziing. Sorry for the excitement guys, but this is one of my first kitchen successes. Thank you so much Susan. 🙂
CarolynApril 12, 2011 at 11:06 pm
This was so good! I’ve been struggling to get my 4 year old to eat her veggies lately, but she ate them tonight in this stew! She had seconds of this and practically licked her bowl clean each time. I’ll serve this for lunch tomorrow, too. I’ll be putting this in the menu rotation, for sure.
I made a couple of modifications to my recipe. I actually used 1 cup of dry lentils, cooked (the small orange ones because I couldn’t find the regular ones), and you hardly knew that there were lentils in this because they disintegrated. Actually I think that I’m the only one who knew, which is good because usually my family balks at the idea of lentils in any of our meals. I also used two jars of squash babyfood instead of the pumpkin since that’s what I had in my pantry, plus my husband is allergic to pumpkin but not squash.
KristenOctober 2, 2011 at 11:11 pm
I made this tonight, and not only was it delicious, but I learned something new and very important: there is such a thing as canned lentils!!! I’ve never seen them where I shop and had no idea they existed. I’ve always hated cooking dry lentils (or dry beans of any sort)–I just don’t have the patience for it. So when I found the canned lentils on Amazon, I bought a case of 12. That was only a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve already used half of them! 🙂
LynneOctober 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm
Loved this recipe. I used a little less broth and served it over baked tortilla strips. OMB I went back for more. You have the best recipes. Thanks so much
DominiqueOctober 29, 2011 at 10:46 am
This sounds absolutely delicious. I just have one question: where I live it’s not easy to get canned pumpkin, in fact I’ve never seen it anywhere. Can you substitute it or just leave it out in this recipe? Thanks!
DominiqueOctober 29, 2011 at 10:48 am
Obviously I could get an actual pumpkin, but that would make this recipe a lot less ridiculously easy. 😉
SusanVOctober 29, 2011 at 11:00 am
True! To keep it ridiculously easy, you could leave it out or chop up some winter squash (which isn’t exactly easy but would taste good.)
DominiqueOctober 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm
Good idea, thank you!
Angela HornSeptember 9, 2012 at 5:37 am
Sweet potato works well as a squash/pumpkin substitute. I peel and dice then pop it in a covered dish in the microwave for a few minutes with a little water, until it’s soft, then add to the stew.
braelinOctober 31, 2011 at 9:23 pm
Excellent and easy- thanks, Susan!
AbraNovember 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm
I made this tonight for my family. I am the only one eating vegan and loved it. My husband liked it well enough to take for lunch tomorrow. My kids on the other hand not so much. Oh well, what do they know. :). I will make it again for sure
chamaeleonskyDecember 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm
I don’t see anywhere in the recipe instructions for when to put the lentils in!!
Susan VoisinDecember 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm
“Add next 7 ingredients and cook….” The lentils are third. 🙂
chamaeleonskyDecember 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm
ashlieJanuary 3, 2012 at 10:20 am
Just had this for lunch – it was delicious and very warming on a 20 degree Ohio winter day! I made mine in my slow cooker. I didn’t have the vegetables on hand but it was still really good anyway. And I love the texture the pumpkin gives. Next time if I don’t have the veggies I’ll probably double the tomatoes.
GillJanuary 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm
This recipe is fantastic had it for dinner tonight having the rest for lunch tomorrow – cant wait!
Andrea AJanuary 25, 2012 at 8:32 am
Can I use dried lentils? I don’t have canned….
Susan VoisinJanuary 25, 2012 at 8:42 am
Yes, just cook them first and then measure out a cup and a half to use in this recipe.
Andrea AJanuary 25, 2012 at 9:16 am
could you cook them with the soup?
Susan VoisinJanuary 25, 2012 at 9:24 am
You could put them on after the onions–use 3/4 cup of dry lentils–with the vegetable broth. Cook for 20 minutes or so then proceed with the quinoa and the rest of the recipe. Let me know how it works please!
AlmielJanuary 31, 2013 at 11:26 am
I did something similar to this last night. I threw my onions into the pot then added ½ cup green lentils, 1½ cups water and let them simmer 15-20 minutes, then proceeded with the recipe.
I used bulgur and fresh cilantro as subs for quinoa (I’m out) and the Mex. oregano. Came out fabulous. I could make this one a regular. Oh, and I used the frozen Mexican blend of veggies + frozen green beans. I love flexible recipes! I bet red lentils would be good in this too. 🙂
shirleyJanuary 25, 2012 at 10:17 am
If I were to use fresh vegetables would I wait for them to be cooked before adding the quinoa?
Susan VoisinJanuary 25, 2012 at 10:49 am
No, I would just add them, bring to a boil, and add the quinoa. You may need more water/broth than I did with frozen veggies.
nicoleFebruary 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm
Just wondering, do you drain the canned lentils and canned tomatoes before adding them?
Susan VoisinFebruary 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm
No, both go into the pot undrained.
ChristinaMarch 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm
This was so hearty and tasty!!! Very easy too…..could have been easier if I could find canned lentils :-(. I’ve looked everywhere and could not find them so I had to cook them myself. Do they even make lentils in a can other than lentil soup??
Staci @ ClickandCookRecipesMay 16, 2012 at 8:36 am
Hi Susan! I love the idea of this soup, but I’m living in Saudi right now and can’t find pumpkin anywhere. So, what else could I do to make it just as tasty? They have actual pumpkins here (small ones) but I’ve never cooked one. I can also get butternut squash. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!
Susan VoisinMay 16, 2012 at 9:11 am
Staci, it’s so easy to cook a pumpkin or butternut squash! Then you could mash it up and use it in the recipe. You can bake, steam, or even microwave it until it’s soft, let it cool, and then scrape it out of the shell with a spoon. How long you have to cook it will depend on its size, so do a google search of your preferred preparation method to get some idea of cooking temperature and time. Good luck!
Angela HornSeptember 9, 2012 at 5:33 am
I love this – and I’m not even a vegetarian, let alone a vegan! I love the fact that it’s flexible, and so filling. Here in the UK you don’t see tinned pumpkin in the shops, but I use any type of squash (fresh, peeled and chopped up then microwaved in a covered dish with a little water for about 5-10 mins until it’s soft – much quicker if you do this before adding to stew, otherwise cooking in the stew takes 45 mins or so). Sometimes I substitute sweet potato for the pumpkin/squash – again, microwave it first to radically reduce cooking time. Love it with fresh coriander leaves on top (aka Cilantro in the USA). And for non-vegans, a little crumbled feta cheese on top goes well.
Not sure which lentils you recommend, but I’ve made this with both green lentils and red lentils. The bonus of the red lentils is that they can be put in dry and will cook in the stew if you leave it for 30 minutes or so.
Thank you so very much for this great blog – I’m doing more meat-free meals for my family and it’s a wonderful resource.
brookeSeptember 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm
THIS IS SOOOOO good! Just made it for dinner and it’s absolutely delicious!
G. DolbyOctober 22, 2012 at 12:00 am
yuummmmmyyy!! I did cauliflower and collard greens 😀
Barb RombergNovember 4, 2012 at 10:54 am
Question…could barley be substituted for quinoa and still taste good?
Susan VoisinNovember 4, 2012 at 11:00 am
Sure, it will taste fine, but I suggest that you cook it before adding it to the stew. It takes much longer to cook than quinoa, and the rest of the stew will be ready before the barley is cooked.
CherylNovember 4, 2012 at 7:51 pm
Love this recipe, used fresh vegetables instead and baked in the oven after inside of a pumpkin. Huge hit with the kids.
Angela HornNovember 7, 2012 at 4:31 am
Found another lovely addition to this stew, which has become one of my family staples: sun-dried tomatoes. I used the dried ones, which last forever and are much cheaper than the ones in oil. I cut them into small pieces and add to the stew. It adds a richness to the flavour and makes the colour more red-brown. We like this with chili powder too.
In the UK, Iceland and Tesco both do frozen mediterranean veg mixes which go well with this. I always add some extra courgette and a butternut squash.
MaryDecember 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm
This is scrumptious!
SusanMarch 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm
Just found this website a couple of weeks ago and absolutely love this stew – had it 4
times already! Instead of the frozen vegetables we put in fresh carrots, turnip, parsnip, cauliflower and broad beans. Also made little dumplings to cook on top of the stew. Thank you so much for the recipe.
roberta TrewSeptember 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm
This is a delicious recipe. I didn’t have cumin so I subbed Anise the first
time around. Today I am making it with dried lentils and subbing fennel
for the cumin. My husband is wild about the this, and I am, too.
firstname.lastname@example.orgOctober 26, 2013 at 9:24 am
I am definitely going to try this recipe this weekend! My husband & I are first time vegans and your website is a godsend! We’ve already tried your Korean Inspired Black-eyed Peas & Kale Bowl, Sausage-flavored Breakfast Beans & Grits, and Thai-style Vegetable Curry! All we can say is Yummy!!!!
Keep them coming! Thank you very much!
RebeccaFebruary 24, 2014 at 6:24 pm
I just made this stew this evening–it was awesome and so filling. I added some leftover whole-wheat fusilli. It’s such a perfect, delicious meal for a cold winter day like today.
KatieAugust 24, 2014 at 2:09 pm
I really loved this recipe! I used zucchini, green peas, sweet potato, and green beans. I forgot to put the oregano in, but it was still so flavourful. I will definitely make this again and again 🙂 Thank you for sharing
MollyOctober 12, 2014 at 5:13 pm
This looks great! I see the nutrition info but am a little confused. Is 180 calories for a cup?
Susan VoisinOctober 12, 2014 at 5:31 pm
It’s for a whole bowl or 1/6th of the recipe. How much that come out to be will vary depending on how much liquid boils off and other factors, but I would guesstimate about 1 1/2 to 2 cups per serving.
LizaMay 25, 2015 at 12:34 pm
Really enjoyed it, thanks! We live in South Africa and quinoa is really expensive here. What can I use as substitute? Bulgar wheat, couscous or something else?
Secondly, can I freeze this?
Susan VoisinMay 25, 2015 at 2:52 pm
Bulgar, couscous, millet–all are good substitutes. It should freeze just fine.
Leo SighAugust 15, 2015 at 10:43 pm
Just wanted to tell you I made this last night for dinner and it was SO good. And I still have enough left over for lunch and dinner again tonight. May even make it tomorrow and eat it again 🙂 Low calorie too.
ChenSeptember 7, 2015 at 6:07 am
Hi Susan. Is the pumpkin pureed or chopped? Trying to make this today. TIA!
Susan VoisinSeptember 7, 2015 at 8:27 am
It should be mashed or puréed after cooking, similar to canned pumpkin. Hope you enjoy it!
ChenSeptember 9, 2015 at 6:39 am
Thank you for the response Susan! I decided to get a fresh butternut squash and diced some and microwaved them for a few minutes. Then I roasted the rest of the squash for my snacks. Hubby and I both love the stew!
KimJanuary 4, 2016 at 11:43 pm
Made this tonight, it was really good. I used fresh veggies, including sweet potato. I didn’t add pumpkin as I don’t like it. Will be making this again! Thank you for a really easy, nutritious recipe.
MarthaApril 13, 2016 at 4:10 am
I’d like to save this recipe to my Pinterest account, but don’t see a pin link. I already follow you, and I just want to pin this recipe on my page. How do I do that?
MarthaApril 13, 2016 at 4:12 am
Oh, the Pinterest link just popped up. I’m good to go. Thanks,
Susan VoisinApril 13, 2016 at 7:42 am
I’m glad you found it! The Pin It button that appears over the photo has been weird this week, sometimes showing up a couple of inches above the photo, or not at all. I also have a Pinterest button at the top and bottom of each post, in the line with the other social media buttons, so if you ever have this problem again, just click that and you can choose which image you want to pin. Thanks for sharing!
LouiseDecember 22, 2016 at 5:49 pm
Thanks so much for this recipe! It’s a winner and will be in my regular rotation. I changed it just a bit using 1 lb frozen Mediterranean vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, carrots) and about 6 oz frozen chopped kale. I try to get greens in wherever I can. Also used cooked quinoa so I reduced the liquid by 1 cup. It thickened up nicely even with the pre-cooked quinoa. I can see that the variations are endless.
JenSeptember 16, 2020 at 5:46 pm
This was ridiculously good! :). I had fresh veggies so I used green beans, 1/2 cauliflower head, 2 carrots (all cut bite sized). I didn’t have hot smoked paprika (but I had smoked paprika) so I added 4-5 shakes of cayenne pepper and it added a nice kick. I happened to have a sweet potato that I baked previously so I mashed that up and added it instead of pumpkin. Really nice recipe. I’ll be making it again. Thank you!
Hilary MJuly 1, 2022 at 12:43 pm
I have not enjoyed food as much as this in simply ages! Absolutely delicious. I didn’t add quinoa or pumpkin, but had lentils, chicken stock, tinned tomato’s, half a pepper, cumin, and onion and some watercress with spinach. It seems to me this is a fabulous basic recipe and you can add in anything you have to hand. I will definitely make this again and I expect my meat loving husband would even enjoy this!