The best soup that I’ve made in a long time: Vegetable Lentil Stew [vegan]


First, goal progress: In bed by 11:30 p.m. Jan 26, Up at 8:30 a.m. Jan 27. In bed by 1:00 a.m. ish Jan 26, Up at 8:55 a.m. Jan 26.

I wasn’t really ready for another batch of lentil soup yet, but it was soup night last night at our VegNet potluck, and I had some French lentils left. I had every intention of making the French Lentil Chili again, but at the last-minute I decided to try a different recipe from Vegan on the Cheap. There were a lot of soups at the potluck, so I didn’t get much feedback on mine, but my husband had some of the batch that I left behind, and said it was the best soup I’d made in a long time. And he doesn’t even like lentils. I made a triple batch so that I’d have plenty for the potluck and some to keep. As a result, it turned out more like a soup than a stew. Any ingredient substitutions or omissions below were because I wanted to use what I had on hand. (Note: It’s a pain in the ass to take hot soup to a potluck. I don’t know what we were thinking. I ended up putting the soup in a crockpot, bungeeing a very thick towel around it, and putting it on the passenger side floor with a bunch of random stuff wedged on top. Luckily, no tragic accident occurred.)

Vegetable Lentil Stew


2 tablespoons olive oil [I’ve been using Canola lately when cooking anything over medium heat or higher]
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried savory
½ teaspoon ground fennel seed [I tried to find the fennel seeds, but I think I ended up using caraway. I used my coffee grinder that is dedicated to flax seed and herbs, etc.]
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
8 ounces brown lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained [I used French lentils and soaked them overnight, even though I know that it’s not supposed to be necessary with lentils. I think I’m becoming a fan of French lentils now, even though they are more expensive.]

6 cups vegetable stock [I used Rapunzel vegan vegetable bouillon plus went heavy on the herbs since I didn’t have any stock available. As I’ve experimented with cooking over the last few years, I’ve tended to play more with recipes, and not be so concerned about following them to a T. That makes it a little harder to duplicate it the next time, but also keeps it interesting. I think I pretty much used the herbs in the recipe plus a liberal dose of “herbes de provence” that I got at World Market (marjoram, savory, thyme, rosemary, basil, fennel, sage, lavender.) Because of the lavender, this mix just doesn’t work for everything, but I think it went well with this recipe. I may also have added a little nutmeg. Hmm, should write these things down.]
¼ to ½ cup dry red wine (optional)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes [I like to use Trader Joe’s diced & fire roasted organic tomatoes with organic green chiles. I often add a can of this to my soups]
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped [I used a large sweet potato]
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped [I omitted this because I didn’t have one on hand]
1 celery rib, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups finely chopped cabbage [I omitted this because I didn’t have any on hand]

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 5 minutes. Stir in the savory, fennel, thyme, paprika, lentils, and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the wine, if using, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, parsnip, and celery. Add salt and pepper. Increase the heat to bring back to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the cabbage. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Simmer for about 20 minutes longer or until the vegetables and lentils are tender. Serve hot.

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