Winter lentil stew with root vegetables, herbs, and crusty bread

As winter settles in and temperatures drop, there’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of stew to ward off the chill. This winter lentil stew is a wholesome and nourishing meal that brings together the earthy flavors of lentils, root vegetables, and aromatic herbs. Whether enjoyed as a comforting weeknight dinner or served at a festive gathering, this stew is sure to warm both body and soul.

Region and History

Stews have a long and diverse history, with variations found in cuisines around the world. From French pot-au-feu to Indian dal, these hearty one-pot meals have been enjoyed by cultures spanning continents and centuries. This winter lentil stew draws inspiration from these culinary traditions, incorporating seasonal ingredients and aromatic herbs to create a flavorful and satisfying dish.


For the Stew:

  • Brown or green lentils, dried
  • Carrots, diced
  • Celery, diced
  • Onion, diced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Potatoes, diced
  • Parsnips, diced
  • Vegetable broth
  • Bay leaves
  • Thyme, fresh or dried
  • Rosemary, fresh or dried
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For Serving (optional):

  • Crusty bread, sliced
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Lemon wedges

Cooking Instructions

Step 1: Sauté the Aromatics

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the diced onion, minced garlic, diced carrots, and diced celery. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Add the Lentils and Broth

  • Rinse the dried lentils under cold water, then add them to the pot.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth, enough to cover the lentils and vegetables by about an inch.
  • Add the bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3: Simmer the Stew

  • Bring the stew to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it simmer gently for 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils and vegetables are tender.

Step 4: Adjust Seasoning and Serve

  • Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more salt, pepper, or herbs to taste.
  • Ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve hot with slices of crusty bread and lemon wedges on the side.


Can I use canned lentils instead of dried?

While dried lentils are recommended for their texture and flavor, canned lentils can be used as a convenient alternative. Simply rinse and drain them before adding to the stew.

Can I freeze leftovers?

Yes, this stew freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring to airtight containers or freezer bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Can I add other vegetables?

Absolutely! Feel free to customize the stew with your favorite vegetables, such as mushrooms, kale, or turnips. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the vegetables you add.

What can I use if I don’t have fresh herbs?

If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use dried herbs instead. Just remember that dried herbs are more potent than fresh, so use about half the amount called for in the recipe.


This winter lentil stew is a comforting and nourishing dish that’s perfect for cold nights and cozy gatherings. With hearty lentils, flavorful root vegetables, and fragrant herbs, it’s a celebration of the season’s bounty. So gather your ingredients, simmer up a pot of stew, and enjoy the warmth and comfort it brings on a chilly winter day.

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