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Lentil stew with browned onions recipe

Lentil stew with browned onions recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Main course
  • Stew and casserole
  • Vegetarian

A comforting and nutritious vegetarian main course served topped with succulent, lightly caramelised onions.

12 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled, quartered lengthways, then thinly sliced crossways
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 75g fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 125g red split lentils
  • 227g can chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 150g frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:35min ›Ready in:45min

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the carrots and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.
  2. Stir in the mushrooms and lentils, then add the tomatoes with their juice, the stock, cumin, ginger and sage. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add the peas and cook in the stew for the last 5 minutes of the cooking time.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, sprinkle over the sugar and cook for 15–20 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned.
  4. Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper, then serve hot with the onions heaped on top.


For a more substantial dish, crumble some cheese over the top to serve. Goat's cheese, feta or grated Gruyère would all be suitable.

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Reviews in English (1)

delicious-28 Jan 2013

Roasted Eggplant and Lentil Stew

I’m not an eggplant person, and most of the time I do everything I can to avoid them. But, the other day I saw a pretty purple one sitting so lonely at the grocery store that I picked it up and brought it home. It sat in my fridge for about a week before I decided what to do with it.

Roast it? Sure. Puree it? Yes, because I don’t want to know I’m eating it. Use it in a soup? That sounds about right. I know that roasting an eggplant will bring out a light umami flavor that pairs well with browned onions and earthy spices like cumin and chili powder. This soup is a fusion of modern flavors and rustic nostalgia of cold winter nights after a day of ice skating. Creamy and simple with complexity created by the combination of lentils, browned onions, and eggplant puree.


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 14 oz full fat coconut milk (not coconut cream)
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbl soy sauce (can omit and use 2 total tsp salt instead)
  • 4 Tbl cumin
  • 1 tsp adobo chili powder (can substitute for smoked paprika)
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • *Optional: dairy free sour cream, cilantro, green onion tops, toasted walnut


Slice eggplant longitudinally (AKA, in half the long way) and and place on baking sheet flesh side up. Cut carrots either coined or large chunks and place on same baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes.

*Another method to cook is to slice the eggplant into thick strips and roast at 320F for 20 min in an airfryer. Once cooled, cut the roasted eggplant into small chunks so that they blend smooth after boiling in the stock step of the recipe. I used both racks in my GoWise airfryer oven so that the eggplant strips had some space between.

Set carrots aside to be added to finished soup. Let eggplant cool before handling it. Scoop out as much flesh, and seeds, as possible without also scooping into the skin. You can also cut the eggplant, including the skin, and boil it all with the stock. Some think the skin adds bitterness however, I haven’t found it to be bitter in this recipe.

In an 8 quart stock pot heat the vegetable stock to a boil. Lower to simmer and add lentils. Cover, and let cook for 20-30 minutes, until lentils are soft but still retain their shape. Cooking for too long will break them down too much. While the lentils are cooking begin the next step.

Peel and slice onions and garlic. You will be pureeing these so how you slice them isn’t important. Saute the onions and garlic over medium heat until browned but not burned. You may have to add some water as you saute so that they don’t burn. This browning process is important for the flavor of the soup, so don’t skip it. Will take 7-10 minutes. Add roasted eggplant, onions and garlic, coconut milk, salt, and soy sauce to blender, or use immersion blender, and puree for 2-3 minutes. This cream sauce should be completely pureed.

Once lentils are finished cooking add in the tomatoes, cumin chili powder, and bring to a simmer. Pour in the eggplant cream sauce and the carrots. Heat fully and serve!

This stew is best served with a dollop of dairy free sour cream and a few leaves of cilantro and green onion tops. You don’t want to overpower the stew with too much of these bright flavors, but they do offer a pleasant contrast to the earthy and warming flavors. Any additions will change the nutrient information provided below.

8 servings | Nutrient information provided using LoseIt! App

  • 244 Calories per bowl
  • 11.8 g Total fat
  • 0 mg Cholesterol
  • 665.5 mg Sodium
  • 29.8 g Total Carbs: 9 g Fiber, 5.6 g Sugars
  • 7 g Protein

Hand modeling provided by my 4 year old son. After his first bite he said, “I absolutely love this!” However, he did eat a raisin off the floor shortly after and said he liked that too.

Lentil Bredie (Cape Malay Lentil Stew)

This is one of dishes our mums and aunts cooked for us while growing up. Memories are our mum, grandmother or an aunt giving us, kids, a bowel containing dry lentils to sort.

The process was taking a handful of lentils out of the bowl onto the kitchen table and sorting by hand the good lentils into a new pile, from the bad looking lentils, small stones or little branches. After this, all the good lentils were thoroughly washed a few times through a colander, the cleaned lentils were placed in a large stock pot, then covered with water and cooked for an hour or until the lentils were almost soft or half-cooked.

Only after this lengthy process, would we be ready to cook this dish.

Today however, for all the working mums, all we need to do is purchase a tin or two of lentils, this is pre-cooked, almost soft and ready to go to complete this dish…

3-4 Tablespoons Cooking oil, Vegetable or Olive oil
500g Lamb Pieces, one (though for me this is optional, traditionally most will say you cannot leave it out)
2 Finely chopped onions
1 chopped finely tomato or 2 Tablespoons diced Tin Tomatoes
1.5 Teaspoons Jeera Powder
1 Teaspoons Coriander Powder
1 – 2 Chopped Chillies (usually green, however red is fine as well) – optional
2 Cups Brown Lentils or 2 Tins of Brown Lentils
4 Medium Sized Potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Salt to taste

Dry lentils:
If you are using the dry lentils, place the lentils in a pot covered with water and cook until the lentils are half cooked. Strain and set aside.

Tin lentils:
Strain and set aside.

Cooking Method:
Fry the onions in the oil in a heavy-based saucepan until golden brown.

Then add the meat until the meat is browned, not burned.

Add a little water to cover the onions and reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer until the meat is tender (give or take about half hour to an hour), maintaining water in the pot, so that the meat does not burn.

(For Vegetarians or Vegans, like me leave out the meat and go straight onto the next step).

Add the tomato, lentils, potatoes, and spices, let all this simmer until the potatoes are soft.
You may add water if required.

German-Style Sweet & Sour Lentil Stew

  • 1½ cups (300gms) green or brown lentils
  • 6 cups (1.5litres) low-sodium beef or chicken broth
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large stalks celery (or 1 cup grated or finely diced celeriac/celery root)
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 3 or 4 links of smoked bratwurst or other smoked sausage (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced into rings
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Rinse the lentils in a seive, then soak them, covered by several inches of water, for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

soaked large green lentils

and combine th em with the broth in a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are just tender, but not mushy. Test by tasting or squishing one between thumb and finger to see how soft it is.

While the lentils are cooking, peel and grate or finely dice the carrots. Finely dice the celery (or shred or dice the celeriac). You should have about 1 generous heaping cup of each.

Peel and dice the potatoes into ½ inch (1 cm) cubes.

Add the vegetables to the lentils. Season with the salt, pepper and thyme.

Bring the vegetables back to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes more, making sure all the vegetables are submerged under the simmering broth.

While the vegetables are simmering, heat a skillet with the oil. Slice the sausage into coins, then saute them in the oil until browned on one side. Turn the slices over to brown the other side. Remove the sausages slices to a plate, leaving the fat from the sausages in the skillet.

Add the sliced onions to the skillet and saute them until some of the edges caramelize and turn a deep brown. Add a few tablespoons water to the skillet to loosen the browned bits from the sausages, and continue cooking the onions until they are golden brown and the water has evaporated.

When the vegetables are tender, add the honey and red wine vinegar to the stew, stirring gently to distribute it. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if it needs it. Add the sausages and onions to the pot, and stir once more, gently so you don’t break up the lentils. Remove the thyme sprigs if you see them surface.

Ladle into flat bowls to serve. Lentil Eintopf goes wonderfully with a crusty chunk of bread and a cold German beer (or for gluten-free, a slice of gluten-free bread and a chilled glass of Sekt).

Makes 4 hearty servings. (The leftovers are wonderful to pack for lunch the next day and reheat in the microwave, to make your coworkers drool.)


  1. In a 12-inch (30 cm) pan or skillet, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Add remaining oil to the skillet and stir in the onions. Sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, and paprika. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add broth, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in lentils and bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add potatoes and cook, covered, for another 10-15 minutes until the potatoes and lentils are tender, but not mushy.
  5. Add cooked sausage, greens, corn, parsley, and lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide stew among bowls and sprinkle with Feta.

Quick tip: Look for good quality chicken or turkey farmer's sausage that has already been cooked. It is often labeled as "heat and serve".
- You can substitute chili powder for smoked paprika.
- The corn in this recipe can be roasted, canned (and rinsed), or frozen (and thawed).

Lentils, Rice, Caramelized Onions and a Dinner to Remember

Adapted from a Middle Eastern mujadara, this streamlined take falls somewhere between a soup and a stew.

Today’s pantry dish is a hearty one, built on a solid foundation of lentils and rice topped with golden fried onions. Adapted from a Middle Eastern mujadara, this streamlined version is brothier than the original, somewhere between a soup and a stew. Simmered together in one pot, it’s faster and more flexible, using any kind of lentils, rice and allium you’ve got on hand.

To make it, heat a slick of oil or other fat in a medium saucepan. I used a combination of olive oil and duck fat. Add sliced onions, shallots or leeks — the more the merrier. The browned onions are the best part of this dish, so you really can’t overdo it, but just know that the more onions you add, the longer they will take to caramelize. I used two shallots and two small onions, because that’s what I had, but in a perfect world, I’d use one giant white onion, thinly sliced.

Add a pinch of salt, and sauté until the onions turn golden brown, 15 to 25 minutes. Watch them carefully, especially toward the end of cooking. If they are cooking too quickly, turn down the heat. If they’re not getting brown, crank it. Some dark brown strands mixed in with the golden ones are OK, but you don’t want them to burn. When they are done, transfer half of them to a plate and add a couple of thinly sliced garlic cloves to the ones left in the pot. Sauté the garlic until fragrant, about a minute, then add 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, if you have it, and a pinch of cayenne, and sauté for a few seconds to toast the spices and bring out their flavor. If you have any herbs sprigs — thyme, oregano or rosemary — add them to the pot. Otherwise, add a large pinch of dried herbs.

Now add 5 cups broth or water (or a combination), and bring to a simmer. Add enough olive oil and salt to the liquid so that it tastes good. Then add 1 cup rinsed lentils (any kind) and let simmer, partly covered, until they are almost but not quite done, about 25 to 30 minutes for green or brown lentils, and 15 to 20 for red lentils.

Add 3/4 cups rinsed rice to the pot and continue to simmer until everything is very tender, another 18 to 25 minutes.

As it cooks, keep an eye on it. If the mixture looks too thick, cover the pot, or add more liquid. If it seems too thin and soupy, turn up the heat and boil off some of the liquid. The consistency is up to you.

When all is tender and lovely, taste it and add lots of salt, pepper and some kind of acid — lemon juice, vinegar or sumac — for brightness. Top with the reserved golden onions and serve this in bowls, drizzled with your best olive oil, and garnished with red-pepper flakes, chopped fresh herbs, if you have some, and flaky salt. Without the garnish, it’s a drab-looking dish. But even unadorned, the earthy flavors of the lentils combined with those sweet golden onions will shine bright.

How to Cook Mujaddara

Here’s what you should know before you get started:

This mujaddara recipe is awesome because you can cook the rice and lentils in the same pot! The trick is to let the rice cook for about 10 minutes before adding the lentils. This easy cooking method is a game changer, and I’m sure you’ll see it again soon.

While the lentils and rice simmer, you’ll start caramelizing the onions. Whether you want soft caramelized onions (shown in photos) or more crispy caramelized onions (more traditional), your mujaddara will turn out great.

For softer onions, just reduce the heat to medium-low after 10 minutes at medium-high. For more crisp onions, leave the heat at medium-high the whole time and stir minimally, just every few minutes when the onions are starting to brown. With either method, cook until the onions are deeply caramelized and loaded with flavor. You can’t go wrong!

Once your components are done, spread them across a large serving platter. Serve with a bowl of yogurt on the side. Its creamy, rich texture and tangy flavor unites the pilaf and onions.

I also love serving my mujaddara with a fresh and spicy sauce, such as shatta (shown in photos) or zhoug. Those are both made with jalapeños and fresh herbs. Store-bought chili-garlic sauce is a good option, too. If you want a more mild flavor boost, try a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes.

Watch How to Make Mujadara

10 Healthy Vegan Lentil Recipes

A roundup of some of my extremely delicious yet wholesome vegan lentil recipes.

Whether you’re looking for an Indian dal or fragrant lentil curry or an indulgent yet wholesome lentil bolognese, shepherd’s pie, or lentil soup, this list of recipes is full of cooking inspiration!

Say goodbye to boring, plain lentils and explore the delightful world of healthy yet delicious lentils!

Since many of us have stocked up on lentils in the last few months, I figured it was time to round up some delicious yet healthy vegan lentil recipes! If you’re boiling lentils in plain old water, here are 10 inspired ideas for making lentils taste amazing!

While these recipes are all vegan, gluten-free, and all made with wholesome ingredients, they certainly don’t taste “healthy” and don’t sacrifice on flavor!

And if you want to learn my three favorite ways to cook lentils with tons of flavor, be sure to check out this video on Youtube!

There’s also a corresponding PDF guide all about lentils that goes along with the video – it includes info on the various types of lentils and when to use them, the full printable recipes from the vide, and more! Click here to sign up for the PDF!

Ingredients for Lentil Stew with Smoked Sausage

  • Andouille sausage. You will need about 14 ounces to a pound of Cajun andouille for this stew. See the section below for clarification on the different types of andouille. Also note that Cajun andouille sausage is spicy due to the cayenne it is made with. You can always use a smoked sausage like kielbasa instead.
  • Olive oil.For maximum flavor choose extra virgin. You will sauté with part of it and stir the rest into the cooked stew for a burst of fresh floral, spicy notes.
  • Onion, carrots, celery, garlic and tomato paste. To make the base for the stew.
  • Lentils.Green or brown lentils will work best in this recipe.
  • Beer/wine and broth. To deglaze and add flavor choose a dry but flavorful beer (we like to use a Belgian amber ale or a saison)or a dry red or white wine. Alternatively, deglaze with broth. For the bulk of the stew liquid if you have pork broth on hand – it works perfectly, otherwise chicken or vegetable.
  • Herbs, spices and condiments.Bay leaf, thyme and rosemary – you can use fresh or dry. We recommend that you use fresh rosemary – add the whole sprigs to the stew so that you can easily remove them at the end. Flavor with chopped fresh rosemary before serving. A dollop of Dijon mustard, if folded into the stew at the end, brings a lot of umami. A bit of sherry vinegar or a similar mild vinegar is optional, but highly recommended.

Tiffin Sambar

A deliciously spicy and tangy South Indian Lentil and Tamarind Stew with Vegetables that is Vegan and Gluten Free – Tiffin Sambar, is an easier version of the regular sambar with an ever so slight difference in taste that pairs very well with South Indian breakfast items like Dosa, Idli and Pongal, commonly referred to as Tiffin items and hence the name Tiffin Sambar!

Breaking a piece of that light and crispy dosa, that glisten from the generous ghee on it, dipping it into that little stainless steel bowl of piping hot sambar, the fragrance of which you can smell miles away from the restaurant and then one more dip into some coconut chutney. Now that is the most perfect, divine, mouthful of goodness you can ever experience. Period.

Whenever we went to those little South Indian restaurants, the sambar always intrigued me. I know it was not the dosa or the ghee in it, but it was the sambar that made all the difference. I would always finish what they served at first in that small bowl and go for seconds or even thirds sometimes. Somehow, when Amma made sambar at home, it never was the same. I never bothered to ask, as I thought it might be offensive and I might hurt her feelings by asking why her sambar was not as good as the restaurant / hotel sambar (Yup, restaurants are very commonly referred to as hotels in India). Little did I know that the restaurants served Tiffin Sambars and not the Sambar we made at home that was mainly for lunch, to go with the rice.

And then one day, I remember, my Paatti (grand mom) making sambar a little differently. I could say it was different from the way it smelt from the kitchen. She served it for breakfast with some idlis and man, oh, man! That was it. The Hotel Sambar. What? Where has this been in our household all my life. So, Amma and Paatti always made just one type of sambar that will go with both breakfast and lunch, of course! And since there was something already planned for lunch that day, Paatti made this for breakfast, just for breakfast, she was very clear about that. She was very particular about those things. Pairings of food, what needs to be eaten when, the color of the food she makes (it has to be the same every time and that’s how she knows its perfect), the scent, everything. I was intrigued. And I wanted to taste it with rice to see what the fuss was all about. And yes, she was right. It wasn’t quite all that good. It was not bad at all, quite ok, in fact, but this sambar went really well with the dosas and idlis and the regular sambar just seemed to gel better with the rice.

So, this once uses green chillies to impart some flavor and spice. And the only vegetables used are onions, tomatoes and sometimes potatoes, nothing else. And is mostly made using moong dal instead of toor dal or pigeon pea lentils, which gives it a softer and slightly sweeter taste. I think the switching of dals is what my Paatti came up with and that this sambar can be made with toor dal also. Another thing she does to make cooking this easier at breakfast time is to cook it all together in the pressure cooker. Usually, we cook only the lentils in the pressure cooker and cook the vegetables in the tamarind sauce separately.

Enough of the stories, here is the recipe! Hope you enjoy this very treasured recipe of my Paatti’s

Tiffin Sambar – The Recipe


  • ½ cup yellow moong dal
  • Key lime sized ball of tamarind
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 8 –10 pearl onions, peeled
  • 3-4 Thai green chillies or 2 serrano chillies, slit in half lengthwise
  • 1 ½ tbsp sambar powder
  • salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp asafetida
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 3-4 pearl onions, peeled and chopped

Rinse the moon dal under running water a few times, until the water is no longer cloudy. Soak the tamarind ball in ½ cup warm water and squeeze the pulp out of it. Strain it to a bowl and repeat with two or three more times with ½ cup water each time (water can be room temperature).

Add the moong dal, tamarind pulp, 2 cups water, potatoes, onions, pearl onions, tomatoes, green chillies, turmeric powder and sambar powder to a pressure cooker or a large pot. Cook till the dal becomes all mushy. If using a pressure cooker, let the pressure weight let the steam off (whistle) 3-4 times. Switch off and open once all the pressure is released. If cooking on stove top in a regular pot, it might take about 25 mins or so to be done.

Mix the sambar well and add salt. Heat the oil for tempering, add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the asafetida, curry leaves, dried red chillies and pearl onions. Once the onions have browned a little, pour this over the sambar. Garnish with minced cilantro and enjoy!