Clean-Your-Pantry Lentil-Vegetable Stew

Ever wonder what to do with the unused dried beans  and vegetables that accumulate in your pantry and fridge? This recipe lets you turn them into a big, flavorful stew that warms you from the inside out. Leftover produce is seasoned with your favorite spice blend and simmered in a savory broth that infuses lentils or beans with tender flavor. Serve with a side of whole wheat crackers for a satisfying supper! 

Tip: When making a bean or lentil stew, you can dial up the flavor (and the comfort factor) by adding one or more of the following digestion-enhancing spices and flavor boosters when cooking the legumes: 1 large bay leaf (remove before serving), ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds or ⅛ teaspoon ground fenugreek, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds or ½ teaspoon ground fennel, 1-inch cinnamon stick, or 2-inch strip kombu (remove before serving).


  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1½ cups assorted dry lentils and/or legumes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 2-inch strip kombu (optional)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons spice blend of your choice, such as Italian, Cajun, Mexican, Thai, or ras el hanout
  • 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen assorted vegetables
  • ⅔ cup canned diced tomato
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Steamed grains, whole grain crackers, or bread


  • In a Dutch oven cook the first five ingredients (through ginger) over medium 10 minutes or until onions start to turn golden brown, stirring frequently and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Add 6 cups water, the kombu (if using), and desired spice blend. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 50 minutes or until lentils and/or legumes are tender. Add vegetables and tomato. Cook 10 minutes or just until tender.
  • Add lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove and discard kombu. Serve warm with steamed grains, crackers, or bread.

Comments (14)

(5 from 7 votes)

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The recipe mystifies me! 1) what is a Dutch oven? 2) how do I know what size cup to use? Coffee mug, tea cup?? Why not give measurements in ounces or grams? 3) what does “cook the first five ingredients through ginger mean”? Does that mean you mix the ginger in with the other ingredients? I don’t think this recipe is written for someone in England!,

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Dot, Thanks for the feedback. 1) A Dutch oven is a wide, fairly shallow, heavy-bottomed pot; feel free to use whatever large pot you have. 2) Forks is a U.S.-based publication and uses U.S. measuring cups and tablespoons/teaspoons for our measurement. A cup refers to a standard-sized cup (240 mL or 8 oz.) and is a quick and easy way for people to measure ingredients rather than weigh each ingredient. 3) This means cooking the first five ingredients together. We say "through ginger" to help you read the recipe so you know to add five ingredients, ginger being the last. I hope that helps. Best of luck with your cooking adventures! Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Joan B

After purchasing the ingredients, chopping everything and cooking I was very disappointed and frustrated. The yellow lentils took much longer to cook. The flavor was bland. My husband brought out the Sriracha. ☹️


I make lentil soup in the crockpot rather than stovetop. Basically the same ingredients except I use dehydrated veggies from my garden. It simmers all day, makes the house smell divine, and is delicious on a cold winter eat.


Delicious! I made a few modifications: 1) I can’t have onion or whole garlic so I substituted approx 1 cup of the green part of green onions and approx 1 tablespoon of garlic infused olive oil. 2) I had cooked green lentils and chick peas in the freezer so I used them and decreased the water to about 2.5 cups. 3) My veg of choice were sweet potato, kale, turnip, asparagus, broccoli and fennel to a volume of approx 3 cups. 4) I added approx 1 tablespoon of liquid aminos (Braggs) and 2 tablespoon of peanut butter. My spice blend of choice was Ras el Hanout. Served over a mix of brown rice & quinoa


I toasted the lentils so they became nutty and fragrant and then added the Ginger, garlic, onions and mushrooms and “sautéed” till onion was translucent. It’s cooking now with the water and herbs de provonce. we’ll see.

Marcia Lane

I haven't tried this yet, but I'm betting that if I'm using dried beans I can put the Dutch Oven in the stove at 200 degrees and leave if four or five hours, right?

Barton Cindy

Where can we find the nutrition panels for these recipes. Being a CKD patient I need to watch several things like sodium, potassium, phosphorus, sugar, etc.


This was amazing! I am definitely adding it to our favourites! Actually, it is now #1 on our fave list!

Susan Jimenez

I made mine in an instant pot using these ingredients. Stew came out delicious. Lots of flavor. Will be making again.

Janet K.

Susan--can you tell me how long you cooked this recipe in the IP?

Kerry McClure

How long do I cook in an instant pot?

Susan jimenez

I set mine for 18 mins. Came out perfect.


Next time, I would sauté onions, mushrooms, etc, first, and add the legumes/dry lentils in the next sequence, when adding liquids and spices.

About the Author

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About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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