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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 8 cups

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).

Clean-Your-Pantry Lentil-Vegetable Stew in a while bowl with crackers and lemon wedges


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 (4)

(5 from 2 votes)
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Susan Jimenez4 days ago
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I made mine in an instant pot using these ingredients. Stew came out delicious. Lots of flavor. Will be making again.

Kerry McClure1 week ago
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How long do I cook in an instant pot?

Susan jimenez4 days ago
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I set mine for 18 mins. Came out perfect.

Lucia2 weeks ago
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Next time, I would sauté onions, mushrooms, etc, first, and add the legumes/dry lentils in the next sequence, when adding liquids and spices.

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about the author

Darshana Thacker

Darshana Thacker is chef and culinary project 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 for more.

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