Lentil winter stew

This hearty stew makes a nourishing plant-based meal with minimal effort. With red, green and brown lentils, it is a great meat substitute because it is high in protein and fibre.


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion; finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic; finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 litres vegetable stock
  • 1/2 small butternut pumpkin; peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 25 g dried shiitake mushrooms; chopped
  • 100 g green lentils
  • 75 g brown lentils
  • 75 g red lentils
  • 400 g canned chickpeas; drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tbsp thick yoghurt; plant-based if preferred
  • 50 g baby leaf spinach
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • chilli oil; to serve
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


Step 1.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute, then stir in the tomato paste and spices and fry gently to cook out their raw flavour.

Step 2.
Stir in the stock, ensuring you scrape any stuck-on bits off the bottom of the pan, then bring to the boil. Add the squash, dried mushrooms, lentils, chickpeas and bay leaf and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are completely tender and the liquid has reduced.

Step 3.
Season the stew to taste, then spoon into warm bowls. Top each one with a spoonful of yoghurt, a handful of spinach leaves and some fresh thyme. Serve with chilli oil on the side for those that prefer a spicy stew.

Serves 4