This hearty, healthy lentil stew is packed with mushrooms and kale and uses fresh salsa for a boost of flavor. Added bonus: it’s budget-friendly and cooks up in 45 minutes!
Sometimes you need a simple, wholesome meal with mountains of vegetables. Do you feel me? This lentil stew is just that. It’s warm, comforting and hearty so it’s perfect for chilly, winter evenings. It requires only a handful of ingredients and about 45 minutes of cook time, yet it’s got the flavor of a stew that’s been simmering for hours. And… it’s budget-friendly. This whole meal costs about $17 to make (minus pantry staples). That’s less than $3 per serving!
Before we get into the recipe, let’s cover some basics about lentil stew.
Yes! That is the glorious thing about this recipe. You don’t need to soak or do any prep work when it comes to lentils. You can toss the lentils in with the broth and other ingredients and they will be done cooking by the time the stew is ready.
This stew will last 4-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge or up to two months in the freezer! I usually make it ahead of time for the week and if I don’t get through all of it, I’ll pop it in the freezer to enjoy at a later date.
Salsa in stew? Yup! It’s not something you’re probably used to seeing in a stew recipe, but trust me, it’s a key ingredient here. It adds an acidic component, a good amount of spice and a lots of veggies without having to spend a ton of time chopping. I used two containers of fresh salsa – a roasted garlic version and one that was restaurant style. Both were medium spice and worked beautifully for the stew. Any type of salsa will work for this recipe, but just be sure the salsa flavors are something you’d want in soup. Fruity salsa (like pineapple or mango) might not be the best fit for this recipe.
First, you’re going to prep the vegetables. Sauté the onion, garlic and mushrooms in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add in the vegetable broth, lentils, salsa, turmeric, basil, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
Add in the chopped kale and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the kale is wilted. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with freshly grated parmesan, avocado and/or fresh basil. This would also be delicious with some crusty bread!
As you can tell, this stew is super simple to throw together and would be the perfect, inexpensive weeknight dinner.