Vegan Lentil Stew with Coconut Milk is hearty, subtly sweet and has deep, rich flavors from warming curry spices. It’s a delicious bowl of vegan comfort food.
Vegan Lentil stew with coconut milk is a warming, comfort food meal that’s filled with delicious deep, earthy flavors.
It can be made ahead, and only gets better with time.
There are a number of ways you can change it up listed below.
Serve it with a nice crusty bread and a salad, and you’re all set. Or, just serve yourself a bowl of it and enjoy it as is.
Above: One of the keys to flavoring this stew is sautéing the onions and garlic with fresh thyme and curry spices, including cardamom, cloves, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. It’s the foundation for the whole dish.
- About forty-five minutes into the simmering time, start checking to see how tender the lentils and carrots are. They should both be done more or less at the same time. If at the one hour mark, either one isn’t tender enough, it’s fine to keep cooking as long as you need to.
- You can make the lentil stew up to a four days ahead of time — but, the lentils and other vegetables will absorb more of the liquid as they sit. Therefore, when you reheat it, add more stock as needed.
Substitutions and Additions
- Can you substitute curry powder for all of the spices? Yes, you can use about two tablespoons of curry powder instead of the spices listed. The flavor will be very similar.
- The spices can also be mixed up — use more or less of some if desired, and use what you love.
- If keeping the stew vegan/vegetarian isn’t important, you can use chicken or beef stock.
- This vegan lentil stew recipe can be switched up by changing some of the vegetables. Potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn can be used instead of carrots, or in combination with them.
- The coconut milk adds body and richness, but if that’s not your thing, use more of the stock to replace it. (It will still be great!)
- For a heartier meal (for non-vegan/vegetarians) add sausage, chicken or pancetta.
Can you freeze it?
This stew can be frozen for up to a month or so — but, much like keeping it refrigerated for a few days, you will very likely need to add more stock when you reheat it.
To defrost, place the frozen stew in the refrigerator a day or two before you plan to serve it.
I hope you enjoy this comforting Vegan Lentil Stew with Coconut Milk as much as my family and I do.
More vegan comfort food recipes:
- Cabbage Stew with Turmeric
- Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Vegan Creamed Corn with Jalapeños
- Vegan Mushroom Stew
Lentil Stew with Corn
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 2 cups chopped yellow onion, medium dice
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, washed and dried
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2½ cups carrots, washed and dried, peeled, approximately ¼ to ½ inch slices
- 1 cup celery, washed and dried, peeled (optional), approximately ¼ inch slices
- 2 cups dried lentils
- 4½ cups vegetable stock
- 2¾ cups coconut milk
- 4 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, washed and dried, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- chili flakes (if desired)
- Sauté the onions and garlic with the thyme and spices. Coat a large pot (5 to 6 quart Dutch Oven is perfect), fitted with a lid, with the grapeseed oil. Place it over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for a couple minutes to soften and coat with the oil. Then add the thyme, and all of the spices. Continue to sauté, stirring every so often, until the onions are very soft, and not yet browning, about 10 minutes.
- Add remaining vegetables except for the spinach. Add the carrots and celery, stir, and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add lentils and mix to blend.
- Combine and add stock and coconut milk. In a large glass measuring cup (or bowl), whisk the coconut milk with 1 to 2 cups of the stock. Whisk just long enough to smooth out any lumps in the coconut milk. Add this, along with the remaining stock, to the pot and mix to blend.
- Cook. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer until the lentils and carrots are tender, about 1 hour.
- Add spinach and season. Add the spinach in a few batches, letting each one wilt into the stew before adding the next. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Here's How to Season to Taste.) Add chili flakes if desired for a bit of heat and serve.
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