You'll love this dish that's full of protein!
I’m always on the lookout for new gluten-free, vegetarian friendly recipes. So, when I came across this Slow Cooker Lentil and Veggie Stew, I had to try it. Stews are typically viewed as a winter food, but this recipe is so good, I could eat it any time of the year. It’s hearty and filling enough to be a winter warmer, but the vegetables keep things feeling light for those spring and summer days. It’s a unique, meatless stew that’s super filling because it’s full of plant-based protein!
Lentils make a perfect meat replacement for vegetarian soups and stews. Gram for gram, they have more protein than beef and they’re significantly less expensive, too! When cooked, they break down and create a crumbly texture (just like ground beef), which is why we use them a lot in vegetarian and vegan “meatloaf” recipes. They’re also high in fiber, so you’ll get 11 grams of protein and fiber for every serving of this tasty Slow Cooker Lentil and Veggie Stew!
Soup versus Stew
At the end of the recipe, we give you the option to adjust the liquid for more or less thickness. If you follow the recipe exactly as its stated, it will turn into a very thick, hearty stew. That’s just how we like our Slow Cooker Lentil and Veggie Stew, so we think it’s perfect! But, some people prefer more or less liquid, so we want to clear one thing up.
What’s the difference between a soup and a stew? Well, they’re both a combination of vegetables, fish, or meats cooked in a flavorful liquid. The major difference is that stews generally contain less liquid than soups. In a stew, the solid parts of the meal (the chunky vegetables and meats, if any) are the focus, whereas the broth is generally the focus of a soup.
We consider this recipe a stew because the lentils soak up most of the liquid as they cook. That creates a thick and chunky consistency, which we find perfectly hearty and warming. Sometimes in the summertime, we like our stew thinner, though. If you tend to prefer more liquid in your soup, feel free to reduce the lentils to 3/4 cup or 1/2 cup, or add additional tomato juice or vegetable broth.
Slow Cooker Lentil & Veggie Stew
- 1 cup whole kernel corn frozen or fresh
- 1 red potato large, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4 carrots sliced
- 1/2 cup sweet onion diced
- 2 celery stalks sliced into 1/2 inc pieces
- 1 cup green beans fresh or frozen, broken into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- kosher or sea salt to taste
- 1 1/2 cups tomato juice low-sodium, optional V-8 low-sodium
- 3 cups vegetable broth low-sodium, optional chicken broth
- 1 cup lentils dry
- Add all of the above ingredients, except lentils, to the slow cooker, stir to combine. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Add lentils the last hour of cooking time. Feel free to add or substitute your favorite vegetables.
- Tip: Adjust the liquid for less or more thickness. First, try adding 1 cup each tomato juice and 1 cup vegetable broth. Remember, the slow cooker does not allow for much evaporation, so the amount of liquid you add initially will be about the same toward the end of the cooking cycle. It's easier to add liquid than to remove it. We like ours fairly juicy so we add the full amount and sometimes even more.
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