Smoky Vegan Lentil Stew

Two ingredients—smoked salt and smoked paprika—can make a big flavor change in this smoky vegan lentil stew. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots (about 2 large carrots)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 to 3 medium stalks)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 medium-sized potato)
  • 2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Bread, for serving


1 Cook the vegetables: Place a stock pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil followed by the onion, carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and potatoes, cooking for another 2 minutes.

2 Simmer the stew: Add the lentils, smoked paprika, smoked salt, thyme, bay leaf, and vegetable broth or water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.

Cook uncovered until the lentils are just about tender, 22 to 24 minutes.

3 Add the tomato paste: Stir in the tomato paste and lemon juice, and cook for another 5 minutes until the lentils are completely tender. Taste and add more smoked salt if desired.

4 Serve: Divide the soup into 4 bowls and top with fresh parsley before serving. Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days refrigerated.

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  • Trish

    My husband and I loved the flavor balance in the dish. Very well done. Thanks!


  • Jarrett

    Turned out as you expected it would – tastes of broth and lentils. Probably wouldn’t make again. I just don’t see how this recipe can come together tasting amazing.

    • Andy Y

      I made it, and also found it not very exciting. I am not vegetarian, so I might make it again, but put in some ham or ham hocks.

  • Cari

    Can this be made in a crockpot/slow cooker?

  • Nick

    I made this without celery (adding an extra carrot) and substituted a sweet potato for the Yukon Gold.

    The result was delightful, and this is now hands-down my favorite lentil dish. The smoked salt was a next level addition, while my lentils (this might have to do with the suggestion to add the tomato paste at the end) turned out just a bit more evenly cooked than in other lentil dishes I’ve made in the past. Really pleased with this.


  • b

    I made this *without the smoked salt*. When I reviewed the ingredients I somehow missed it. I did have smoked paprika, however and it turned out wonderfully.