Fall is in the air and it makes me want to start cooking soups, stews and chili. Yes good old comfort food. I love a hearty lentil soup and we tend to like ours to be more like stew – really thick and packed with goodness. For a while now I have been making a good one in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. It turned out delicious each and every time but I never wrote down what I did so it was slightly different each time and I couldn’t share the recipe because I didn’t know exactly what I did! Last week when our daughter was coming home from the hospital after giving birth to our twin grandchildren – (a boy and a girl – too cute for words) – it was a chilly fall like day. The perfect day to whip up a hearty lentil stew. This time with a note pad by my side I wrote down what went in the pot. Everyone loved the stew – the flavor is outstanding and it’s thick and hearty just the way we like it. I am tempted to call it “Twins Lentil Stew.”
This recipe uses basic pantry and refrigerator items that you most likely have in stock which means you can make it at a moments notice. This recipe makes a huge batch that fills my 8 quart Instant Pot pressure cooker. If you don’t have the 8 quart cut the recipe in half and make it in your 6 quart. As you all know I love to batch cook and make good use of my time in the kitchen so I like to make enough to freeze some for future meals. It doesn’t take much longer to make a big batch of anything and then I only have to mess up my kitchen one time and do dishes once but we enjoy multiple meals for that one effort. We use the Rubbermaid Food Storage containers – the work well in the fridge or freezer. The dissolvable labels are amazing – we date everything and write the name of the recipe on them. We always have a wide variety of homemade frozen items to choose from when life is too busy to cook.
The flavor of this stew is beyond ordinary – I use Herbs de Provence which is a lovely blend of thyme, marjoram, savory, rosemary,basil, sage and lavender. It’s available in most spice sections at the grocery store. I bought a big jar of it at Trader Joe’s last winter and at one time Costco had it too but I haven’t seen it lately at either store. If you can’t find it in your local grocery you can make a jar of your own by using 2 tablespoons of each spice listed and give them a stir to combine – Thyme, Marjoram, Savor, Rosemary, Basil, Sage and Lavender. You could sub an Italian Seasoning Mix for the Herbs de Provence and the flavor profile would be similar – not exact but similar and still quite good.
Here is a look at the ingredients used in the recipe – not shown are the vegetables – you all know what those look like!
Frozen peas are a nice addition to this stew – add them after it cooks and comes down from pressure. If you don’t like peas – I know there are a lot of anti-pea people out there – sub some cut green beans or frozen corn instead they will add a nice color and taste good too. Remember that recipes are just ideas – you can sub ingredients that you have on hand and that you prefer.
This is a thick, hearty, stick to your ribs kind of stew. After setting in the fridge over night it will become thicker. You might want to add a little more low sodium vegetable broth to thin it a bit. You can dice the vegetables or leave them in bigger pieces – it’s personal preference.
This may sound a little crazy but let me tell you this makes a delicious topping for a Big Beautiful Chopped Salad. I warmed up a small serving of the Hearty Lentil Vegetable Stew and poured it over my chopped salad that I had tossed with some Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar. It was so good I had this for lunch three days in a row.
Hearty Lentil Vegetable Stew – 8 QT Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
- 4 cup onions
- 3 cup diced or sliced carrots
- 2 cups diced celery
- 4 cups peeled diced potatoes – I like Yukon Gold potatoes
- 3 cups green/brown lentils – rinsed and drained
- 1 cup red lentils – rinsed and drained
- 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth – store bought or homemade – I use Engine2 brand from Whole Foods Market
- 2 cups water
- 2 cans (14.5 oz each diced fire roasted tomatoes – I like Muir Glen Organic no salt added
- 4 teaspoons Herbs de Provence seasoning mix*
- 1 tablespoon Table Tasty Salt Substitute or your favorite salt substitute
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon Sweet Paprika
- Reserve the following to add after the pressure comes down:
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons more Herbs de Provence
- Set the 8 qt Instant Pot pressure cooker to saute – when hot add the onions, carrots and celery and a couple tablespoons of the low sodium vegetable broth. Saute just until vegetables are no longer raw – 3-4 mintues – they are going to cook when under pressure so we are just giving them a little head start.
- Add the potatoes, green lentils, red lentils, vegetable broth, water, fire roasted tomatoes, Herbs de Provence, Table Tasty, freshly ground black pepper and sweet paprika to the pot. Put the lid on and make sure the venting valve is turned to sealing. Set the time to 6 minutes high pressure.
- Let the pressure come down naturally, then open the lid carefully tipping the lid away from you. Add the frozen peas, balsamic vinegar and a little additonal Herbs de Provence to boost the flavor. I always taste it and then decide how much to add. Put the lid back on and let the peas get good and hot.
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