Vegan lentil stew is a dish that does not contain any animal products. The ingredients in a vegan lentil stew are generally lentils and vegetables, including potatoes. A stew is typically thicker than a soup, meaning less water or vegetable broth is used to make a lentil stew. Stews require a longer cooking time than soups as well. Different ingredients, such as spices and aromatics added to the stew, alter the taste.
A cook can use any type of lentils she wishes in a vegan lentil stew. Green or brown lentils as well as French lentils will retain their shape while the stew cooks. Split lentils, such as red lentils, will break down, giving the stew a mushier texture.
Aromatics such as onion, carrots, and celery typically serve as the base of vegan lentil stew. The vegetables are sautéed in oil before the rest of the ingredients are added. Cooking these vegetables first softens them and lets their flavor seep into the rest of the stew.
The seasoning and spices added to the stew can vary greatly. A cook may decide to add curry powder to the stew for an Indian-inspired dish. Other spice combinations can create an Ethiopian-style or a Moroccan stew. Common spices used in vegan lentil stew include cumin, pepper, and turmeric. Some cooks also flavor their stews with garlic or ginger.
A cook can add an array of vegetables to lentil stew. Some add crushed or diced tomatoes, while others add greens such as spinach. Chopped bell peppers, cauliflower, and squash are other common additions to lentil stew. Waxy potatoes such as Yukon Golds help the stew thicken as they release starch when cooking. For even cooking, the person preparing the stew should chop the vegetables to the same size.
Less water or broth is used when preparing vegan lentil stew compared to when a soup is made. Stew also needs to simmer for a longer amount of time so that the liquid content reduces. A finished stew should be thick and gravy-like rather than watery. Using vegetable broth will add a bit more flavor than using water.
Most lentil stews require at least an hour's cooking time. The length required depends in part on the type of lentil used, as split lentils take less time to soften and cook through. Once the stew is cooked, it can be served with any number of grains. Some cooks pour it over cooked rice, while others serve it with pieces of bread.