(gluten free) french lentil stew

Yeah. I know.  You are super busy making desserts and turkey glazes for your holiday meal.  But what, I ask you, are you going to make all the other days?  Huh?! What will you eat to counteract all the rich and sweet stuff?  Here is your answer: my gluten-free french lentil stew.  It’s also easy to make it vegan.

french lentil stew

I’ve been avoiding gluten, in earnest, for a year or two now and have been a vegetarian for decades.  To be honest, I long for a bagel and a beer like nobody’s business.   But, I love how good I feel.   Honestly, I’m a much healthier eater now that I can’t just fill up on bread & pasta.  This stew is the kind of meal that feels really filling but energizing at the same time.  Lentils are packed with protein and iron and nothing is quite as satisfying as a good, hearty stew for those days when you are working your butt off getting ready for the holidays.

A few quirky things:  I hate celery and avoid it at all costs.  I often replace celery with the stalk from broccoli.  Peel off the rough outer skin and the inside is sweeter and soft and yummy.  It provides the same watery addition as celery does but without the gross taste (did my celery-hate just pop to the surface?).

lentil stew prep

Also, french lentils are smaller and very different from regular green lentils.  They stay firm when cooked and are more toothsome.  A much better taste, in my opinion, in a stew because they don’t dissolve into a mush like green lentils.  So, don’t cheat…make sure you use french lentils!

Here it is, the iron-rich lentil soup that makes my house smell amazing and makes my vegetarian soul sing:


  • 1 finely diced onion
  • 3 cubed carrots
  • 2 stalks from broccoli, just the stalk, with the rough skin peeled off and finely cubed (or replace with 2 stalks of celery)
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (coconut or canola, whatever you like)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup french lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • splash of worcester sauce (omit if you don’t eat fish)

In a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed saucepan sauté, over medium heat, the broccoli stalk, onion and carrot in the oil until the onion is transparent.  Add in diced tomatoes and the bay leaf cooking for another 4-5 minutes.  Throw in the lentils, vegetable broth, spices and splash of red wine vinegar and worcester sauce.  Bring to a boil and then cook for 20-25 minutes at a slow boil.  Enjoy!

Once your tummy is filled with this goodness, you will be ready to tackle the holidays head on! Go tiger!


10 Comments on (gluten free) french lentil stew

  1. Diane F
    December 22, 2013 at 10:43 am (4 years ago)

    Where do tou buy the “French” lentils? I want to try this because it looks yummy and healthy.

    • Melissa Q.
      December 22, 2013 at 11:35 am (4 years ago)

      Good question, Diane. I bought mine in the bulk section of Whole Foods (coincidentally, that is the section of that store where you can actually get a bargain on organic). But, sometimes I’ve seen them in standard grocery stores. They are smaller and darker green in color.

  2. Daniela D
    December 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm (4 years ago)

    This looks yummy, Melissa! As an Italian New Year’s tradition, lentils are eaten for “good fortune.” I am always looking for great lentil recipes. I especially love that you used broccoli stalks instead of celery.

    • Melissa Q.
      December 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm (4 years ago)

      That is so cool! I’ll have to make lentils this new year!

  3. Heidi
    January 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm (4 years ago)

    What do you mean by “sort” the lentils?

    • Melissa Q.
      January 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm (4 years ago)

      Good Q! Sometimes the lentils are mixed in with other grains, etc. Just glance through and pick these out. I usually rinse them in a sieve and then look through while moving them around with my fingers.

  4. Diane F
    February 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm (4 years ago)

    I just made this today in my mini crock pot. I cut the ingredients in half and it is cooking and smells delicious. I added some mixed organic kale and spinach on top to simmer in because I had it on hand. I figure this will be a great treat to warm Mike up when he comes in from all that snow shoveling!

    • Melissa Q.
      February 5, 2014 at 5:58 pm (4 years ago)

      I can’t wait to hear how it worked out! I’ve never tried it crock-pot style!

      • Diane
        February 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm (4 years ago)

        It was very good, very flavorful. One small bowl each was plenty for both of us. It took about 3.5 hours on high. Easy, peasy!

        • Melissa Q.
          February 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm (4 years ago)

          I’m so glad! Thanks for the crock pot idea!


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: