Crock Pot Quinoa Red Lentil Stew

I’ve got a recipe for you to try that will save you money, is good for the earth and your health, helps clean out your fridge, and expands your palette! Don’t believe me? Read on!

My family is not vegetarian, but we’ve found some really amazing benefits from choosing vegetarian meals a few times a week. For one, dried beans and legumes are insanely cheap, especially compared to the cost of meat. Not only does it save you money, but nothing feels better than eating an entire meal of single, whole ingredients that come straight from the earth. You can see your carbon footprint just shrinking away.

A true “one-pot” meal, hearty and delicious, this recipe has everything you need to be full and satisfied. It is also easily customizable based on what you have in your fridge. Feel free to make any substitutions and get rid of whatever veggies you have on hand. This may be the most versatile recipe in history. Got some extra broccoli? Throw it in! Leftover sweet potato baby food that your kid outgrew? Who’s gonna know?

If heavily-spiced Indian food is new to you, you’ll notice that there are lots of spices that go into this meal. Be brave! This is not a hot kind of spicy, but all of those herbs and spices combined together make a lovely depth of flavor that is not too heavy on any one particular taste. I promise it blends well, and you’ll have fun tasting the medley of flavors.

Do I have you convinced? Give it a try!

recipe quinoa stew with text (600x600)

(Recipe adapted from The Savvy Vegetarian:


  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa (red, white, or black)
  • 3/4 cup raw small red lentils (masoor dhal)   *Note: red lentils actually appear orange before cooking, and turn yellow after cooking. They are supposed to disintegrate into a sort of mush as they cook, so don’t expect them to retain their shape)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 small head cauliflower OR 2 medium potatoes, OR 1 large sweet potato, OR 1 med. zucchini OR 1 small butternut squash (or mix and match!)
  • 1 cup chopped green beans or frozen peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 thin slices fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 cups water or unsalted soup stock
  • 2 tsp gr fennel seed
  • 1 tsp gr coriander
  • 1/2 tsp gr cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped fresh greens: kale, chard, or spinach
  • If you like more heat: Add 1/2 – 1 tsp green curry paste OR 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne powder

Crockpot Directions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa and red lentils in a bowl, then drain into a colander
  2. Cut all the veggies into small chunks
  3. Combine olive oil, quinoa, lentils, herbs & spices and ginger in the crockpot
  4. Add the vegetables, except for the optional greens, and cover with the 6 cups water
  5. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or more if needed. (I’ve left this one on all day before, and it was fine! Know your own crockpot, though.)
  6. 20 minutes before serving, turn the heat up to high and stir in optional greens
  7. Just before serving, remove the ginger slices, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste. I kind of add a lot. I like salty!

We like to serve this with bread, pita, or rice, but there is no need for anything extra as this truly is a one-pot meal. Enjoy!

recipe quinoa stew plate (450x600)

Lianna is a homesteading mama of three: a sparkly seven-year-old daughter, a joyful five-year-old boy, and a confident three-year-old boy. After graduating from the University of Iowa’s college of education, she started Wondergarten Early Enrichment Home, a multi-age, play-based early childhood program. A self-proclaimed Queen Dabbler, she has a long list of hobbies (from gardening and canning to sewing and painting), and doesn’t mind being only mediocre at all of them. She lives with her husband, mother, three kiddos, dog, cat, rabbits, dwarf goats, and chickens on an acreage in the country. The Cornally family spends their time talking about education, learning how to grow and preserve their own food, and romping around in their woods.


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