During the first winter that I spent in Buenos Aires, my mother-in-law made lentil stew, slowly simmering in a large pot.
As soon as I had my first taste of this dish that is so loved in Argentina – rich, warm, and filling – I finally understood why it’s always welcome in the colder months.
Now, I make my own version at least once during every winter.
While it is typically made with tender chunks of beef, bacon, and chorizo sausages, I like eating a vegetarian version of it using legumes, particularly lentils.
These dried, tiny pulses are high in protein, rich in fiber, and low in fat. They make a great staple for vegetarians and vegans who don’t include animal protein in their diets.
You’ll need to soak them in water overnight to soften them – an easy step to finish, since you’re not taking up any active time.
Once soaked, combine them with a colorful assortment of vegetables and seasonings, and cook low and slow.
Can’t wait overnight to enjoy this for dinner? Simply substitute a can or two of your favorite variety of canned beans.
I find this is best eaten with a generous drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of freshly grated cheese and chopped fresh parsley.
Need a hearty meal to warm you up? Read my recipe below and make a big pot today!
|4 people||20 minutes|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|1 hour||12 hours|
Hearty Argentine lentil stew is a perfect dish during the colder months – warm, filling, and absolutely delicious!
- 3 cups lentils
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 large carrot peeled and cubed
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 2 small potatoes cubed
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
- extra virgin olive oil for garnish
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- freshly grated Parmesan for garnish (optional)
- 2 lbs beef stew meat optional
- 1/2 lbs bacon optional
- 1 lbs mild chorizo sausages optional
- Rinse the lentils well, removing any debris. Place the cleaned lentils in a large pot of warm water. Soak the lentils for at least 12 hours, or overnight. Rinse them again in the morning.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onions until they turn transparent, approximately 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure that the garlic doesn’t burn.
- If preparing a carnivore version, add the beef and chorizo to a separate pan and brown. Chop the bacon into 1 inch pieces.
- Add the lentils, carrots, butternut squash, and potatoes. Cook for a few minutes until al dente.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and reduce heat to low. For the meat-eaters version, add the browned beef, chorizo, and bacon. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the bell peppers, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for another 10 minutes until the lentils are soft, and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add the tomato paste and smoked paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the stew between four bowls, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and garnish with parsley.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prepare the Ingredients
Measure the lentils, vegetable stock, vegetable oil, tomato paste, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
Set out and prep the onion, garlic, carrot, butternut squash, potatoes, bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, cheese, and olive oil.
Be sure to use a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board to easily cut your way through all the veggies.
Do cleaning mushrooms give you a bit of a scare? Hey, we don’t blame you. They are funky fungi, after all! Learn our methods to select, clean, and prep them like a pro.
Step 2 – Clean the Legumes
Make sure to rinse the lentils well. Run your hands through them and check for any debris. If you find any, remove the pieces.
Soak them overnight in a large pot of warm water for at least 12 hours to soften them.
Rinse them again in the morning, checking once more for any additional debris that you might have missed. Drain in a colander.
Step 3 – Cook and Simmer
Begin by heating the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, and saute until they turn transparent. This will take around 2 minutes. Once the onions are ready, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure that the garlic doesn’t burn.
Add the drained lentils, carrots, butternut squash, and potatoes. Cook for a few minutes until al dente.
Now pour in the vegetable stock and reduce the heat to low, allowing the ingredients to simmer for around 20 to 30 minutes, making sure to stir with a wooden spoon every couple of minutes.
Finally, add the bell peppers, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes. Continue simmering for approximately 10 minutes until the legumes are very soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
If necessary, add one more cup of water or vegetable stock and cook for as long as needed.
Step 4 – Add the Final Touches
Add the tomato paste and smoked paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide evenly between four bowls. Drizzle each bowl with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of grated Parmesan, and garnish with fresh parsley.
To keep this a vegan dish, do not include the cheese.
A Big Bowl of Argentine Comfort Food
As the days get cooler and our bodies start craving warm foods to fill our tummies, a large bowl of this delicious vegetarian stew will do us much good.
It’s extremely filling, thanks to the lentils and all the other wholesome ingredients like potatoes, squash, and mushrooms.
The recipe can easily be doubled. I like to cook up a big batch of it, freeze it in individual portions, and enjoy it all season long.
And more bean-happy soups and stews, try some of our favorites:
Accidentally poured too much salt in the pot? Whoops! We have some easy techniques to save your overly salted meal.
Do you like eating lentils? How do you usually cook them? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Don’t forget to Pin It!
Photos by Felica Lim, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published March 1st, 2015 by Lori Jo Hendrix. Revised and updated October 13th, 2017, with additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Felicia Lim
Felicia Lim is a Singaporean who moved to Argentina for love. Based in Buenos Aires, also known as “the Paris of South America,” she fills her days with freelance writing, recipe development, and food photography – three passions that give her endless joy. When she isn’t typing away at her computer, cooking in the kitchen, or shooting in her balcony-studio, you can probably find her curled up on the couch, lost in the pages of a good book.
43 thoughts on “Super Tasty Hearty Argentine Lentil Stew”
I often use lentils in cooking as they’re so cheap so it’s always good to get a variation on the usual stew and soup recipes. This stew looks particularly flavorsome and would be fantastic on a cold day served with a chunk of crusty bread.
I agree very economical and nutritious, what more could one want? Oh, and easy to prepare. I also like it because you can get creative and add various ingredients.
Yes this recipe is very comforting and warming on a cold day and is delicious with crusty bread and a glass of red wine if you like red wine. I could recommend an nice Argentine Malbec wine 😉
This is a great and healthy vegan/vegetarian dish which is easy to cook and also to freeze. Lentils can be a bit bland, but with the right amount of seasoning it does work, but does require patience and practice.
I would serve this with brown rice and I imagine this would be great on a camping trip too.
Thank you for the compliment on my recipe. Yes, you can freeze it and it last a few days in the refrigerator and seems to get better each day as the flavors mix together.
I never tried it with brown rice. Please let me know how that works out. It is also nice with a simple salad of tomato or greens or both dressed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
You are correct, a very hearty dish for camping indeed! Thank you for the suggestions.
Lentils are great to cook with, especially in a soup, it makes it much more filling than just a thin stock. I think they are hugely under used because people do not know how to work with them properly which is a shame really because they taste so good!
I totally agree and it’s a shame because they are so easy to work with!
I know that lentils are very good for you, but I have never been a big fan of them. There is just something about the flavor that I’ve never quite taken to. Maybe they weren’t seasoned properly. This recipe sounds very flavorful. I am going to give it a try and maybe I will become a lentil convert. That picture certainly makes this soup look delicious.
Yes, try it! I guarantee it will make you a convert. They are delicious if prepared with the correct ingredients. Please let me know how it turns out when you try it for the first time.
I never heard anyone before say they soaked their lentils at all! Does it have to do with the kind of lentils you use? Which, for the life of me, I’m not sure what kind it is — I only ever see small (which I thought was the only size they came in) lentils!
Anyhow. It looks like a pretty hearty meal! I never had Argentinian food before. What part of it makes it typical Argentinian? The paprika? The cheese?
Yes soaking is important as with any legume. It also helps to clean them well and bring out any debris. Yes they do come in many various sizes and colors! I think what makes it Argentinean is it originated in Patagonia where the winters are very cold and the dish is very hearty, warm and nutritious. When you are in a very cold climate it’s nice to have something hot, filling and nutritious to warm you and give you energy.
Do you mean the Mung bean?
Yes, I’m referring to “Mung” beans. Haha, sorry! I thought it’s an English name, it turns out that it’s just how we call it locally. I just verified with trusty Google that I’m indeed referring to “Mung” beans. At least, I learn something new today. Thanks for pointing it out! 🙂
Yes, the Mung bean is a legume just as the lentil is and the Mung bean is of Asian origins. I have never tried them to be honest but if you are having problems with them then I would think lentils might cause the same problems since they are both from the same family.
I have never heard of lentil side effects before especially with arthritis. You might want to talk to a nutritionist about this or a food allergist as you should know exactly what the problem is and with exactly what food families or particular foods.
I honestly haven’t eaten lentils nor do I know that lentils can be of varied sizes. I’ve always thought that it’d be similar to mongo beans (one size or something). I love my mongo beans. The place where I work at usually serve mongo soup. I truly love it that I often order it for lunch until I noticed that I’m developing some symptoms of arthritis. I recently noticed that my knees often hurt every time I eat mongo soup in successive days.
Anyway, does lentil taste similar to mongo beans? Do they trigger arthritis, too?
Thank you, Lori H.!!! The picture in the article actually looks more or less similar to the Mung soup I often eat. Hurting knees aside, I still eat them. I just have to be careful not to eat them in successive days.
Well you never know, you might want to try the common lentils soaked overnight to see if perhaps they do not create the same effect. You could possibly make the same soup you are eating with the Mung bean replaced by the common lentil if you do not notice the same side effects.
Oh boy, another protein rich recipe to add to my collection! Lentil stew, and specifically lentils are a very good source of protein. These healthy legumes don’t taste half as bad either. I have a feeling that this recipe is aiming to be a little tart and a little savory, which is right up my alley.
Yes isn’t it great? I don’t eat red meat, chicken or pork so recipes like this are very important to me. Also for working out protein is very healthy. Tart and savory yes but don’t forget the sweet potato and butternut squash will also add sweetness making it even more pleasing to the palate. Enjoy!
The page has been bookmarked…a very simple recipe you’ve got there…thanks for the knowledge within especially the part about soaking the lentils overnight..clueless me, i’d have done weird wonders and backfires were it not for that red alert 😉 …an absolute recipe to be worked on this weekend 🙂 .
You are welcome and I am pleased you like the recipe. Did you end up making it over the weekend?
I have printed off this recipe to join my collection. I love lentil recipes and this one will allow me to use some of the smoked paprika that I have in my spice rack. I think I may add a touch of chipotle to it as well to add a like warmth to go with the butternut squash as well.
I am happy you like the recipe! Yes, chipotle would be delicious in this, thank you for the suggestion. I will try it next time. 🙂
This looks and sounds so delicious. I am going to save this recipe for when I have the ingredients on hand. I rarely see recipes that include so many of my favorites, such as red bell pepper, butternut squash, carrot, and clove. It sounds like a healthy and hearty meal that is easy to make, and I’m definitely adding this to my recipe collection.
Thank you! And the fun thing is you can even add other ingredients, you don’t have to stick to just these vegetables.
I must confess, I am a soup junkie. Soups and salads are gifts from the gods! Actually, I just finished a bowl of homemade vegetable soup. It was fantastic! This lentil soup looks amazing. I was reading an article a few weeks ago about the health benefits of lentils, so I’m definitely going to give this recipe a try!
Argentine Lentil Stew is thicker than soup therefore more filling so it sounds as if you are going to be a stew fanatic as well! Of course you can make it thinner, if you like, by adding more broth. I love lentils, they are easy, economical and chocked full of wonderful health benefits. I will put a few down here for the others to enjoy.
Benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders
Extremely low in fat
230 calories per cup of cooked lentils
High fiber content
82% reduction in the risk for heart disease
The give you energy while stabilizing blood sugar
I enjoy lentil soup, and I find it even better with some spice added. So this recipe looks like it’s right up my alley. It would be the perfect pick-me-up and protein boost when sweater weather rolls back around. Can’t wait for it to cool back off so I can try this out!
You are absolutely correct, the added heat really makes this recipe. I remember once I was freezing in Patagonia and this was the only dish that could warm me up and give me energy. Enjoy!
I love lentils, but when I saw there were a lot of ingredients in this recipe I was afraid it would take me forever to prepare. But, then I saw directions and it looks like a pretty easy stew, and I will try it. I think the cloves and paprika will give this dish that extra touch. I will let you all know how it turns out.
Oh it’s really easy and if you think about it easier because you can make enough for the next day and not have to cook lunch or dinner again and as with all stews it is even better the next day. Yes please share your results!
Lentil stew and common meat steaw – or chicken- are total classics, They are really simple to cook. Like you said, you can add almost anything and it’ll still taste nice. Pick a big pot and you can have meals for several days until you get bored, cooking large sizes in a reasonable time, so It’s perfect for big families.
I sometimes freeze portions in little plastic containers when I make large batches. They taste delicious even when frozen although fresh is always better but it sure is convenient to have a hot comfort food without doing any work, hehe.
Lentils are some of my favorite legumes. Whenever possible I try to eat them. My typical way is to just cook them like rice but add onion, salt, and pepper to it. Then fry them for a second with some ground beef. This recipe looks very interesting and I am consigned to actually give it a try.
I am happy you like this new version of cooking lentils in your home. Please let us know how you like them.
Making lentils is one of my go-to recipe on busy days, or when my pantry is almost empty.
Lentils are high in fiber and taste so good. My only bad way of doing it is that I do not soak it before night just simply cook it under 40 minutes. I know that there are a lot of vitamins in it that comes out with soaking, but I just never had the energy for it.
Just be sure you do not cook them so long that they become mushy or fall apart. They should be done in 15-20 minutes. You can cook then without soaking but the reason for soaking is to reduce cooking time and to clean them really well. But as long as you rinse and clean them well before and watch then closely while cooking then go ahead and cook them without soaking.
Here in Romania lentil stew is really popular, we call it “supa de linte” and it’s delicious, you can find it in mostly every restaurant in the country. Delicious!
Is the recipe very simlar to this one? We would love to know how your version is and if you try this one, let us know!
Is the recipe very similar to this one? We would love to know how your version is and if you try this one, let us know!
This must be my lucky day, I was just looking around your site and found this recipe. I cook with lentils a lot, but am always on the look out for recipes that call for them. Thanks for sharing this, it sounds incredible and I can’t wait to try it out!
I love food from South America and this is a perfect food to eat. The fact that this stew is very healthy is a major bonus to the delicious flavors that it offers. I like to eat this a lot in the winter when it is cold so I will definitely be enjoying this dish a lot in the coming months. Another great thing about this dish is the fact that lentils are high in protein which adds a great nutritional value to this dish.
Thanks for including a metric option for the quantities but some of them amused me – challenging measuring out 709 13/17 ml of lentils!
Ha, I agree! Thanks for pointing that out, Patrick! I believe these are direct, exact conversions- we’ll mark this for an update with something more useful for the metric-minded out there. 🙂