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New Year's Italian Lentil Stew
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New Year's Italian Lentil Stew

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

It's the New Year! Want to combine a great and easy recipe with your resolution to eat healthy? This very old recipe for lentil soup hails from the Le Marche region in Italy. Bring some tradition to your table by serving this rich and nutritious lentil stew. And lentils are a super-food legume. If you are serving non-vegan diners, they won't believe how hearty and luxurious this stew is.  As with most "heritage" recipes use this as a guideline. Grandma never used a rule-book.

Cultural note: Lentil soup represented prosperity in the New Year. The carrots are cut across to mimic golden round coins - pretty and fun.


  • 2 cups of lentils (green or French) rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups of vegan stock (vegetable or "chicken")
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of white wine or sherry
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 carrot (sliced across into rounds - to represent the  coins!)
  • 2 dried bay leaves (or 1 fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped Italian parsely
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Chop the onions and the celery into a rough, 1/4 inch dice.  Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the stock pot. Add the onion and celery and saute until soft.
  2. Finely chop the garlic glove and add this to the pot. Stir into the onion and celery. Do not let the garlic burn or this will add an unpleasant bitter undertone to the stew. Immediately add the wine or sherry.
  3. Add the two bay leaves and pepper flakes.
  4. Stir in the rinsed lentils and let the wine reduce with the lentils.
  5. Add the 2 cups of stock and the one cup of water.
  6. Do not cover. Allow the stew to come to a boil and reduce the heat. Let the stew simmer for 30 minutes (do not boil).
  7. Add the carrot coins.
  8. Let the stew cook on low heat. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on the "thickness." You may need to add more water. If the stew becomes to thick, add enough water to loosen the broth. The lentils soften, absorb the broth and thicken the stew in stages.
  9. Lentils are a natural and varied product, so cooking times and liquid additions vary. Test the lentils for "doneness" after one hour. One they are "soft" the stew is finished. Continue cooking if you like your lentils to open and become very soft. It's all a matter of taste!
  10. Remove the 2 bay leaves. Toss the parsley and add some freshly cracked pepper. Test the stew for salt and add this to taste. Do not add too much salt - add in steps, stirring in between and testing for salt levels each time.

Call in the crowd! Your New Year's Resolution dinner is ready. Serve with warmed French or Italian bread (or garlic bread). Pour some extra virgin olive oil in a dish, add some herbs and fine sea alt and you have a perfect Italian dipping oil for the bread. Who knew that healthy could taste so good and be so comforting! This antique stew holds so many memories. Let it help create new ones for your family and friends.

Photo Courtesy: Flickr

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Raised on an old fashioned farm, Andrea knew animals would be her passion. Her farm specializes in vegan homesteading - she is also a poultry behaviorist specializing in chicken rehabilitation and rescue. She teaches courses in writing and sustainability at a local university and her current work involves uncovering the language and culture of chickens and horses. After earning a Ph.D. from Boston University, Andrea became a freelance writer with a focus in animal welfare. She shows clients how to connect with their chickens and horses at Black Thistle Farm, where she is “just one of the flock” – and not at the top either. After all, it’s all about the chickens!

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Leave a Comment

  1. Support
    This looks perfectly hearty & delicious. Thanks for the post!
    Log in to reply.
  2. Andrea Martin
    Andrea Martin
    This is an old family recipe. People in the US forget that most foods and cuisine ARE vegan! Being vegan just makes you a traditionalist. Once, nearly all cooking WAS vegan. Where did we start to go wrong?
    Log in to reply.
  3. Wendy Werneth
    Wendy Werneth
    Looks delicious! I just spent 10 days in southern Italy over the holidays and tasted sooo many vegan dishes that I'd never heard of before. No matter how many times I return to Italy, there's always something new to discover. Can you tell me the name of this dish in Italian? Is it just minestra di lenticchie or does it have a special name? Thanks!
    Log in to reply.
    1. Andrea Martin
      Andrea Martin
      How wonderful! That is a stunning area. This is my great-great grandmother's recipe (no idea just how old it is) from Ascoli Piceno. That is a good question. I'm not sure what it was called originally, but that would be the proper name. They may have had a dialect-type name for it. We always made pasta-fagiole, but WITHOUT the pasta! The lentil soup was a staple on our farm.
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  4. kevrob
    Awesome & fabulous Lentil Soup... Thanks for giving the direction and recipe to prepare this lovely Italian stew...... #blogger
    Log in to reply.
    1. Andrea Martin
      Andrea Martin
      I love sharing traditional food. Not only was the old-style cooking so good for us, but it was always vegetarian or vegan. The farm animals were so important to us on our farm (respected and revered). That was how it USED to be.
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  5. Andrea Martin
    Andrea Martin
    Hi, all. I will no longer will be writing for this company. They use random discriminatory tactics to blacklist certain writers. As a professional writer - I have no interest in playing petty games with these kinds of penny corporations. Don't waste your time writing for $15 when the going rate is $50. While I enjoyed writing for the vegan audience (and that is why I submitted posts) - the establishment made this venture not worth my time. For writers playing silly games with this company - please move on to greener and more professional pastures. Contact me if you need help getting REAL clients:
    Log in to reply.


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