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Craving comfort food that’s also good for you? This single serving Lentil Stew is what you’ve been looking for. Packed with plant-based protein and brimming with vegetables, this one-pot wonder delivers big on flavor. Easy to make and endlessly customizable, it’s the perfect dish any time of the year, not just winter months!

Enjoy your bowl of hearty Lentil Stew with a slice of freshly baked French Bread or fluffy Butter Swim Biscuits. Pair it with a side of wholesome Brown Rice and a refreshing Tomato Salad for a complete and satisfying meal.

Why You’ll Love This Lentil Stew Recipe

  • One-Pot Wonder: Everything is cooked in a single pot, meaning fewer dishes and less cleanup.
  • Quick Cooking: Uses green or brown lentils that cook fast and evenly, so you can enjoy your stew sooner.
  • Recipe Doubles Well: Whether you’re entertaining or just want leftovers, this recipe easily scales up to meet your needs.
  • Customizable: This stew is a fantastic canvas for the vegetables you have on hand, making it versatile and waste-free.
  • Nutrient-Packed: Loaded with plant-based protein and a variety of vegetables, this stew is as nourishing as it is tasty.

Ingredient Notes

This section provides a quick rundown of the ingredients used in this easy lentil stew recipe. For complete measurements and step-by-step instructions, please scroll to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

  • Bacon: Use center-cut bacon for a leaner option, but feel free to use whatever bacon you prefer. The bacon not only adds flavor but also provides the cooking fat for the veggies. If you have a few strips of bacon leftover, consider using them in Clam Chowder, Pasta Carbonara, or a Crustless Quiche Lorraine.
  • Vegetables: This recipe calls for a mix of onions, garlic, carrots, kale, and tomatoes. Cook these in the bacon fat for extra depth of flavor. Swap in spinach for kale or other veggies you have available, just keep the quantities similar. For tomatoes, 8 cherry tomatoes can be substituted with 1 Roma or half of a large tomato.
  • Seasonings: A simple but effective blend of Italian seasoning, black pepper, and salt is all you need to spice this stew to perfection.
  • Lentils: Stick with green or brown lentils as they retain their shape well during cooking. If you opt for red or yellow lentils, expect a slightly mushier texture.
  • Chicken broth: To make this stew vegetarian, omit the bacon and use vegetable broth. In this case, sauté your veggies in a tablespoon of olive oil instead. We use chicken broth in so many of our soup recipes like White Bean Soup and Curried Carrot Soup. It’s also used in Risotto and Chicken Stew.

If you have any ingredients leftover from this small batch lentil stew recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

Recipe Variations

If you love the idea of this lentil stew but want to play around with flavors or ingredients, you’re in the right place. There’s ample room for creativity here. So, let’s look at some variations to spice things up:

  • Go Spicy: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a dollop of your favorite hot sauce to give the stew a kick.
  • Add More Veggies: Stir in some additional veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, or even some cubed butternut squash.
  • Seafood Twist: Turn this into a fish stew by adding some shrimp or white fish chunks. Make sure to add these towards the end of cooking so they don’t get overcooked.
  • Creamy Lentil Stew: To add a creamy texture, stir in a spoonful of Greek yogurt or coconut milk before serving. It’ll give your stew a rich, luscious texture without being overly heavy.
An overhead view of a bowl of lentils topped with chopped bacon and sliced tomatoes placed on a silver tray.
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How To Make Lentil Stew

See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Cook bacon in a 2-quart saucepan. Remove the bacon from the pot and place on a paper towel lined plate to cool. Add chopped onions, carrots, and kale to the pot and cook until the vegetables have softened. Stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning, and pepper; cook for 30 seconds longer.
  2. Stir in the lentils and chopped tomatoes. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender. Stir in the salt and add in the cooked and crumbled bacon, pour into a bowl and enjoy.

Expert Tips

  • Rinse Lentils First: Before you start cooking, make sure to rinse your lentils thoroughly in a fine-mesh sieve under cool water. This removes any lingering dust or debris.
  • Season After Cooking: Wait until your lentils are fully cooked before adding salt. Adding salt too early can result in lentils that are crunchy and slightly tough.
  • Use the Right Pot Size: This recipe is tailored for a 2-quart saucepan. Stick with a pot of similar dimensions to achieve the best cooking results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is eating lentils good for your health?

Absolutely, lentils are nutritional powerhouses. They’re packed with protein, fiber, and iron, while being low in calories and saturated fat. Polyphenols found in lentils are even thought to have potential benefits for a range of health issues including digestion and cardiovascular health.

What’s the best way to store lentils?

Uncooked lentils can be stored in your pantry for up to a year without losing their quality. Once cooked, you can freeze them for up to three months or refrigerate them and use within a week.

Can I double this lentil stew recipe?

Yes, this lentil stew recipe doubles well. Just make sure to use a larger pot to accommodate the increased volume of ingredients.

What can I use instead of bacon in lentil stew?

If you’re vegetarian or just out of bacon, you can sauté the vegetables in a tablespoon of olive oil. You’ll still get a tasty stew!

A close up of a bowl of lentil stew.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

For information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this lentil stew or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!

Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Lentil Stew For One

4.75 from 8 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Warm up with a bowl of single serving Lentil Stew that's simple to prepare and brimming with rich flavors. This customizable one-pot wonder is a comforting dish that you'll want to make again and again.


  • 1 slice bacon
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup chopped carrots (1 small carrot)
  • ¼ cup chopped kale
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup dry green lentils
  • 8 grape tomatoes , sliced in half. May use instead 1 Roma tomato or 1 medium tomato, chopped.
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese , optional for topping
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  • Cook bacon in a 2-quart saucepan on medium heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate, leaving fat in pan.
  • Add chopped onions, carrots, and kale to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and Italian seasoning, and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 seconds.
  • Add lentils, tomatoes, broth, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a simmer; lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, until lentils are tender. Stir in salt and add in cooked and crumbled bacon.
  • Pour into a bowl and add grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.


  • Rinse Lentils First: Before you start cooking, make sure to rinse your lentils thoroughly in a fine-mesh sieve under cool water. This removes any lingering dust or debris.
  • Season After Cooking: Wait until your lentils are fully cooked before adding salt. Adding salt too early can result in lentils that are crunchy and slightly tough.
  • Use the Right Pot Size: This recipe is tailored for a 2-quart saucepan. Stick with a pot of similar dimensions to achieve the best cooking results.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 276kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 824mg, Potassium: 703mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 5346IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Teresa says:

    More os a soup than a thicker stew, but good!

  2. Vicki Wilson says:

    I really enjoyed the soup. I didn’t have bacon but I substituted ground turkey sautéed and a little olive oil. It came out very delicious. I will be making this again.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for your feedback.

  3. Patricia A Potts says:

    I basically made as per the recipe but did substitute cherry tomatoes for the grape tomatoes and used baby spinach for the kale which I added (1 cup of) just before serving and also added some zucchini, all up I used 3 cups of vegetables and ended up with 1 1/2 serves which was extremely filling and delicious and as my late dad would say it is only a stew if you can eat it with or fork or it is a soup if a spoon is needed well mine turned up in between the two and made a delicious, filling dinner which was lo-carb. Thank you.

  4. bebe says:

    could i make this with the red lentils i have. if so are any time adjustments needed. this recipe sounds sooo good. thank you

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I really recommend using green or brown lentils in this recipe because they hold their shape better than red or yellow lentils do. You can use red lentils though and cook them for between 15-20 minutes.

  5. Carol says:

    I don’t see where you add the bacon back in. Do you just use the bacon fat?
    I do love the work you put into these recipes. Most are the best you find out there. Thanks for your hard work.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Hi Carol, Add the cooked and crumbled bacon after the lentils have simmered (Step 3). I added this information to the recipe, thank you.

  6. Theresa says:

    Love this recipe! I am so glad I found this site 🙂 I have tried several recipes and all of them are great.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed the stew! Thank you so much, Theresa.

  7. Evan says:

    Looking to try this again in the future. I’m not sure what error I made, but after 22 mins, the lentils still seemed just a tad undercooked.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      It sounds like the lentils needed to be cooked longer. Next time, add maybe another 5 minutes to your cooking time to see if that helps.

  8. Anne says:

    I made this as a side dish with chicken and cauliflower steaks. It was my first try at cooking lentils and the recipe turned out great. I added red and green peppers as well as celery. I will definitely be making this again. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      The peppers and celery sound like a delicious addition. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe.