stewed lentils and tomatoes

My husband and I really don’t bicker much. I mean, sure, there’s the whole “tone” thing which often gets misheard in a “you’re being snippy” or “no, you’re being snippy” or “well, you were snippy first” sort of way, but mostly, mostly there’s been just one argument of late and it goes exactly like this:

“But you’ve never even been to Forest Hills! How can you say that you could never live there?”

So Sunday, I did my part for marital harmony. We wandered about this corner of Queens where my husband once lived and where the two-bedrooms are slightly more affordable, and yes, I will agree that especially in that tudor part, this neighborhood is the absolute height of lovely. Fortunately, we do not intend to make any moving decisions any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that nothing good came of this excursion. You see, I bought not one but two (!) new cookbooks, completely blowing my less-than-one-per-year average out of the water.

How does someone who cooks as much as I do own so few cookbooks? Well, I stick to the basic, larger volumes and rely on my beloved magazines, food sites and your blogs for the rest. But, when I fished back through my rainbow-bookmarked Gourmet on Sunday morning to pick a recipe for dinner, upon reconsideration, few were as exciting as they’d seemed when I first opened it. The root vegetable gratin had about two cups of cream, and the brussels with wild mushrooms and shallots, on top of a deep-frying step, had nearly a stick of butter. Mon dieu! The hips! I mean, I’m not exactly fearful of butter or olive oil, but I eat something that involves any part of almost two cups of fat, it’s not going to be brussels and turnips, okay?

lowered ladder

Which leads me to the need for some fresh sources; I’ve had the first America’s Test Kitchen cookbook on my Amazon wish list for so many years, it’s growing roots, and the other, well, I’ve tried again and again to get past my fixation with Ina Garten’s cooking, and let’s just say the with the purchase of her most recent book, it’s not looking likely that this will abate very soon. The entire subway ride home, we thumbed through the glossy, picture-book pages, both landing fixated on the stewed lentils with tomatoes. After a quick trip to the grocery store – oh beloved grocery stores, just two blocks from home! – we were set, and less than an hour later, the most delightful smell wafted through our small and not-tudored apartment. This recipe is an undeniable hit; thick, hearty, healthy, unboring and perfect for the first of many cold and frightfully windy days to come. An outing, two cookbooks, a belly full of stew, a glass of Bordeaux, an episode of the Wire and fingers crossed for no housing angst on the horizon, I’d say it was not bad at all for a Sunday.

stewed lentils and tomatoes

Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

2 teaspoons good olive oil
2 cups large-diced yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups large-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
1 cup French green lentils (7 ounces)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and the carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.

Meanwhile, place the canned plum tomatoes, including the juice, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped. Rinse and pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones in the package.

Add the tomatoes, lentils, broth, curry powder, thyme, salt and pepper to the pan. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Check occasionally to be sure the liquid is still simmering. Remove from the heat and allow the lentils to sit covered for another 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, season to taste and serve hot.

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118 comments on stewed lentils and tomatoes

  1. tammy

    sometimes i find it hard to believe that there is another person in this world that loves barefoot as much as i do… you’ve truly proved your undying love and respect for her…

  2. Do NOT move to Queens. It is a social wasteland. Remember when you didn’t listen to me and you moved to the upper east side and wondered why no one would visit? If you move to Queens you may as well move to Baltimore because it is just as likely that anyone would go there as Queens.

    Eh-Hem. Clears throat. Now go beat your husband for talking crazy talk.


  3. About 10 years ago, I spent a week in Forest Hills courtesy of the company I worked for at the time and I loved the place. I thought the Tudor-esque apartments were charming, I loved the single family homes off the main street, and I loved the fact that there were things like kosher Chinese restaurants. But, hey, what would I know? I live in Baltimore!

    At any rate, I applaud your cookbook choices, the stew looks delicious, and The Wire is such a good show that I find myself sort of stunned by how good each episode is. Sounds like you had the perfect day.

  4. Yvo

    Okay, this entry looks like it will stem a heated debate, but here goes: I grew up in Forest Hills. Did I hang out in Forest Hills? Absolutely not; I went to high school in downtown Manhattan, and hung out all over the city whenever, whereever. That’s how it’s done- FH is close enough but far enough for lovely homes and good schools, close enough to consider going into the city every day of the week regardless. (I now live in downtown Manhattan, but when I marry and have kids, I’ll be moving back into Queens.)
    Forest Hills is really a lovely neighborhood; I wouldn’t mind buying a house there except I can’t afford it. Yet.

  5. This looks so comforting and good.

    I agree with the olive oil/ butter thing – if I’m gonna eat it in mass quantity, it’s certainly not gonna be on vegetables.

    I wanted to comment on your previous entry – those buns looks awesome, I’m hoping to make them soon!

  6. Well, I can’t weigh in on the FH issue, being in Minnesota, ya sure yooo betcha.

    And as for Ina, well I have seen her books and not been smitten, but some of the recipes I have tried have been delightful. This one looks delish too, but I would have to save it for a kid-free night, as my 12yo would think me out to kill him if I served him such a ‘healthy’ dish. “Where’s the MEAT, Mom?!?!”

    BUT…..The Wire, now there is something worth waxing philosophic about. My H. and I caught the first two seasons and were blown away, then we moved, did not renew our cable, and now we pine, moan and tear out our eyelashes over how much we miss those HBO series. We just finished watching the 3rd season on DVD from Netflix. And I gasp and pant with anticipation over getting the 4th…..sometime in the next year or so. And I fully admit I have been cheating and reading up on it on the HBO website.

  7. Gretchen

    Move to Brooklyn! Cheaper housing, and everyone lives in Brooklyn. (Seriously. I don’t know anyone who lives in Manhattan anymore.)

  8. My good friends moved to FH a few years ago, bought a great one-bedroom convertible with a balcony big enough to grill and hang out on in the summer and are happy as clams. There are good grocery stores to be found, there’s Nick’s Pizza, a movie theater, and the LIRR! Which gets you to Penn Station in 15 minutes. Going to the airport is a cinch (though, yes, they do have a car), and going on outings to Long Island is easy too (and fun: apple picking! wine tasting! beach lying-about!). And none of their friends have the least problem going out there to visit them. Sometimes we even spend the night. So, there you have it, another voice adding to the din ;)

  9. deb

    Tammy – Heh. I’m not sure I’d call it undying, but there were a few selling points to this book (incidentally, my first BC book purchase): two icing recipes, something find surprisingly hard to find solid recipes for, a yogurt-based version of her beloved lemon cake, and I third thing I can’t remember. Not a good sign!

    Joc – I’ll sign you and SantaDad up for our Park Slope rent funds drive. :) That said, touché on the UES. I hated it there, and have happily traded space for location since.

    Julie – FH lacks no charm, for sure. But it does lack proximity to anyone I know, friends or family. Waah, I just want to live in Chelsea forever!

    Yvo – Thanks for the input, it helps.

    SantaDad – I totally disagree; I think you’d choose no stairs and a 20 minutes further drive over our “penthouse” stairs. That said, I appreciate your offer to chip into our stay-in-Chelsea-forever rent fund. :)

    Lauren – Amen! Like mac and cheese.

    Abby – I’m not sure if they’re as fun as the bretzels, but they sure are tasty and more-filling. We finished them last night (the stew) and I think I’ll make it again very soon.

    Kate – We only got into the Wire this summer, back-viewing the first few seasons and wow. It is an amazing show. In addition, the commentary on Heaven and Here is great. David Simon himself reads it, and even commented once.

    Gretchen – See, that’s what I’ve been saying all along. Except the parts where I want to live are not cheaper and are only going to be worse when we are looking in a year or so. :(

    Luisa – Thanks! Your input helps a lot, especially from someone who also (I think) lives in the thick of things in Manhattan and knows what we’d be giving up.

  10. C

    I am so excited to see you cooking from this book because I’ve been kind of on the fence about it (God only knows why since I LOVE that woman) – I’m sold.

  11. Santadad

    “SantaDad – I totally disagree; I think you’d choose no stairs and a 20 minutes further drive over our “penthouse” stairs. That said, I appreciate your offer to chip into our stay-in-Chelsea-forever rent fund. :)”

    There’s always NJ.

  12. I love, love, love the BC and even went to a book signing last year. She is just as adorable in person as you would imagine. I have never had a bad outcome using her recipes – not ever. I heart Ina!

  13. bridget


    i lived in manhattan. had a boyfriend… for 2 years. heck, he even lived with me for a year of that… he was saving for a ring, we knew when we were getting married, where we were getting married, how many kids we were having and when… where we would be living in 4 years… and i am NOT the girl who plans things or takes any of that lightly… i never used to care if i got married and had kids or not…

    we moved to forest hills on September 20th. On september 29th, we broke up.

    not ONE thing went right the entire time i lived there. NOT one… from my dog poisoning himself, to my car breaking, to the demise of my relationship (and my ex’s renoucing of his 6.5 years of sobriety) to the mets not winning any night games (I was anxiously awaiting a night win to see the fireworks since i could see shea from the balcony) – i tell you NOTHING GOOD happens in queens…

    Stay happy. Stay in manhattan. i beg of you.

  14. bridget

    OH! and the grocery store (yes, there is ONE and its a key foods. BLEGH!) doesnt even have fresh broccoli… is it so much to ask for fresh broccoli???

    (i moved back to manhattan yesterday, incase you were wondering if i was still stuck out there… thats the ONLY thing that went right for a month and 10 days – that they let me out of the lease… and the dog recovered – at his vet in MANHATTAN…)

  15. Cdk

    I have to stick up for Queens here – I’ve been a reader for a long time (if you can believe it, my mother in law turned me on to the site, and ever since you’ve switched to Smitten Kitchen, I can’t seem to stay away). Anyway, I live in Woodside Queens, a little closer to Manhattan and much less quaint than Forest Hills. We left a “charming” (read claustrophobic) 4th floor walk up in Chlesea for a big two bedroom in Woodside two years ago and have barely looked back. (Well maybe the crazy landlord worries us, but that’s another story). In addition to cheaper rent, more space, and a view of trees, Queens also has unbelievable food. Within walking distance of my house is Sripriphai, some of the most delicious Thai food ever, the Mexican at De Mole is out of this world, and Spicy Mina, well my husband probably wouldn’t complain if I brought Mina home with me. And those are just the famous places. If you are a fan of Chowhound, you’ll understand why I love living in Queens. Sure, we give up some things that Manhattan has to offer, but that’s what the unlimited MetroCard was made for if you ask me.

  16. I’m a Queens girl and I agree, Forest Hills is lovely. In contrast, I grew up in Fresh Meadows and it is literally the middle of nowhere Queens. Manhattan is great for partying when you’re younger or before the whole kids situation, but I’m with Yvo, FH is better for raising kids and sending them to good schools; when that time comes for you. It’s a totally personal choice, but I’d much rather save on the rent money…

    Also, I think Queens has a great variety of ethnic foods, and FH seems to have a lot of lil gourmet items that I am often surprised to find. In general, you can find anything in Queens that you can get in Manhattan, and probably at a fraction of the cost. I find it hard to believe that Bridget couldnt find fresh broccoli.

  17. deb

    C – Now I remember, it has both a Mexican chicken soup recipe and a ribollita recipe I am eager to try. Now, I know these are available elsewhere, but of course, seeing them with those shiny pages made me want to try hers first. I am her marketers dream-come-true, I’m sure.

    SantaDad – Groan.

    Susan – Heheh, adorable. That was so not my first thought. That said, if I ever met her we know I’d embarrass myself with an ohmygodpleasehireme or something.

    Bridget – Uh, okay. So, yeah, like I mentioned, we’re just looking around, not planning on moving any time soon.

    Cdk – Your mother-in-law? That’s so sweet. Also, charming 4th floor walkup in Chelsea? Check! But, I really do find it charming, and don’t long for more space. That said, you are absolutely right about the food in Queens; some of the best ethnic food in the five boroughs, I’d argue, or at least the most authentic.

    Jnet – I love all the Queens folks coming out and talking about what they love, so thank you.

  18. deb:

    That’s funny, as I was with a friend and essentially, that’s what she did. Ina was sweet and gracious, but her assistant stepped in and moved us along quickly…

  19. Hi.
    I don’t know you, but I’m a girl that loves to cook, too. I made this recipe after my boyfriend got me the book for my birthday. I’ve made this around six times since then. Have you ever made her chicken pot pie recipe? It’s great. I find I cook it even more often than this one, and it’s even better for the weather.
    p.s. I always forget the vinegar, too.

  20. Kim

    Well, I’m not from NYC, not even close (I’m out in Seattle) but I must say, from what it sounds like, this Forest Hills place doesn’t sound too good. I stumbled on this blog by accident, looking to find this stewed tomoto and lentil recipe online to share w/ a friend. I feel compelled to write that I LOVE this cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home, it’s the best cookbook I own (and I have them a lot of cookbooks – America’s Test Kitchen, Joy of Cooking, Bon Apetit, Silver Spoon, etc, etc. etc.) Ina’s recipes always turn out well, and I’m no master cook (hence, all the cookbooks). The tomato feta and guacamole salads are also big hits among girlfriends. Thanks for posting the recipe, I searched forever!

  21. tricia

    Recently tried this recipe and LOVED it. Will definitely have to make a repeat appearance at some point. It was easy to make, flavorful, and made for great leftovers for days. Thanks!

  22. agata

    first time cooked was “good”, but since then i keep coming back to it on cold afternoons, and it’s now become one of the home’s favourites. Great also with dry porcini added to the stock and served with a dollop of creme fraiche or yoghurt.

  23. misswendy

    i had leftover cooked lentils. lots of them. so i adapted this recipe. i had no onion, so i used celery. i had no canned toms so i used tom sauce. the c urry made up for these poor substitutions. i made it a little more brothy and soup like. my husband raved over a hot homeade lunch on a rare cold midday.

  24. Mary Sue

    I just made this dish last night after finding your website through The Pioneer Woman. This was so yummy – it felt healthy and filling. Thanks!

    Also, I agree that the Barefoot Contessa is fantastic. She got me over my childhood aversion to Brussels Sprouts!

  25. I made this last night (I know – I’m a little late),but with only 14 oz. tomatoes & adding a shallot & it was delicious!! Also, very healthy (low in calories & fat, & high in fiber). I had the leftovers cold for lunch today – like a great lentil salad! The hubby liked it too & even declared it good enough for dinner (w/o meat – a major milestone).

  26. megan

    Just so you know, this recipe calls for chicken stock which makes it not vegetarian (you have it listed as a vegetarian recipe). Obviously vegetarians can just use veggie stock, but it can be frustrating to see people list recipes that call for animal flesh and then call it vegetarian.

  27. This is the second time I made this, and it works very well. This time I used fresh tomatoes and red lentils (just because these were what I had). Red lentils cook faster, which left the carrots still a little crunchy, and the fresh tomatoes gave a fresh taste, so even with these changes, it turned out very well. Thanks, Deb. Best, Agnes from Hungary

  28. astornan

    I also have to chime in for Queens, but only for the parts along the East River – Astoria and Long Island City. It is a foodie paradise and cheap and oh so close to Manhattan – skyline views are terrific! Due to ethnic diversity of the neighborhood the food and produce selection is out of this world. (4 types of dandelion greens in the spring, anyone?) Apartment rentals give you more space for less money, and it’s quiet – lots of trees and gardens. An abundance of train lines are available (R, N, W, E, V, G, 7) and lower buildings give you skyscapes beyond compare. My only complaint is a dearth of bookstores, but culturally we have PS1, Socrates Sculpture Park, Noguchi Museum & Garden, and more. Anyway, thank you for the recipes and food chatter!

  29. eliza

    I made this and it turned out great. Easy too. I put some in the freezer, and it re-heated perfectly. Great with grains and roasted veggies. Thanks for the recipe.

  30. joant

    Hi, Deb: Thanks so much for posting Ina’s stewed tomatoes & lentils recipe. I’m making it tonight (have to run out again for the onions, ugh :(…but wanted to see if anyone had made and reviewed it. (I’ve got two of Ina’s Cookbooks). Can’t weigh in on FH’s…did you guys actually move there in the end? Forgeddaboud Queens and come on down to the trendy LES…Grand @ the FDR…great prices…TERRACES…incredible views, plus the East Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo and the Village – are your backyard! OK – Now Ina: BIG FAN, myself. Love the woman. Have you tried her lemon yogurt cake (use low fat yogurt); white cannellini bean soup (PURE TUSCANY); I know I’m missing many – but these are definite keepers. I get rave reviews and recipe requests any time I make them. However, I’m like you, too…I don’t like to make the same thing too many times….I Just get plain old bored. But I will be sending a few random recipes. Onion Soup to die for. And how about some Chocolate Molten Baby Cakes? Oh My Gosh!!!!!!!…..worth every calories. Easy, delish and totally impressive. And…Zagablione that takes 5 minutes to whip up when you don’t have a dessert. You’ll never ever be without one again – that’s for certain.


  31. Cristina

    I’ve made this several times now, and it always comes out great – I love it with a drizzle of olive oil on top, the hubs prefers hot sauce. Some crusty bread and a salad with this make for a great dinner. I made a double batch tonight, and froze the rest as part of my ‘get ready for baby’ preparation. 3 more dinners in the freezer!

  32. Saffoula

    I made this today for New Year’s and it was a big hit. I added 2 stalks of diced celery with the onions and carrots. I also added a bay leaf when it was simmering. I used about 2 1/2 cups of chicken/turkey stock combo that I had in the freezer. It needed a good 50 minutes to cook. Even then it was perfectly al dente. The curry is what makes it. I will definitely be making this before the next new year!

  33. kaitlyn

    I just made this in a slow cooker and while the flavor was very good (I will forever pair lentils with thyme), I would not recommend the method. Since the water in the broth doesn’t evaporate as much as it would in the pan, it ended up very soupy and not stewy. I had to double the salt and throw in 1/2 cup of cous cous to give it some body. The red wine vinegar is really the magic ingredient.

  34. Kim

    The second recipe I’ve made from this blog (first was spaghetti with cheese and black pepper) and it turned out perfectly. I used dried thyme instead of fresh and topped my hubby’s portion with sliced grilled sausages as he is a serious meat-lover. If I weren’t a vegetarian I may have cooked the sausages in stew. We both tried the red wine vinegar on a couple bites but weren’t too fond of it so dipped in crusty bread instead. Very rich and satisfying!

  35. Rayye

    ok i made this tonight (for the second time) and i just have to post that i LOVE it. it is just so, soo good. the first time i made it i made it as written and it was perfect. Tonight, i used dried thyme [about 1/44 tsp, maybe more] and added a red bell pepper, diced, and some chopped cilantro- also super good! we like it with brown basmati rice. thanks so much!

  36. Kelly

    This is a fabulous recipe – thanks for posting. I added sliced mushrooms before adding the garlic, and white wine before adding the tomatoes etc.

  37. Stephanie

    I just LOVED this dish. My husband and I don’t care for thyme, so I left that out, but I loved the pairing of carrots with the tomato sauce. Sweetness without the added sugar. I will definitely be making this again since I had everything in my pantry!

  38. I’ve made so many delicious recipes from Smitten Kitchen, and LOVED this recipe as well. Who knew that something as simple as simmered lentils and tomatoes could be so good? I halved the chicken stock (ran out!) and didn’t have red wine vinegar so replaced with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and it still turned out delicious.

  39. Recently a friend of mine introduced me to your blog (which I now love) and a recipe for curried lentils she pulled from here, but it did not have sweet potatoes. I can’t find it and I would really like to make it again. Did it disappear? Help!

    Also, have you ever tried Halloumi, a goat cheese from Cyprus. It’s pretty fabulous and would go well with this as an appetizer.

  40. Debra

    Made this just as directed here except I substituted a sweet potato for the carrots. Oh, and I also added some chopped, sauteed smoked chicken sausage links (Aidells) after the lentils were throughly cooked. Very good. Don’t forget to add the vinegar – it rounds out the soup very nicely.

  41. Libby

    Just made this today, pretty much the way you have it outline. My husband had me tie the thyme into a “boquet garni” instead of stripping the leaves. This is SO delicious and filling! I wasn’t sure about the vinegar at the end, but it made it so perfect. The stew was even better after sitting for a while.

  42. Melanie

    This was soooo good, definitely a keeper… I did cook the lentils with the onions and carrots and let the stew cook much longer,probably closer to an hour after reading the comments of others. I just realized I also forgot the vinegar at the end but It was still absolutely delicious, It had such a rich taste … thank you!

  43. kellypw

    I just made these last week and they were terrific. I happened to have a chicken andouille sausage hanging around in my fridge and threw it in when sauteeing the onions. I too let them stew quit a bit longer than indicated – my husband is picky about texture. Very very tasty. Much better the second day too – I was surprised how well the flavors developed.

  44. Sarah Mc

    Made these this week and they were fabulous. I actually found the recipe in the BC cookbook, but then came across them here too, so knew that they would be as good as they looked! They were really filling, but still tasty and interesting to eat. My complaint with a lot of stews is that they just kind of turn to mush and have only one flavor and texture– not so with this one. And it can be ready in under an hour making it a great weeknight meal. I didn’t have red wine vinegar, so substituted apple cider vinegar and it still turned out great

  45. My wife have been making this recipe semi-regularly (4-6 times a year) for the last two or three years. Every time, I refer to the website. Its on the stove, and its always great. Methinks we’ll finally start taking some liberties next time.

    Also, whenever I come back to this recipe, I look at all the new comments. Its kinda fun to watch smiles unfold over years.

    Anyway, yeah. Kudos.

  46. Anna

    Queens, Forest Hills…I live in Bozeman, MT, and I think you should probably move HERE. CSA veggies galore, locally raised meats, thriving community, farmer’s markets, local wine and beer, wonderful Montana cheeses, and lots of room for kids to soak up the world. Not great takeout, but that is fine because in a place like this, you rarely run out of time.

    I love your site. Thank you! You have a following in Montana!

  47. Anna

    I just read my post and realized that the joking tone might not have come through. I say “move here” because it the opposite extreme of where you are. I adore NY and completely understand the joys of living there. I wanted to make sure that was understood!

  48. I was afraid that I would feel rather alone commenting here, six years after the original post… but it appears I was mistaken; that indeed, I am in good company.

    Just wanted to thank you for sharing this recipe! I love one-bowl meals that are warming, filling, nourishing, cheap and easy to make… and this one absolutely fits the bill. I have already added this to my mental rolodex of favorite foods. Six years later and it hasn’t gone out of style. ;)

  49. *Stacey*

    I made this dish last night for dinner and it was wonderful! However I did have some alterations. I added in some sliced jalapenos when I was cooking the onions and carrots for some extra zing! I also used red lentils instead of green lentils (Sprouts was out of green). I will be enjoying the leftovers today for lunch. Thanks deb!

  50. Jennifer

    I just found found this recipe a couple of days ago and tried it tonight! Delicious and filling. Can’t wait to add this to my rotation. Thanks for sharing.

  51. Analie

    Wow! Scrumptious! I love this stuff. For the non-lentil-loving people in my family, I could easily envision making this with chicken instead and cutting back on the liquids. Rather than dragging out the food processor, I used a pastry blender on the tomatoes; it makes life easier. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  52. Virginia

    Made your lentils as it was raining so much here and I couldn’t get out. So glad I did as they were delicious so thank you very much.

  53. Nadia

    I made these lentils last night (but being cheeky and in very very close proximity to Spain, I couldn’t resist some chorizo chunks inside too) – DIVINE!

    Thank you for the recipe!

    Greetings from Gibraltar,

  54. Jo

    Loved the recipe! I used butternut instead of carrot, and added a splash of lemon juice at the end along with a touch of damson vinegar. Served with Greek yoghurt on top, it’s simply divine.

  55. Staci

    I love lentils, tomatoes and Queens! We moved to Sunnyside last year and I can’t imagine finding a better neighborhood in NYC to raise our 3 year old!! Great playgrounds, lots of grocery stores & restaurants. We even have a nice farmers market with the same vendors as Union Square. And a 10 minute commute into Manhattan. I’m just sayin…;)

  56. Allison

    I just made this dish and it is absolutely delicious! The ingredients are so simple but the taste is not. I’m going to freeze some of it for reheating later.

  57. I cannot wait to make this tonight! I know this might be total sacrilege to change Ina’s recipe – but instead of using the food processor, would a can of diced tomatoes work? Or are the whole plum tomatoes sort of essential? Thanks, Deb! So stoked to have this for the weekend :)

  58. Sofi

    Yummy, easy, good for you, and cheap – can’t get better than that. Even the baby liked it. I’m curious about the purpose of the food processor step though. I skipped it (because I’m lazy about washing more dishes) and the tomatoes were totally integrated anyway.

  59. Julia Smith

    This recipe looks great and I’d like to make it for my book club tomorrow night. If I am cooking for six, do you suggest that I double it? Triple it? I was thinking of making it tonight, keeping it in the fridge overnight, and then re-heating it on the stove tomorrow evening before book club. Do you think that would work?

  60. kt

    I’m wondering about the diced tomatoes as well as I have a gazillion cans I need to start using – I think I’ll just take the plunge!

  61. jo

    I made this yesterday and it came out AMAZING! instead of curry powder, i used cumin. also i am wondering what the red wine vinegar does? it tasted it with and without and didn’t seem to make much of a difference. i cooked for a good hour and the lentils came out super tender. i also threw in 2 chicken breasts and by the time the whole dish was done, the chicken was super tender and the meat was falling apart. perfect. i served it with a little melted havarti cheese on top with brown rice. this is the perfect late fall/winter meal! and i love how most of the ingredients are pantry items!

    1. deb

      It’s supposed to add a little finishing zing, but if you can’t taste it, definitely don’t bother, of course. Glad you enjoyed it. I’m actually not a huge fan of curry powder, so I often do the same.

  62. Liz

    I embellished this recipe a whole lot. I didn’t have enough carrots, so added parsnips. I added brussels sprouts. I added some uncured, local, canadian bacon. Soooo delicious! Thank you!

  63. Emily E

    So this could be a really dumb question but are these dried lentils that you use? My husband was CONVINCED that dried lentils couldn’t take only 40-50 mins… :) thanks!!

  64. Crystal

    I love love love lentils! They are too underrated in my opinion and I can’t wait to try this recipe. I want to try to make it in my slowcooker after cooking the veggies. Im not sure how long it should take but I am excited on giving it a try. Thank you for sharing the recipe :)

  65. I loved this recipe, but am I the only who this turned out reeeally salty for? I made the rookie mistake of not tasting before I added the salt and it was very, very salty. I used chicken bouillon instead of stock and Goya canned tomatoes, which was probably enough sodium on their own before the 2 tsp salt, though I was still surprised! Usually lentils and veg can handle a lot but oh well, I will perfect it next time! The vinegar helped cut through.
    That being said, this was a delicious, fragrant, filling, and CHEAP recipe to make! And bonus points for all ingredients available at my bodega down the block and in my pantry, I think I spent $8 for a week of lunches!

  66. Sara

    This definitely deserves to be under the “weeknight” category – this is my go-to for a cheap, easy meal that I can store in my freezer for those days when I realize I have no lunch to grab. I find myself making this over and over again, no matter the time of year – thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  67. Hillary

    Made this yesterday! What a good pantry meal – I had everything but the carrots. I used apple cider vinegar and it worked just fine. Good way to use up that half bag of lentils I’ve had sitting around. Thanks Deb for a few days of CHEAP lunches!

  68. Courtney

    Deb (or anyone else reading this), what’s a good substitute for curry powder? I don’t really like the taste of curry (or the way it makes my apartment smell for days) but I don’t want to eliminate it entirely.

    1. deb

      Courtney — Are we the same person? I adore Indian spices and cannot stand prepared curry powder. Yes, I know this is my recipe here! I tried it. It wasn’t so bad. But by a few days into leftovers, I was back on the anti-curry front. I don’t think I’ve used it on the site since. I digress — if it’s just blended curry powder you don’t care for, but like other Indian spices, you might use some ground cumin, coriander and a pinch of ginger, cayenne, to get a nice curry-free flavor. Hope that helps.

  69. Courtney

    We might be the same person, considering how much we both love soups/stews and Indian spices (minus curry)! I used a mixture of coriander and cumin, and added ginger, paprika, cayenne and a little garlic powder-delicious! And now I have a go-to substitute for anything else that calls for curry powder.

  70. I had a brainfart and forgot to add the vinegar at the end or the thyme at the beginning and this was still so delicious. Thank you for recipes that are so kind to us with half-functioning brains. :)

  71. Kateoz

    I know this is an old recipe but just wanted to thank you for it. It’s on my roster of healthy freezer meals; I usually make a double batch and freeze the lot in portions.

    It’s also a really good one to package up and give to new mothers so they don’t need to do anything but cook a piece of chicken or salmon to go with it. :)

  72. Claire

    WOW this is good. Thank you so much!! Will definitely be adding this to my roster of work lunch recipes. So fast, easy, delicious, and healthy.

    p.s. I also forgot to add the vinegar but it is still amazing :)

  73. Emily

    I love this! Make it all the time now to eat throughout the week.

    Since I hate washing dishes, I’ve started making it a one-pot whole-meal by adding rice in the same pot. I’ve successfully added brown rice (1/2 cup rice to extra 3/4 cup water/broth) at the beginning of the process, or i’ve added white rice about 15-20 minutes from the end (when the lentils are soft but still have a slightly uncomfortable ‘bite) (1/2 cup rice to extra 1 cup water/broth). I also upped the spices a bit.

    Also, again since I hate washing dishes, I don’t pulse the tomatoes and instead just throw in a can of whole ones and break them up with my hands or a spoon.

    Also good for breakfast with a poached or sunny-side up egg on top!

  74. Jennifer

    My family loves this. We serve it on polenta. We like it better without the curry powder and we used dried thyme and petite diced tomatoes to save prep time. Thank you!

  75. Anne Marie

    True story. Got in my car after work and thought, what do I have in the house? Pretty bare, to be honest. Hmm, but I have lentils. What to do with them? I opened my phone to SK. Ha, I thought. I’ll hit random once and maybe it’ll be a lentil recipe. I did. It was. The gods were clearly at work so I didn’t think twice and made this recipe using pantry staples. Delish and warming on this cold Pittsburgh night.

  76. Cristina

    Making this for the second time in two weeks. It is so, so good. Been messing around with similar recipes for years and so glad to finally find the perfect one. Thank you!

  77. Khendra

    This is really great! I will try how it freezes and if it’s reheating well it will probably become a staple food for work lunches.
    I used lamb broth because I have tons of it canned (friend of mine raises and sells sheep), which is a very good combination. Just not vegetarian anymore.

  78. Mike Thornbury

    Living in SE Asia, I have no idea about the social pressures of choosing the right neighbourhood in North America, but your lentils were great.

    Getting the green French lentils here is very hit and miss – there’s a German shop that sometimes carries them, but having a vast Indian community they have every kind of dhal known to man. And fresh! One advantage to a community that eschews meat is that your pulses and grains, like rice, wheat, etc. are usually the new season stuff, not something sat in a warehouse for a year.

    I used channa dhal, which is a split yellow pea, soaked for twenty minutes. The locals make a wonderful vegetable stock that is black and tarry and runny that you add, probably has a mess of msg in it, but it really kicks up vege dishes. Thyme I have, olive oil and red wine vinegar are always in my cupboards and I can buy wonderful pomodora tomatoes in catering-sized tins which I portion out and freeze (the 35C temps and 80-90% humidity here means spoilage is a constant battle) I used my favourite cumin-rich garam masala in place of curry powder and a generous amount of local pepper (we’re known for our pepper and I go and bid for a sack of black peppercorns every year at the market, but buy red and white corns in more sensible quantities).

    The only other variance was to use some small-diced potatoes, mostly because they needed using.

    I had mine with a crusty home-made wholemeal roll, my wife with rice.


    Thanks for a great food blog. You are famous in our tiny part of Borneo :)

  79. Brianna

    I made this and was so glad I did! It’s delicious! I didn’t have any canned tomatoes, but my mom had just dropped off a large box of fresh tomatoes. So I chopped about 3 of them up and it was fine. Also, I don’t have curry powder, so I used a slew of spices found in curry (of which I have!): turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin. Seriously it was so good. This with a fresh loaf of bread – no words.

  80. Pearl Gropper Berman

    Your lentil stewed lentils and tomato stew is one my favourite dishes. Do you think it can be adapted for an instant pot?

  81. rzh

    I have made this as written and I have made this with chili spices, as a dupe of the Hale & Hearty lentil chili—my favorite lunch during my years in New York. It’s excellent both ways!

  82. Julia

    This recipe blows us away every time I make it. It looks so humble and unassuming, but it’s truly delicious. Sometimes I wilt in chopped kale in the last few minutes. The vinegar is a must-add at the end. It’s cozy and healthy and everything I want to eat when the weather starts to turn cold. Deb & Ina is an unbeatable combo!

  83. rose

    A staple of my house, especially when I feel overly busy.
    So easy, so delicious, provides ample leftovers that reheat beautifully to their original glory. Great on its own or with an egg on top and a little rice on the side.

  84. Stephanie

    Just made this recipe for the hundredth time, and it’s incredible each time – hearty and savory, and reheats wonderfully for a workday lunch. I highly recommend drizzling some balsamic vinegar over the top when you reheat it for an extra kick of flavor.

  85. Sophie

    Easy and delicious! I didn’t use a food processor to chop the tomatoes – just a pair of kitchen scissors and cut them in the can, then dumped them into the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients (one less thing to clean). I’m a Barefoot fan and this is a great recipe!

  86. E

    Made this during the coronavirus quarantine – perfect because it only required pantry staples! Even got to use up some lentils and one of my cans of tomatoes. I had leeks going bad so I substituted them for onions, but made no other changes to the recipe. Thank you, Deb!

  87. Patti

    I saw this recipe on one of Ina’s shows recently and got the ingredients today. Going to make it tomorrow night. It will be chilly and this will be perfect.

  88. DianaW

    A university friend used to make something very like this, but with only 14 oz tinned tomatoes, roughly equivalent weights of onions and carrots and red lentils (which collapse more readily) instead of the green ones.
    I’ve been tinkering with that recipe ever since! The vinegar is an interesting touch, so I might try adding that next time.

  89. Mary

    I have both green and brown lentils but would like to use up some of the brown (larger) lentils. Do I need to make any adjustments to liquid or cooking time, or anything else, to make what sounds like a wonderful winter meal with the brown lentils? Thanks so much!

  90. Carol

    I have made this for years. But I bake it in the oven covered in foil and put big chunks of potatoes, carrots, and onions in it. Sometimes I add brown rice to it. And, my wife likes a dollop of ricotta cheese on top. A healthy, humble and very satisfying meal.

  91. Tina

    I love this recipe. It’s in very regular rotation here. My favorite additions are a pound of sliced mushrooms and a 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained. And extra carrot chunks, they’re the best part. With all the extras, I usually add 1.5 times the seasonings.