If you’re looking for a delicious, inexpensive vegetarian meal that you can prepare in no time, then look no further. This recipe for a vegetable and lentil stew is good for your budget as it is for the soul. It’s an ideal recipe for a Meatless Monday meal!

What I like most about this recipe is that you can add just about any starchy and fleshy vegetables that you may have at hand, and I’m sure you won’t have to run to the shops either, as most of the other ingredients are probably in one of your kitchen cupboards already! I love recipes likes this because I can be creative without spending a whole lot.

My favourite vegetable combination to add to this stew includes a mix of pumpkin, butternut, green peppers, carrots, green beans, potatoes and zucchini. If you prefer, you could also buy a packet of mixed, chopped vegetables and just use that instead. I often have quite a few fresh vegetables on hand so I tend to chop up and mix my own. That’s the beauty of this recipe – simply use what you have.


Lentils are a healthy substitute for meat, and very cheap too (500 gr. of lentils cost less than R20). Lentils are very nutritious too, yielding more protein than meat, believe it or not. They are also a good source of B vitamins, potassium, iron, magnesium and zinc and as such, I love adding lentils to stews and soups whenever I can. Plus, they taste delicious too.

And while it may be true that stews are probably more suitable for those cold, winter nights, we don’t really mind having a steaming hot bowl of vegetable & lentil stew any time of the year. It is really that delicious! I often double up the recipe, so that I can freeze a few extra meals for later, as part of my meal prep for the month. This recipe freezes well.


700 gr. chopped up vegetables

* Choose starchy, fleshy vegetables such as: potato, sweet potato, green beans, mange tout, green or red peppers, zucchini, carrots, pumpkin, peas, butternut or squash.

1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes (you can substitute with 1 tin of tomato & onion mix)

1 large Onion, finely chopped

1-2 fresh Chillies, finely chopped (optional)

4 Tbsp. Cooking oil

2 cups Lentils, pre-cooked

1 Tbsp. Parsley, freshly chopped

1 Tsp. Paprika

1 Tsp. Aromat

½ Tsp. Peppadew spice

½ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

Bisto / Oh so Gravy / Maizena to thicken


Heat up the oil in a fairly large pot, preferably a cast iron pot if you have one (best for cooking stews). Add the chopped onion and fry until golden brown. Add the vegetables and chopped chillies if using, and fry for about 10-15 minutes, adding a bit of water as you go along, to prevent sticking.

Then add the tinned, chopped tomatoes and all the seasoning: paprika, Aromat, Peppadew, Cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and parsley. Top with hot water, as needed. I usually add between 500 ml to 750 ml of water. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little more hot water as needed.

Finally, add the pre-cooked lentils and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Adding the lentils will also help thicken the stew. At this point, adjust the seasoning if necessary and add gravy to thicken, as needed, and cook for a few more minutes.

And voila, this delicious vegetable & lentil stew is ready to be served, with a slice of warm, homemade bread or a steaming hot bowl of rice. Enjoy!

If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, please share it with others! While you are here, check out some of my other budget-friendly recipes in the Thrifty Recipes section of my blog!

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