This vegan curried butternut squash lentil stew is hearty, healthy and full of flavor. This recipe is rich in protein, gluten-free, oil-free and ready to enjoy in about 40 minutes.

A bowl of butternut squash and lentil stew with mushrooms and spinach.

Recipe Features

  • easy to make – after chopping up the veggies, everything in simmered in one pot and ready in 40 minutes
  • vegan, oil-free and gluten-free – this recipe works for those with dietary restrictions
  • freezer-friendly – this recipe can be made in advance and frozen up to 3 months
  • rich in protein and fiber – this recipe provides 15 grams of protein and 19 grams of fiber per serving

Ingredient Notes

Labelled ingredients for a squash, carrot and lentil stew on a counter top.
  • onion, garlic and ginger – flavor basics to start your stew, if you’re missing fresh ginger, no big deal, you can omit it or use a pinch of ground ginger
  • sweet potato – 2 cups cubed or about 1 medium sweet potato, regular potato would work fine here too, or you can use all butternut squash
  • butternut squash – you’ll need 4 cups peeled and cubed squash, use frozen peeled squash if you don’t feel like dealing with a whole one!
  • lentils – the recipe calls for uncooked green lentils but I’ve noted how to make it with red lentils below
  • mushrooms – white or cremini mushrooms work…don’t like mushrooms? leave ’em out
  • broth – any vegetable broth or stork, homemade or store-bought, works

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1. Cook the onions, garlic and ginger for a few minutes, then stir in the spices.

Onions, garlic and ginger sautéing in a pot on the stovetop.

Step 2. Add the squash, carrots, sweet potato, lentils and broth and simmer until the sweet potato and squash are tender. This should take about 20 minutes.

Dumping lentils in a large pot.

Step 3. Mix in the chopped mushrooms, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Adding chopped mushrooms to a large bowl of stew.

Step 4. Stir in the spinach, turn off the heat and let sit for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted and mixed into the squash. Season with salt and pepper, if you feel it needs it, and enjoy right away.

A spinach, mushroom and squash stew cooking in a large pot.

Tips and FAQs

  • you can use all butternut squash or all sweet potato instead of both
  • you can use finely chopped kale instead of spinach

Can I make this pre-cooked lentils?

This recipe can be made with 2 cups of pre-cooked lentils or a 19 oz can of drained and rinsed lentils. Reduce the simmering time to about 20 minutes, reduce the broth to 1 cup and add the cooked lentils when you mix the spinach in.

Can I use red lentils?

Yes. To use red lentils, use the same amount green and reduce the cooking time as red lentils don’t take as long to cook as green. Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

How should I store this stew?

If storing leftovers, let it cool then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Frozen stew can be thawed in the microwave or overnight in the fridge and then reheated stovetop.

Taking a spoonful of stew out of a bowl.

Related Recipes

Here are some more delicious vegan stews you’ll love:

For more butternut squash recipes, try my butternut squash lentil soup or slow cooker butternut squash soup.

Did you make this recipe? Click here to leave a review!

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A bowl of butternut squash and lentil stew with mushrooms and spinach.

Curried Butternut Squash Lentil Stew

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

This curried butternut squash lentil stew is loaded with nourishing ingredients. It’s got butternut squash, of course, but you’ll also find carrots, sweet potato, onion, garlic, mushroom and spinach. All these veggies create the most wonderfully creamy but textured, hearty dish that’s packed with nutrition.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced white or yellow onion (1/2 a large or 1 medium, 300 g)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 tsp each of curry powder, cumin and turmeric2
  • 2 heaping cups peeled and chopped carrot (about 5 medium carrots, 310 g)
  • 2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato (1/2 a large or 1 medium, 300 g)
  • 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (1 small/medium or 1/2 a large, 560 g)
  • 1 cup green lentils (200 g)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups regular or mini white or crimini mushrooms, chopped (160 g)
  • 5 handfuls fresh spinach (150 g)
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 – 1 tsp of each)

Instructions

  1. Add the garlic, onion and ginger to a large soup pot with 2 tbsp of water or broth and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  2. Stir in the spices and cook for 2-3 more minutes, stirring often. Add 1-2 tbsp of water or broth as needed if the pan starts to dry out.
  3. Add the squash, carrot, sweet potato, lentils and broth, cover and simmer lightly over low to medium heat until the squash, lentils and sweet potato are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped mushrooms, cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, stir in the spinach, turn off the heat and let sit for 3-4 minutes to allow the spinach to wilt and mix into the stew. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper, if needed and serve right away.

Notes

This recipe can be made with 2 cups of pre-cooked lentils or a 19 oz can of drained and rinsed lentils. Reduce the simmering time to about 20 minutes, reduce the broth to 1 cup and add the cooked lentils when you mix the spinach in.

To use red lentils, use the same amount green and reduce the cooking time slightly as red lentils don’t take as long to cook as green. Red lentils will be mushier and softer in the recipe whereas green lentils will hold their shape.

If storing leftovers, let it cool then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Frozen stew can be thawed in the microwave or overnight in the fridge and then reheated stovetop.

Mushrooms can be omitted if you’re not a big fan.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/5th of recipe (approx. 500 g)
  • Calories: 279
  • Fat: 1.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 57 g
  • Fiber: 19 g
  • Protein: 15 g

Keywords: squash lentil stew, vegan lentil stew, butternut squash stew

UPDATE NOTE: This recipe was originally published on February 5, 2017. It was updated with new photos and text on April 28, 2020.