Beat the winter chills with a bowl of this comforting Black Lentil and Orzo Stew that’s chock full of smoky, tangy, and umami flavors. With its wholesome ingredients, rich flavors, and simple preparation, this thick and hearty vegan stew is sure to become a staple in your meal rotation. This thick and hearty vegan stew is. It is cozy, super hearty, and full of vitamins. From the earthy richness of black lentils to the satisfying chewiness of orzo pasta along with delectable flavors, this black lentil and orzo stew is everything you need in the winter.
THE HEARTIEST SOUP EVER
This vegan soup is full of fresh herbs, aromatics, and so much flavor. The dominant flavors of fresh herbs, tangy tomato, sweet bell peppers, and smoked paprika pair so nicely with the earthy black lentils and neutral orzo. The fresh dill gives it a really distinct flavor that combines so well with the tangy tomatoes and sweet baby bell peppers. Smoked paprika gives it a delicious smoky undertone that makes this stew layered with flavor. So, grab your ingredients, fire up the stove, and get ready to savor this deliciously comforting dish.
Why You'll Love Black Lentil and Orzo Stew Recipe
Nutrient-Rich: The star ingredient, black lentils, is packed with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients and provides a hearty base that keeps you feeling satisfied and energized.
Tastes Delicious: Each ingredient in this stew contributes to its flavor profile. Fresh herbs like parsley and dill add a burst of brightness, while roasted bell peppers infuse the stew with a rich, earthy flavor. When combined with orzo pasta and vibrant vegetables, it results in a wholesome meal packed with flavors and texture.
Easy to Prepare: With simple pantry ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes, this recipe is easy to whip up in no time, making it great for busy weeknights.
Versatile and Customizable: Get creative with your stew by customizing it to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Experiment with green veggies like spinach or kale for added nutrition, or swap the orzo for quinoa or rice for a gluten-free alternative. You can even add mushrooms to this hearty soup. The possibilities are endless, allowing you to tailor this recipe to your liking.
Perfect for Meal Prep: This stew is great for meal prep. Whip up a big batch of this stew and enjoy it throughout the week for quick and convenient meals.
IS THIS A SOUP OR A STEW?
You may be wondering what makes this a stew instead of a soup. Most people imagine beef stew when they think of stew or some other meaty and thick concoction. Generally, stews are just like soup in that they have a bunch of vegetables cooked in a broth; however, stews are generally thicker. Stews are hearty, thick, and chock full of ingredients. With a stew, every spoonful is brimming with ingredients. Whereas a soup is broth and often some spoonfuls are just broth. I assure you this black lentil and orzo stew is super hearty and satisfying like a stew.
WHAT ARE BLACK LENTILS?
Black lentils are from the legume family. They are tiny and black and can also be referred to as beluga lentils or urad dal. What sets them apart from other lentils is a thicker skin that makes them retain their shape after cooking. Many other lentils turn to mush when cooked, but these babies stay firm and whole. This makes them ideal for both soups and salads. That is why I used them in this black lentil and orzo stew. Lentils are extremely nutritious. They are low in fat, high in fiber, and have both protein and iron. That is why they are an ideal food for vegans.
INGREDIENTS FOR BLACK LENTIL AND ORZO STEW
The ingredients for this hearty, vegan stew recipe are easy to find in most grocery stores. If black lentils cannot be found, substitute French or brown lentils, as they will retain the most integrity when cooking. For convenience, you may use a jarred or canned roasted bell pepper instead of roasting them.
Black Lentils: Lentils are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and iron that can help you stay full and energized throughout the day. Black lentils hold their shape well when cooked, making them perfect for hearty soups and stews. They add a rich, earthy flavor and a satisfying texture to the dish.
Orzo: orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta that contributes to the hearty texture of the stew.
Onion & Garlic: These aromatic vegetables form the flavor base of the stew, lending a sweet and savory depth to the dish and enhancing its overall flavor profile.
Bell Peppers: Roasted in the oven before adding to the stew. They contribute a smoky sweetness and vibrant color to the stew.
Water: to simmer the lentils, orzo, and veggies and create a flavorful broth for the stew.
Crushed Tomatoes: impart a rich, tangy flavor to the stew that perfectly balances the flavor of other ingredients.
Carrots: Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, fiber, and other nutrients. Carrots give this stew a sweet flavor along with a pop of color that complements the savory flavors of the other ingredients.
Smoked Paprika: Adds a depth of flavor and smokiness to the stew and makes it more flavorful.
Fresh Parsley & Dill: provide fresh flavor and herby goodness.
Olive Oil: to sauté aromatics and add a flavorful depth to the stew.
Salt & Ground Black Pepper: to season the stew and enhance its overall taste
Nutritional Yeast: gives the stew a cheesy and umami flavor, contributing to the savory flavors of the stew.
HOW TO MAKE BLACK LENTIL AND ORZO STEW
This stew has a couple more steps than some of my "easy" recipes. However, I would still consider this one a beginner cook-friendly recipe. Soups and stews are honestly one of the easiest things to cook and will encourage confidence and growth in the cook. They are very difficult to screw up, therefore making the cook feel accomplished pretty easily.
Roast Bell Peppers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add baby bell peppers to a skillet or sheet pan with a drop of oil and roast for 20 minutes. Once soft let them cool enough to handle and deseed and stem them and chopped small. Reserve to add to soup. Alternatively, you can use canned or jarred roasted bell peppers instead for convenience.
In a soup pot or deep skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until fragrant and beginning to get translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often until the garlic is golden and the onions are beginning to caramelize.
Add Carrots & Lentils
Add carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Incorporate lentils and water and bring to a boil, covered for 15 minutes. Check that the lentils are almost finished cooking. If they are still hard, give it another 5 minutes before proceeding.
Toss in Orzo and Tomatoes
Add orzo, tomatoes, smoked paprika, and salt and boil for an additional 10 minutes, covered, stirring every few minutes to avoid orzo clumping.
Season the Stew
Uncover and add nutritional yeast and stir well. Taste for salt and pepper and add to your liking. Check that the lentils are soft and the orzo is cooked through. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
Garnish & Enjoy!
Last, add the parsley and dill and stir into the soup. Let the flavors combine and serve.
Can I store this stew? Yes, you can store this stew in an airtight container. This stew tastes even better the next day. However, eat within 5 days if stored in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 3 months. Always allow food to cool completely before transferring to the containers.
Check Lentils for doneness: Before adding the orzo pasta, make sure the black lentils are almost cooked through. If they're still too firm, give them a few more minutes to simmer before proceeding with the recipe. This ensures that both the lentils and orzo are perfectly cooked by the end.
Make it gluten-free: Simply swap the orzo pasta for your favorite gluten-free alternatives, such as quinoa or rice. Ensure that all other ingredients are gluten-free as well, and adjust the cooking time as needed according to the package instructions.
Adjust Seasonings to Taste: Taste the stew before serving and adjust the seasonings as needed. Add more salt and pepper for extra flavor, or sprinkle in additional herbs for a refreshing twist.
Other delicious vegan soups
Black Lentil and Orzo Stew
- 1 cup black lentils dry, rinsed well
- 1 cup orzo uncooked
- 1 onion sliced
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 5 baby bell peppers roasted
- 10 cups water
- 15 oz crushed tomatoes
- 3 small carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp chopped dill
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt plus more to taste
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add baby bell peppers to a skillet or sheet pan with a drop of oil and roast for 20 minutes. Once soft let them cool enough to handle and deseed and stem them and chopped small. Reserve to add to soup.Alternately you can use canned or jarred roasted bell peppers instead for convenience.
- In a soup pot or deep skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until fragrant and beginning to get translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes stirring often until garlic is golden and onions are beginning to caramelize. Add carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add lentils and water and bring to a boil, covered for 15 minutes. Check that the lentils are almost finished cooking. If they are still hard give it another 5 minutes before proceeding.
- Add orzo, tomatoes, smoked paprika, salt and boil for an additional 10 minutes covered stirring every few minutes to avoid orzo clumping.
- Uncover and all nutritional yeast and stir well. Taste for salt and pepper and add to your liking. Check that the lentils are soft and the orzo is cooked. Simmer 5 more minutes.
- Last add the roasted peppers, parsley and dill and stir into the soup. Let the flavors combine and serve.
- Eat within 5 days or freeze up to 3 months. Always allow food to cool completely before covering.