Grab a bowl and get ready for a big hug of cozy goodness. Healthy, hearty, packed with plant protein, this low-fat, oil-free Hungarian Lentil Vegetable Stew is brimming with savory, aromatic flavor. Feel good ingredients: onions, garlic, celery, carrots, roasted red bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and lentils come together in a delicious velvety paprika broth that is sure to make your belly happy.
Whole Food Plant Based, vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, gluten free, no highly processed ingredients.
Hi there, Ameera here!
Mom and I are in full Instant Pot mode these days. If we can find a way to put it in an Instant Pot, then we are going to give it a try!
There is one variety of recipes we kind of shy away from and that is pasta in the Instant Pot. Since we use gluten free pasta, which is already finicky when cooking the traditional way, adding gluten free pasta to an IP doesn’t seem to hold up well in our experience.
Perhaps we just need to try it again. Have you had successes with cooking gluten free pastas in an instant pot?
Sweet Paprika VS Hungarian Sweet Paprika
There are subtle differences between sweet paprika and Hungarian sweet paprika. Hungarian sweet paprika seems to be more full-bodied and has more depth of flavor in our humble opinion.
You do need to make sure you get “sweet” paprika as some Hungarian paprikas have some heat to them. We love Penzeys Hungarian Style Sweet Paprika. You can totally use regular sweet paprika or some know it as a traditional paprika if you wish.
A battuto is simply minced veggies. We combined onions, celery, carrots, and garlic into a food processor and finely minced them so they would “melt” into the stew sauce adding delicious depth of flavor. It’s a great way to infuse sauces with veggies to get maximum flavor.
Nod to Hungarian Stew
This stew is a nod to a Hungarian Stew. We replaced the meat with lentils. It is healthy, oil-free, sugar-free, dairy free, vegan, and contains no highly processed ingredients.
The best part is that it tastes amazing and you won’t miss the meat one bit. The lentils and potatoes lend heartiness and the flavor is rich and tasty.
I’ll let Mom tell you more.
Hi! Robin here!
Yes, we have totally been on an Instant Pot roll for sure; however, we are also providing stove top (and often oven) instructions for making these dishes as well.
We do want you to note that it takes significantly longer to make this stew on the stove top since the acidity from the tomatoes really inhibits the cooking process of the potatoes and lentils. If you have an Instant Pot, we strongly recommend using it for this stew.
I love our Instant Pot, but there is a learning curve and some intuitiveness that comes into play when using one. We have found that “timings” are the biggest factor. We have an 8-quart Instant Pot. It would appear that the 6-quart tends to cook soups and stews just a tiny tad bit faster than the 8-quart. Although, you will find that the Instant Pot Company will tell you differently. We have found that most people either love it or hate it. We love ours!
This Hungarian stew is naturally on the sweeter side due to the roasted red peppers and carrots. It is sweet, yet delightfully savory as well. If sweetness in a stew is not your thing, then this recipe probably won’t be a hit for you and you may way to try one of our other stew recipes. Check out some of our savory lentil stews below!
Delicious Lentil Soups & Stews
- Creamy Lentil Curry
- Lemony Thyme Lentil Soup
- Warming Lentil Soup
- French Lentil Rice Mushroom Stew
- Vegan Two Lentil Potato Stew
- Moroccan Sweet Potato Lentil Stew
- Food Processor
- Instant Pot or Dutch Oven (or similar large pot)
Healthy, hearty, packed with plant protein, this low-fat, oil-free Hungarian Lentil Vegetable Stew is brimming with savory, aromatic flavor.
- 2 large yellow onions, chunked
- 1 celery rib, chunked
- 1 carrot, chunked
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
Food Processor Ingredients:
- 1 – [ 12 oz. jar ] roasted red peppers, drained
- 1 – [ 14 oz. can ] petite diced tomatoes
Veggie Stew Ingredients:
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable broth *
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 – [ 8 oz. can ] tomato sauce
- 1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari *
- 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (unpeeled) *
- ¾ cup small brown lentils (uncooked, rinsed well*)
- 6 carrots (peeled and sliced into pennies)
- 4 celery ribs, small dice
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda *
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
- 1 Tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika *
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon regular chili powder *
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt (+/-) *
- Pinch black pepper (+/-)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups frozen peas
Instant Pot Instructions
- Add the Battuto Ingredients (onion, carrot, celery, and garlic) into a food processor, and process until the veggies are very finely minced. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté (high) mode, then add minced Battuto Mix into the Instant Pot, sauté for 7 to 8 minutes until the water from the minced ingredients lose some of their water.
- In the meantime, add the roasted red peppers and petite diced tomatoes to the food processor, process until pureed, then add to the Instant Pot with the Battuto Mix after you have completed the Battuto sauté. Sauté for several minutes.
- Next add all the Veggie Stew Ingredients and the Spice/Herb Ingredients, stir well to combine. Press Cancel, then set the Instant Pot to Manual Pressure High for 14 minutes. When finished, press Cancel and allow to sit for 5 minutes, then do a Quick Release. Unplug the Instant Pot.
- Once all the pressure is released, carefully remove the lid, remove the bay leaves (discard), and add the frozen peas. Stir to combine, allow a few minutes for the flavors to marry.
- Serve and enjoy.
Stove Top Instructions
- Add the Battuto Ingredients (onion, carrot, celery, and garlic) into a food processor, and process until the veggies are very finely minced then add to a ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven or similarly large stock pot, sauté for 7 to 8 minutes until the water from the minced ingredients lose most of their water.
- In the meantime, add the roasted red peppers and petite diced tomatoes to the food processor, process until finely pureed, then add to the pot with the Battuto Mix after you have completed the Battuto sauté. Sauté for several minutes.
- Next add all the Veggie Stew Ingredients and the Spice/Herb Ingredients, stir well to combine, heat to boiling, then immediately lower to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, (we suggest a ceramic/enamel lined Dutch Oven, and cook for 30 to 60 minutes, checking occasionally for tenderness, largely dependent upon the lentil selected and the size of the potatoes.
- Once the lentils and potatoes are tender, add the peas. Taste test the flavors and add any additional seasonings and cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Remove the bay leaves (discard).
- Serve and enjoy.
Tips for Success:
- Stove Top Cooking versus Instant Pot Cooking: Lentils and potatoes take significantly longer to cook when in a tomato sauce. The acid from tomatoes tends to close the cellular walls of most veggies and beans, which means it takes a lot longer for liquids to penetrate the potatoes and lentils to become tender. You can cook this stew on the stove top just know going in that it may take a lot longer to cook than anticipated. The baking soda helps reduce this cooking time somewhat. If needed, cook the lentils and potatoes separately, then add them to the stew to finish cooking to speed up the process. An Instant Pot forces pressure into the potatoes and lentils which significantly reduces cooking times. If you have an Instant Pot, we highly recommend using it for this recipe.
- 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot: We used an 8-quart Instant Pot. If using a 6-quart Instant Pot, you may need to slightly adjust the pressure times accordingly – largely based upon the size of the cut of potato and lentils selected (green vs brown), etc.
- Spices: This stew is mildly spiced. We enjoyed the beautiful flavors. We suggest using the spice amounts listed in the recipe and ramping up any spices needed at the very end. For an Instant Pot, you can add additional spices after you have removed the lid. The stew is still hot enough to cook any additional spices added.
- Chili Powder: Chili powder is not traditional to a Hungarian stew, but we felt it added a nice dimension of flavor, yet one wouldn’t immediately recognize the flavor as “chili powder”. We loved it.
- Hungarian Sweet Paprika: You can use regular sweet paprika if you don’t have Hungarian Sweet Paprika available.
- Sweetness: This Hungarian stew is naturally on the sweeter side due to the roasted red peppers and carrots. It is sweet, yet delightfully savory as well. If sweetness in a stew is not your thing, then skip this recipe.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: We like to use Yukon Gold potatoes as they don’t need peeled and hold up well in stews. We use approximately 2 pounds of potatoes.
*Vegetable Stock: We use Low Sodium Pacific Organic Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
*Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium. You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.
*Small Brown Lentils (Pardina/Spanish Brown): We used Palouse Brand Small Brown Lentils. You can substitute any type of lentil for the brown lentil (other than red); however, you may need to adjust the cooking time. We have found that the Small Brown Lentil works beautifully with this recipe.
*Baking Soda: Baking soda is often used as a neutralizer for dishes that contain a lot of acidity, typically from tomatoes. We use it in this dish to remove some of the tomato acidity (from the petite diced tomatoes and tomato sauce) without losing the tomatoey flavor. When you add it, the mixture will bubble up, then settle down as it neutralizes the acidity.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Serving: 5 to 6 (makes 12 cups of stew)
*Storage: Refrigerator up to about 4-5 days
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