Lentil and Mushroom Stew over Potato-Parsnip Mash is a hearty vegetarian meal the whole family will love. Fiber-rich and decadently delicious, this recipe will satisfy even the most devout carnivores.
Lentil Stew with Mashed Potatoes:
This lentil and mushroom stew is healthy comfort food at its FINEST. It combines rich, hearty ingredients in a real stick-to-the-bones winter warmer that both kids and adults will love. And, it’s dinner party appropriate while still being totally weeknight-friendly. Basically, there’s very little NOT to love about this one.
So, let’s break down the details here. This recipe starts with a mix of mushrooms (cremini for meaty texture, shiitake for umami flavor) and a slew of aromatics. Once these cook down, some woodsy herbs and a slick of tomato paste join the party. The former adds an herbal backbone, while tomato paste lends bright acidity and concentrated tomato flavor. Next comes the red wine, which deglazes the pan and cooks down just enough to add rich, tannic notes. (Note: since red wine is quite tannic, it will turn bitter fast. This is why you don’t want to reduce more than ~50% of the liquid.)
Next comes the broth, soy sauce (another umami booster!), and brown lentils, which amp up the heartiness. This gravy-like mixture is plenty enjoyable by itself, however it’s best served over a more neutral base. For example, mashed potatoes and parsnips. The parsnips add a touch of sweetness to the potatoes, which in turn, make them more dimensional in flavor. Plus, this is the time of year to reap the many benefits of this underrated root vegetable. You may even decide to start adding parsnips to all mashed potato recipes.
Which Lentils are Best?
This recipe calls for brown lentils, which are the most common variety of lentil. In terms of color, they can range from khaki-brown to dark brown, however they all have the same earthy flavor. I love using brown lentils because they hold their shape well and cook relatively quick (about 20 to 30 minutes). If you’re looking to save time, pick up a container of Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils (located in the produce section), or use canned.
If making from scratch, I recommend cooking the lentils in broth, as opposed to water, for extra flavor. Since this recipe calls for 2 cups of vegetable broth, you can just use the remaining 2 cups of broth from one quart. Or, if using water, just make sure it’s well-salted.
Lentils are a great source of fiber and plant-based protein. They’re also a decent source of iron, magnesium, and folic acid. Additionally, lentils are extremely inexpensive and last a WHILE in dry storage. I typically purchase them from the bulk bin section of Sprouts or Whole Foods and store them in a glass mason jar in my pantry.
How to Make Mashed Potatoes with Parsnips:
If you have yet to try adding parsnips to mashed potatoes, you’re in for a treat! Parsnips are a cream-colored, carrot-looking root vegetable harvested in the fall and winter months. It’s easy to think they may just be a white carrot, however parsnips are actually a member of the parsley family. They have a brawny tan skin that is typically peeled before use, revealing vibrant white flesh. In terms of taste, their sweetness can be closely matched to that of a carrot, however parsnips offer a more earthy undertone. Their flavor also intensifies after being cooked, at which point their flavor turns slightly nutty.
Parsnips are especially ideal to pair with potatoes because they have similar cook times. This is particularly useful when boiling the potatoes and parsnips together in one pot, which is what this recipe calls for. Just be sure to cut both vegetables into similar size pieces to ensure they’re done at the same time.
Once tender, use a potato masher to mash both vegetables right in the pot. For extra creaminess, I like adding cashew milk and a couple tablespoons of butter. (You can also use vegan butter if making dairy-free.) They’re also delicious with fresh rosemary and/or thyme, plus some garlic.This recipe will warm you from the inside out all winter long. It’s quickly become one of my favorites, especially when I’m craving some hearty comfort food. It also freezes and reheats very well, so feel free to double the batch! If you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. And don’t forget to follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates.
More Vegetarian Lentil Recipes to Try:
- 16 to 20 oz. Yukon gold or Russet potatoes, partially peeled
- 1 lb. parsnips, peeled
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, divided
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 cup cooked brown lentils
- 2 Tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- ½ cup unsweetened cashew milk
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- Cut the potatoes and parsnips into equal sized chunks. Place them into a large pot, cover with cold water, and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion and mushrooms; cook until onion softens and mushrooms are golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook until paste turns brick red, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add wine, 1 Tbsp. rosemary, thyme, ½ tsp. salt, and pepper. Cook until wine reduces by half, about 2 minutes. Whisk broth, flour, and soy sauce in a bowl, and pour into pan. Simmer until mixture thickens, about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in lentils, and remove thyme stems from pan.
- Drain potatoes and parsnips and place back in hot pot. Add milk, butter, remaining ½ tsp salt, and 2 tsp rosemary. Use a potato masher to thoroughly mash. Divide evenly between each of 4 plates. Spoon lentil and mushroom mixture overtop. Garnish with additional herbs, if desired.