Mediterranean Lentil and Spinach Stew 

(Easy-to-make, Vegan One-Pot Main Recipe)  

A large bowl of Mediterranean Lentil and Spinach stew

Mediterranean lentil and spinach stew (Lentejas con Espinacas) is a classic winter recipe that combines lentils with fresh leafy spinach plus plenty of spices to create a filling, full-flavored stew that can be prepared in under 30 minutes

Add some fresh chili and you’ve got a delicious spiced stew that is the perfect warming meal when the weather cools. This easy-to-make recipe makes 6 servings and is ideal for big-batch cooking or for midweek meal prepping.

Vegan | Vegetarian | One-Pot | Easy Recipe | Stews and Casseroles | Winter Recipe | Mediterranean Recipe | 30-Minute Meal

Serving:

4-6 servings

Ready in:

30-minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread

ingredients used to make Mediterranean lentil and spinach stew are laid out on a wooden counter top

Ingredients you’ll need 

  • 10oz. (300g) fresh spinach 
  • 2 cups small brown lentils, rinsed and prepared
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons crushed red peppers (we used Nora peppers)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped chili (for some spice)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 lemons 
  • 2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and black pepper (for seasoning)
  • Breadcrumbs (optional)

    Equipment needed

    • 1 large pot (12-inch/30cm) with deep sides at least 4 inches/10cm.

     Watch step-by-step recipe video

    If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

    Mediterranean lentil stew

    The cooler months are the perfect time for simmering down rich and warming one-pot stews and this vegan-friendly lentil and spinach stew is the perfect winter meal. It’s quick and easy to make, can be made in advance, and is a full-flavored filling meal for 4-6 people. 

    Why you’ll love this recipe

    • Easy to make
    • Budget-friendly ingredients
    • Quick to make, 30-minute recipe
    • Filling and full-flavored
    • Vegan/vegetarian 
    • One-Pot recipe
    • Warming winter recipe

    Where does Lentejas con Espinacas come from?

    Lentils and Spinach is a winning combination that has variations of the recipe all over the world. Lentils are used extensively in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine and they are considered a significant ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. 

    Here in Spain, the recipe (receta) is called ‘Lentejas con Espinacas’ and is a popular winter meal, always served with plenty of freshly baked bread. 

    Make-ahead stew and meal prepping

    The beauty of stews is the flavors intensify with time, so your lentil and spinach stew will taste even better the next day. This makes it perfect for big-batch cooking or meal prepping. It can be easily frozen or stored in the fridge for quick and easy weekday meals. 

    Mediterranean lentil and spinach stew will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge or up to 3 months when frozen. 

    A bowl of lentil stew sits beside a bread bboard with some sliced bread

    Best lentils to use

    We use small dried brown lentils for this recipe and it works great. They’re super easy to find in any grocery store and don’t take long to prepare (more on how to prepare dried lentils below). 

    Any small lentil will work fine — experiment with white lentils, green, brown, orange, or yellow lentils to get some color into the recipe!  

    Canned or dried lentils

    We used dried lentils for this recipe. They are super cheap and easy to prepare. Take note that they do require some extra cooking and prep time before they are ready to be cooked with. If you’re short on time, canned lentils also work fine. 

    How to prepare dried lentils for cooking

    Dried lentils need to be cooked before they can be used in recipes. Fortunately, preparing lentils is super easy and only takes around 30 minutes. This can be more for larger lentils so check the packaging for time specifications. 

    • First, add around 4 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse your lentils in some fresh water and add them to the boiling water. 
    • Stir through and reduce heat to medium. Simmer lentils for around 20-25 minutes uncovered. 
    • Remove from the heat, and drain off any excess water. 
    • That’s it, you’re ready to cook with your prepared lentils.
    lentils cooking in a large pot

    Fresh or frozen Spinach

    Both work just fine. We use fresh in this recipe but it depends on how easy it is to source fresh spinach and the time of year. If you’re using frozen spinach, thaw it first and remove any of the excess liquid before cooking with it (you can add the liquid to the vegetable stock).

    Nutrition facts

    Serving size: 180g

    Servings: 6

    Amount per serving

     

    Calories

    294

    % Daily Value*

    Total Fat 18g

    23%

    Saturated Fat 2.5g

    13%

    Cholesterol 0mg

    0%

    Sodium 108mg

    5%

    Total Carbohydrate 26g

    9%

    Dietary Fiber 6.6g

    24%

    Total Sugars 2.7g

     

    Protein 10.6g

     

    Vitamin D 0mcg

    0%

    Calcium 99mg

    8%

    Iron 3mg

    18%

    Potassium 487mg

    10%

    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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    A large bowl of Mediterranean Lentil and Spinach stew

    Mediterranean Lentil and Spinach Stew (Vegan, One-pot)

    Byron
    Mediterranean lentil and spinach stew (Lentejas con Espinacas) is a classic winter recipe that combines lentils with fresh leafy spinach plus plenty of spices to create a filling, full-flavored stew that can be prepared in under 30 minutes.
    Add some fresh chili and you’ve got a delicious spiced stew that is the perfect warming meal when the weather cools. This easy-to-make recipe makes 6 servings and is ideal for big-batch cooking or for midweek meal prepping.
    5 from 2 votes
    Prep Time 5 mins
    Cook Time 25 mins
    Total Time 30 mins
    Course Main Course, main meal, vegan, vegetarian
    Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain, stew, vegan, vegetarian
    Servings 6 servings
    Calories 294 kcal

    Equipment

    • 1 large pot (12-inch/30cm) with deep sides at least 4 inches/10cm.

    Ingredients

    • 10 oz. 300g fresh spinach
    • 2 cups small brown lentils rinsed and prepared
    • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion finely chopped
    • 2-3 large garlic cloves chopped
    • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 ½ teaspoons crushed red peppers we used Nora peppers
    • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped chili for some spice
    • 6 cups vegetable stock
    • 2 lemons
    • 2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • Salt and black pepper for seasoning
    • Breadcrumbs optional

    Instructions
     

    Step 1 - Saute onion, spices, and lentils

    • Add around half the olive oil to the pot on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and stir frequently, frying until golden. This should take 4-5 minutes.
      ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 large onion
      diced onion in a pan
    • Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, spices, crushed red peppers, chili, and prepared lentils. Cook for around 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally or until spices become fragrant.
      2 cups small brown lentils, 2-3 large garlic cloves, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin, 1 ½ teaspoons crushed red peppers, 1 teaspoon freshly chopped chili, Salt and black pepper
      Spices are added to a large pot of sauteed onions

    Step 2 - Add Spinach

    • Add 1-2 cups of stock, the remaining olive oil, and add the spinach in batches, one handful at a time. Stir through and continue to add the rest of the stock.
      10 oz. 300g fresh spinach, 6 cups vegetable stock
    • Simmer covered on medium heat for around 20 minutes until the lentils soften and the stock absorbs. Check liquid levels every 5 minutes and add a little more water if required.
      A large pot of lentil stews simmers on a stovetop

    Step 3 - Season and serve

    • Add the juice and zest from 1 lemon to the stew, and slice the other lemon into wedges for serving. Remove from the heat and stir. The stew will thicken as it stands. Season to taste with some salt and pepper.
      2 lemons, Breadcrumbs
      lemon juice is squeezed into a pot of lentil stew
    • Garnish with plenty of chopped fresh parsley and serve.
      2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley
      A large bowl of Mediterranean Lentil and Spinach stew

    Video

    Nutrition

    Serving: 180gCalories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 10.6gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 2.5gSodium: 108mgPotassium: 487mgFiber: 6.6gSugar: 2.7gCalcium: 99mgIron: 3mg
    Keyword 30-minute-meal, Easy Dinner ideas, easy recipe, easy stew, easy to make, Lentils, mediterranean cuisine, spinach, vegan, Vegan Stew, vegetarian meal

    Cooking Tips and FAQs

    How long does lentils with spinach stew take to make?

    • Prep time: 5 minutes
    • Cook time: 25 minutes
    • Total time: 30 minutes

    (Note: when using dried lentils, allow an extra 30 minutes to cook and prepare the lentils)

    Do lentils have protein?

    A 100g serving of cooked lentils provides 9 grams of protein. 

    How do I thicken my stew?

    The quickest and easiest way to thicken any stew is to add some breadcrumbs or stale bread. Mix it in with your stew to achieve the desired consistency.

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