crock pot chickpea, butternut squash and red lentil stew

by jenna on January 26, 2012

Well, hey there!

How’s your week going? I have been living in my kitchen this week, cooking my little tail off, because next week I’m actually flying to Florida to help Todd and Diane shoot the new Steamy Kitchen cookbook! I met the lovely White on Rice Couple a few years ago at an event in Arizona and since then, they’ve helped me immensely with my food photography. Basically, everything I know I learned from them. They sort of rock. I’ve never met Jaden before but am super excited to do so! Her pan-fried pumpkin gnocchi pretty much changed my life. In an email the other day, Diane said we are going to be averaging about thirteen recipes a day. It’s going to be NUTS! I’ll definitely share some of that craziness with you guys, don’t you worry.

As for this vegan stew, MAKE IT.

Seriously, throw it in your slow cooker right this instant (this blog post is going up early for a reason!) because you’ll want it for dinner tonight….I guarantee it.

I made it a few days ago and brought it to my yoga teacher for dinner. Cooking for others is one of my greatest pleasures! I promised her I would cook her and her family a “vegan feast” and this is what I came up with….with some of Angela’s cookie dough balls, too! Those things are out of control delicious.

This stew contains all good things: big chunks of butternut squash, spicy bits of jalapeno pepper, red lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes and carrots.Β  I spiced it up with a little garam masala and topped it with minced cilantro for good measure.

Serve this stew alone or with some roasted garlic naan bread. Either way, I think you’ll love it. I’m planning on making it again for Adam and I this weekend because it turned out so well and it’s so simple.


Crock Pot Chickpea, Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Stew

serves 4-6 (depending on how big your bowls are!)

Print this recipe!


1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive or canola oil

1 large carrot, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

2-3 tsp garam masala

1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs–average sized), peeled and chopped

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in tomato juice

1 quart vegetable broth

1 cup red lentils

2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)

fresh minced cilantro for serving


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and jalapeno and saute for about six minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 more seconds, and then add the garam masala, stirring well to coat. Take off heat.

Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on LOW and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer you cook, the thicker your stew will be.

Season with sea salt to taste and serve with minced cilantro on top. This stew freezes extremely well and will keep in the fridge for up to five days.


10 hours

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{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily @ Life on Food January 26, 2012 at 3:37 am

I think this looks amazing plus anything in a crock pot gets extra bonus points. Now I just have to convince my husband to eat the chickpeas and red lentils.


Holli January 26, 2012 at 3:42 am

I am so making this today!! This is my kind of meal. Thanks!! πŸ™‚


Emily @ The Swallow Flies January 26, 2012 at 4:44 am

That looks delicious! My menu’s already set for tonight, but I’ll be putting this on for next week! Thanks!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 26, 2012 at 4:44 am

This sounds so delicious and hearty. That’s so exciting about your photography trip! I bet the cookbook will look great!


Rebecca January 26, 2012 at 4:48 am

Is it possible to adapt the cooking instructions for stove top? Would a heavy-bottomed stock pot work on low for a few hours? I don’t have a slow cooker but this looks too good to not make!


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 26, 2012 at 5:32 am

Ditto to this comment! This stew looks amazing, but I don’t have a crock pot. πŸ™


jenna January 26, 2012 at 6:58 am

Yes–although it would take a much shorter amount of time. Just put everything in a heavy-bottomed pot and let it simmer for about two hours. You’ll know when it’s done because it will get super thick! (I HIGHLY recommend the same $20 crock pot I have from Target though…I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth over the past two years!)


Karen January 28, 2012 at 5:30 am

Stovetop cooking folks: I just wanted to remind you to bring the first round of ingredients w/broth and lentils to a boil for a moment before adding the balance and reducing to simmer for the long, slow cook (otherwise your dry lentils won’t cook fully.)


jenna January 28, 2012 at 8:06 am

Thanks for that tip, Karen!


janeannechovy September 30, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Same goes for the crockpot, for that matter. I wish I’d remembered that tomatoes keep dried beans from softening before tossing them all in together per the instructions. A quick simmer of the lentils in the stock would have solved the problem of crunchy lentils after 8 hours. πŸ™ Might be a good idea to modify the recipe accordingly.

(It does smell amazing, though!)


Molly @ RDexposed January 26, 2012 at 4:50 am

I’m going to have to turn the grocery store upside down this time to find red lentils. I can only ever find green lentils!


FuriousRod January 8, 2014 at 9:48 am

They have them in the bulk grains/nuts section at Whole Foods. Any specialty market that caters to the veg/vegan crowd will have them.


Blog is the New Black January 26, 2012 at 4:53 am

Ummmmm, this looks amazing but I think we would all LOVE if you shared some photog tips with us soon, too! Your photos are gorgeous. πŸ™‚


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 26, 2012 at 6:55 am

Agreed! A recap post with tips from the trip would be awesome!


Lauren @ roastedandtoasted January 26, 2012 at 4:54 am

Love this stew recipe! Making lentils scares me, but this sounds so easy. Thanks Jenna!


Brittany January 26, 2012 at 5:07 am

This looks so delicious! I need to make this asap. Love your recipes and blog posts!


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes January 26, 2012 at 5:10 am

love! This gives me an excuse to use my crockpot πŸ™‚


Jen January 26, 2012 at 5:21 am

Can another spice be substituted for the masala?


jenna January 26, 2012 at 6:55 am

You could try 1/4 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp cardamom and a pinch of pepper.


Jen January 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

Thank you! I might try another type of beans too.


Tabitha (From Single to Married) January 26, 2012 at 5:31 am

I definitely need to try this – I would love to use chickpeas for something other than just part of a salad!


Kristin @ FoodFash January 26, 2012 at 5:34 am

Must invest in a slow cooker in 2012! Hope you have fun in Florida, it’s nice and warm here (perfect Gasparilla weather)!


Karen January 26, 2012 at 5:36 am

Perfect, Jenna…this looks like a winner! (I’ve made a similarly spiced up version of the red lentil/squash curried soup you posted a while back several times, and it’s grown to be a favorite in this household!)


Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy January 26, 2012 at 5:49 am

Love chickpeas, lentils and butternut squash! I need to make this!


Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables January 26, 2012 at 5:54 am

Looks amazing, as always! That’s so exciting about the shoot next week!


Dana @ Apples and Optimism January 26, 2012 at 5:54 am

This sounds delicious! My sister just texted me and said I needed to look at this recipe so we could make it… hopefully it isnt odd that we are thinking about dinner at 7:30 in the morning?

I wish I wasn’t at work right now so I could be making this for later…. Thanks for the recipe Jenna!


Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 26, 2012 at 5:55 am

My mission as I sat at my computer just now was to find a crock pot recipe for dinner. Glad I went to ELR first!! Thanks!


HRCK the Herald January 26, 2012 at 6:00 am

This looks so comforting and healthy and delicious and I want a big bowl right now (yes, pre-9 a.m.) to counteract the rainy drear outside!!


Cait's Plate January 26, 2012 at 6:20 am

You’ve created so many amazing soups and stews this winter! I have a stockpile of Jenna recipes to make for cold weather! πŸ™‚


Charise January 26, 2012 at 6:26 am

This is like a combination of two of my favorite Indian dishes – a spicy red dal and chana masala, so I will definitely be breaking out the crockpot soon!


Gabby @ Gabby's Gluten Free January 26, 2012 at 6:35 am

Definitely going to have to try this for a chilly winter night. Yum!


Rebecca January 26, 2012 at 6:45 am

I miss your book recommendations to go along with your delicious cold weather recipes. Please post some more because my kindle account is getting lonely πŸ™‚


jenna January 26, 2012 at 6:47 am

I haven’t read anything good lately but just started a new (promising!) book last night that I’ll probably share on Saturday!


Urban Wife January 26, 2012 at 6:47 am

Congrats on the gig with Todd & Diane at Steamy Kitchen! That is awesome. You’ll be in our neck of the woods. It’s been about 80 degrees here and sunny. πŸ™‚

This stew looks AMAZING! And yes, Angela’s cookie dough balls are addicting.


Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) January 26, 2012 at 6:55 am

Gah! I always get sad when there’s crock pot recipe because I’m crock potless! It looks so tasty!


Estela @ Weekly Bite January 26, 2012 at 7:21 am

What a great stew combo! It looks delicious πŸ™‚


Lindsey January 26, 2012 at 7:21 am

Perfect timing! I have a ton of cut up butternut squash in my fridge this minute!


Heather Michelle @ A Sweet Simple Life January 26, 2012 at 7:24 am

um, amazing! and good luck on your shoot next week. so exciting!


Kristen @ The Chronicles of Dutch January 26, 2012 at 7:50 am

I’ve been trying to find a receipe for lentils that I can get my hubby to enjoy! I’m going to try this out this weekend!


Cat @Breakfast to Bed January 26, 2012 at 8:12 am

I was totally drooling over this in your ig feed. It totally held up to expectations.


Julia January 26, 2012 at 8:21 am

This looks amazing! You’re awesome πŸ™‚


E January 26, 2012 at 8:27 am

What a great sounding dish! I’ll certainly be making this soon!

And that yellow bowl is really cute! Where did you get it? πŸ™‚


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 26, 2012 at 8:35 am

The stew looks awesome and if you came bearing that (and cookie dough balls too), you’d be my favorite student ever πŸ™‚


LMF January 26, 2012 at 8:42 am

This will be made this weekend. Looks awesome!


Jessica @ Garden Gastronomy January 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

Um…I want a crockpot now just to make this! Three of my favorite things! I could eat butternut squash everyday. yum yum yum.


Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 26, 2012 at 9:07 am

This looks delicious!! Will definitely be on my dinner menu for next week πŸ˜€


diana January 26, 2012 at 9:09 am

looks delish. think i could use dried chickpeas instead?


jenna January 26, 2012 at 9:20 am

You would need to cook the chickpeas prior to making this stew. Soak the chickpeas overnight and then simmer for an hour the next day before using.


amanda February 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm

or you can just cook them in the crock pot first. 5 1/2 hours on high (1 lb. dried peas, 7 c. water, 1/2 tsp. baking soda) always does a perfect job for me.


Em (Wine and Butter) January 26, 2012 at 9:21 am

Looks so good! I made your white chicken chilli earlier this week and we’ve already had it twice AND I’m making it for my book club this Friday … love love love!!


joelle (on a pink typewriter) January 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

This looks yummy!!! I might un-veganize it by adding chicken. πŸ˜‰


Audrey January 26, 2012 at 9:28 am

This looks fabulous. I will have to make it soon. Love that it is vegan! πŸ™‚


elizabeth @ the kitchen counsel January 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

this looks delicious! it so happens that i have chickpeas and butternut squash in my kitchen right now. now if new orleans would only cool down enough for it to be soup weather!


Laura January 26, 2012 at 9:42 am

This looks awesome! I’m all about the vegan chili- made one last night with kidney beans, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms and added some bulgur wheat. Looking forward to trying your red lentil version.


Kathy January 26, 2012 at 9:52 am

What is garam masala?


jenna January 26, 2012 at 9:57 am

garam masala is an Indian spice mix combining sweet and hot spices (kinda like a curry powder but without such a “curry” taste). You can find it at most major grocery stores in the spice section–I love it!


Kim January 26, 2012 at 10:31 am

This looks fabulous! I can’t wait to try it. I can’t find garam marsala in my grocery store or Trader Joe’s…so frustrating. Did you use dry lentils? (Soaked overnight before adding to crockpot?)


Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles January 26, 2012 at 11:04 am

That’s so cool. Enjoy Florida! Scrumptious recipe.


Margarita January 26, 2012 at 11:20 am

Oh my… I will have to wait until the weekend to make this… It looks so good!


Emily January 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I’ve been looking for a reason to use my crock pot!
Vegan with butternut squash AND lentils? Yes, please! This sounds absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to try it. (:


Jen January 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I enjoy your site very much! Thank you for sharing a link to Todd & Diane’s website too. It is just beautiful. Have a great trip!


Chels R. January 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I love everything you post on Pinterest! Pretty sure I’m stalking you on there. The stew looks yummy!


Maria January 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm

So excited for you! Have so much fun and give T & D and Jaden hugs! I will be following you on Instagram:)


Laura @ She Eats Well January 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm

This looks perfect for a Winter meal. I am obsessed with my crock pot. They also have them at Costco which is great because you get a good warantee. Such a healthy meal, too!


Moni'sMeals January 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm

What a treat for a week night meal or anytime really… Never a meet a vegan soup that I did not just LOVE!


Malavika January 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm

This recipe not only features my three favorite ingredients in the world (chickpeas, butternut squash and red lentils), but also my favorite kitchen appliance. Thank you! I’ll be trying it this weekend, and I am drooling in anticipation.


Kelsi January 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I’m a small-town Iowa girl and I cannot for the life of me find garam masala. I’ve not only gone to every store in my town, but I’ve looked at Trader Joes in Des Moines and some other specialty markets and cannot find it. Iowa is rather limited on the ethnic grocers, and I’ve been looking forever! Any suggestions? I really want to try your tikka masala dish because it is one of my absolute favorite foods. Then I saw this recipe and knew that I cannot wait any longer for garam masala.

Thanks much.


jenna January 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Try my friend Sommer’s recipe! I haven’t personally tried it but it looks great.


Ash Bear January 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I’m not a “pinner” yet but I definitely just added this to my favorites toolbar so I can make it next week. YUM!


KateSouth January 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm

This looks perfect for the cold weather and healthy enough to maybe kick this cold/flu thing that has been plaguing me! This stew is definitely going in the crockpot tomorrow.


Cookin' Canuck January 26, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I absolutely adore the flavors in this stew. I’d run extra miles every week if it meant I could eat extra helpings! Have a ball in Florida – I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing experience.


Holli January 27, 2012 at 4:01 am

Update: This.Was.Incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!


Katie January 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

Love your recipes and look forward to reading daily. You Asian chicken soup is a staple and I have gotten multiple people hooked on your blog. Quick question – can I sub green lentils for red? Reading online looks like they cook about the same….


Jen January 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I sure hope this is as tasty as the photos look cuz I’m making it on Sunday to eat for lunch all week! πŸ˜‰


Lauren @ Healthy Delicious January 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Jaden is a total doll – you’ll love her! so jealous that you’re helping out with the book.


Jess@recipesandrunning January 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I’ve been looking for a great recipe with red lentils – thanks! I’ll be trying this one out soon!


Eva January 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I made this today and it was fantastic. The entire house smelled wonderful. Your blog inspires me and I have enjoyed trying out the different recipes. Thanks for inspiring a mother of three boys, all under 10, who loves to cook.


Lola January 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

I made this recipe pretty much as is and let it cook over night to this morning. It smelled delicious all night! It’s super tasty as well. Though… my batch looks absolutely nothing like yours. Well, mine looks more like yours does in the pic of the crock pot. Did you blend yours up at all? I cooked mine for almost 12 hours and the lentils are still a bit crunchy. Did you soak your lentils? Thanks for the tasty recipe!


jenna January 29, 2012 at 9:36 am

Did you make sure to use red lentils, not green? That is very very odd that they would be undercooked after that long.


Lola January 30, 2012 at 4:51 am

I used the red masoor dal lentils as they were the only red lentils that I could find at the grocery store. I was surprised at the crunchiness as well with that long of a cook. They’re certainly NOT mushy! Either way it turned out well and I’ll probably experiment with flavors next time around.


melanie January 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm

any thoughts on using frozen butternut squash rather than fresh — couldn’t find fresh at the market, but not sure what the equivalent measurement would be. Also couldn’t find red lentils, though golden were available — not sure if they will sub ok.


mel January 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I’d like to use frozen cubed squash that I have on hand — what would the proportion be? (I’ve read 2.5 cups equals a small squash) How large was your squash? Also, my local markets were all out of/did not have red lentils, but from my reading, it seems like golden lentils, which were available, should be close … any idea?


Maja January 30, 2012 at 10:12 am

I made this stew yesterday. It is amazing!!! Thanks for the recipe!


Lisa [With Style and Grace] January 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Mmm…. this looks so warm and cozy!


Odette January 30, 2012 at 1:20 pm


I made this yesterday and oh my goodness! Amazing amazing amazing… the only thing I did different was that instead of using chickpeas, I used a 7 bean and barley blend that I had picked up at Sprouts earlier in the week and it turned out perfectly!


Mary January 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I made this yesterday and LOVED it. Thank you! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!


Cathy January 31, 2012 at 7:10 am

This stew is incredible! My house smelled great all day. I had it for dinner last night, it will be lunch today, and there are two containers in the freezer. (It made 10 cups of HEARTY stew!)


val @ lots of dishes January 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm

just made this! it’s really good- but i’d like to add some heat. it’s a bit to sweet for me. do you have any suggestions on what to add?


SaraMarie February 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm

This was awesome! Definitely going in my “to make again” file. Butternut squash, chickpeas and lentils…oh man…all of my faves in one delicious stew.


funda February 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm

This was fantastic!! I cooked it on the stovetop and my family started picking at it while it was still simmering away…It’s almost all gone and I was hoping for lunch leftovers tomorrow!!


molly February 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Hey There,
What size crockpot would work best for this soup? I’m worried mine isn’t big enough. Thanks


jenna February 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I have a five quart crock pot and it fit perfectly in mine. I wouldn’t recommend going smaller than that though, although the stew will cook down a lot.


jill February 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I made this todayt. It was super yummy and a huge hit! Thanks!


jill February 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I made this today. It was super yummy and a huge hit! Thanks!


val @ lots of dishes February 12, 2012 at 9:37 am

i love this recipe and blogged it so hopefully my pals will make it. i also love that you link to pinterest, it’s so easy to keep all the recipes i want to make organized!


DLG in Mich February 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I’ve made this stew twice now and it’s fabulous! I looked high and low to find red lentils and garam masala, but it was worth it. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe. I’m sure I’ll be making it again and again.


Ann February 29, 2012 at 6:50 am

Just put this in the crock pot for dinner tonight! I may have gone overboard on the squash, though, my lid barely fit on! I’m planning to add some chopped kale to wilt in for the last hour for a little green. Looks great!


Lindsay L September 3, 2012 at 10:19 am

Currently in my crockpot now and it smells DELICIOUS! Thank you for this recipe!


M September 3, 2012 at 11:10 am

I keep looking for vegan recipes, and I keep running across your site. I can’t wait to wake up to this yummy stew tomorrow! Keep up the good work. I need to reserve a copy of your book πŸ™‚


Andrea @ Vegvacious September 23, 2012 at 6:40 am

This is an awesome recipe Jenna – I love that this recipe has ingredients that most people stock (or I do anyways) and I’m lucky enough to have the veggies in my garden!!! Can’t wait to try πŸ™‚


Mare November 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm

What can I sub for the tomatoes?


Torrie @ a place to share... January 14, 2013 at 10:10 am

heading to the store and making this TONIGHT!
the lentil loaf turned out amazing, and i sent my husband to work with a leftover sandwich!

i know you get many questions and comments, but since i am new to your blog (and plan on trying many more of your recipes), i wanted to ask a quick question…

i know that red lentils cook much different from brown & green, but as for my question~ can brown be substituted in your recipes for the green? i have a hard time finding green, but if depending on your answer, i might purchase a bulk order through amazon. i’d really appreciate your help with this!


Christine February 2, 2013 at 6:34 am

Hi Jenna,

I have this in my slow cooker right now for dinner tonight.


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Sean October 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I tried this yesterday, and it came out great. It was sweet and spicy. The only change I made was to substitute miso for the vegetable broth and I doubled the jalapeΓ±o. Easy to make, easy to buy and very easy to eat. I can’t wait to make it again.


Denise F. November 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

made this Wednesday in the crockpot after daughter had it on a mountain weekend with friends and recommended it. it is delicious. did find it a bit sweeter than I anticipated. may substitute acorn or buttercup for the butternut next time to see if it is less sweet.


Odette November 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

Jenna, do you think that if I sub the garam for curry powder it would be ok?


jenna November 18, 2013 at 11:49 am

Yes, I think so!


Odette November 18, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Thank you!!


Justeen January 13, 2014 at 10:01 am

This stew is wonderful! I threw it in the slow cooker last night and just had some for lunch. So delicious, and filling! I have been trying a ton of your recipes lately, and LOVING them.


Kayley Maybe January 27, 2014 at 7:40 am

Just made this in honor of yet another deep freeze here in Wisconsin, and it was DELICIOUS. Nice and warming and spicy and wonderful!


Rebecca March 14, 2014 at 10:11 am

Looks great. Can I use dried chickpeas. Also about how many cups of squash should I use. I have left over squash that I want to use up πŸ™‚


Laura February 25, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Yum! I am eating this right now after having it going in my slow cooker all day. It’s quite the treat! Mine looks nothing like your picture of the finished product, but tastes delicious. Thanks for a wonderful, healthy recipe!


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