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Kalyn's Kitchen

Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula’s Moroccan Lentil Stew)

A reader named Paula sent me this recipe for Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew and it’s a wonderful dish that I’ve made many times. 

PIN Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew to try it later.

Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula's Moroccan Lentil Stew) found on KalynsKitchen.com

I’m a huge fan of all kinds of beans and legumes but two of my favorites are lentils and chickpeas, so when I got this recipe for Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew by e-mail from a reader named Paula B., the minute I read the recipe, there was never any doubt I was going to make it. Not only did it sound like a perfect combination of flavors, but I’d just gotten a big bag of red lentils from Whole Foods, so it seemed like an omen when the recipe arrived.

Paula called the dish Moroccan Lentil Stew although I’m not sure if it’s really Moroccan, but it’s aromatic and spicy with a blend of interesting ingredients that come together perfectly. Paula said she eats it with a dollop of sour cream (again, probably not Moroccan, but highly recommend it!) I ate mine over brown rice, and this was one of the best easy dinners I’d had for a long time.

If you’re thinking of using brown lentils for this, please try to find the red lentils. Not only are they beautiful, but they’re much softer than other lentils and dissolve to make a perfectly thickened stew. Lentils are a versatile ingredient, high in protein and fiber and low in fat. They also cook quickly and don’t need to be soaked.

Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula's Moroccan Lentil Stew) found on KalynsKitchen.com

How to Make Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew:

(Scroll down for complete recipe including nutritional information.)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot, then gently saute the onions, garlic, ginger, and ground turmeric for about 7 minutes.
  2. Then add chopped celery, garam masala, ground cardamom, cayenne pepper, and ground cumin and cook 3-4 minutes more, or until spices become very aromatic and celery is just starting to soften.
  3. The beautiful red lentils that dissolve into the stock become the base of this stew. They turn more of a yellowish color when they’re cooked.
  4. Add chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can chickpeas, and the red lentils, and let the stew start to simmer.
  5. Once it starts to bubble, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover pan, and cook 45-60 minutes (or even a bit longer, depending on how fully dissolved you’d like the lentils to be.) I wanted to keep some texture, but cooked mine for about 60 minutes so the lentils were about half-dissolved.
  6. Serve Spicy Red Lentil Stew over rice or brown rice if desired. I love this with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt as well.

Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula's Moroccan Lentil Stew) found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Tasty Recipes for Red Lentils:

Bengali Red Dal Curry from Jake from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato Soup from Andea Meyers
Curried Rice and Red Lentils from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Red Lentil Soup from Nami Nami
Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula's Moroccan Lentil Stew) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Yield Makes 8 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 11 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 36 minutes

Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew is a wonderful dish to serve to guests who want a plant-based meal.


  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T olive oil (or perhaps a little more, depending on your pan)
  • 2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 T finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 3/4 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
  • one 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed until no more foam appears
  • one 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • cooked brown rice for serving (optional)
  • sour cream or plain yogurt for serving (optional)


  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Add onions, ginger, garlic, and turmeric and gently saute, stirring often, for about 7 minutes, or until onions are quite soft but not browned.
  3. Add diced celery, Garam Masala, ground cardamom, cayenne pepper, and ground cumin and saute 3-4 minutes more, until celery barely starts to soften.
  4. Add the stock, red lentils, canned tomatoes, and rinsed chickpeas and bring mixture to a gentle boil.
  5. When it starts to bubble, reduce heat to the barest simmer and cover pan with lid.
  6. Let mixture simmer, stirring a few times, until lentils are dissolved enough that mixture has thickened into a chunky stew.
  7. The shorter time you cook it, the more chunky it will be. I cooked mine at the barest simmer for about 60 minutes.
  8. Serve hot, over brown rice and topped with sour cream or plain yogurt if desired.
  9. Paula said this is even better after it’s been in the fridge, and I’d have to agree that like many stews, the flavors were even better the next day.
  10. This freezes very well, so I’d recommend making the whole batch, even if you’re only cooking for a small number of people. However, it’s so good it might not make it into the freezer.


This recipe adapted very slightly from one sent to me by a reader named Paula B; Paula doesn’t remember where she got it but everyone she has shared the recipe with has loved it!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 812mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 8gSugar: 8gProtein: 10g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
If you ate this Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew plain (without rice) this dish would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet or other low-glycemic diet plans, even with the sour cream or plain yogurt. I ate mine over brown rice, which would make it phase 2 or 3 for South Beach.  This is too high in carbs for a stricter low-carb eating plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Stews for more recipes like this one. Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

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    46 Comments on “Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula’s Moroccan Lentil Stew)”

  1. Susan thanks! I'm the same way about lentils, need to cook them once a week. It would be good for the budget and body both!

    Diane, I thought about labeling the recipe "gluten-free" but that's why I didn't. I agree, why does stock need gluten?

  2. My vegetarian son will love this. I'm sending it to him now. He's always looking for something a little different. It's also great that it's gluten free, well depending on which stock you pick. Sad so many have gluten in them. Great recipe!

  3. This looks delicious! I love lentil dishes but never cook them as often as I should – and, like most of them, I bet this one tastes even better the next day. I've never used garam masala but finally bought some recently – this will be the perfect way to try it. Great ideas in the comments – using cilantro and Swiss chard (my greenhouse is full of it!). Thanks Kalyn and Paula! 🙂

  4. CJ, it will indeed be perfect for bad weather days!

    S&R, me too! I can't wait to make something else with them.

    Vegeyum, so welcome! Thanks to you for all the RT and tweets too.

    Yasmeen, you're welcome. Lots of people's favorite ingredients it seems.

    ~M, I do indeed think it would work in a crockpot, but I hate to say that in the recipe if I haven't tried it. I'd reduce the stock down to about 4 cups or so and cook on low about 6 hours, but that's just a guess. If you try it, would love to hear how you adapted the recipe and how it turned out.

  5. We love cardamom, cumin, chickpeas, and lentils! YUM! Do you think this would work in a crockpot? It looks to me like it just might. 🙂

  6. Such a hearty stew with all of my favorite ingredients.Thanks for sharing,Kalyn 🙂

  7. Such a gorgeous dish, Kalyn. Red lentils certainly are undervalued. And thanks for the link! *Big smile*

  8. Yummy!!I love red lentils 🙂

  9. I've been craving something warm, rich and spicy. This stew looks the the perfect dish for this chilly, rainy weekend.

    Thanks Kalyn.

  10. Kasey, really loved it!

    Katerina, now I'm inspired to use the red lentils more often (plus I have a lot left!)

    Bron, probably not that kid-friendly but delicious.

    Zesty Cook, me too! It was pefect.

    Dara, hope you do try it, I think you'll like it!

    Winnie, I used the very last of my cardamom for this; need to get more.

    Bren, thanks. I love the yellow color that these spices add.

    Maheek, I was kind of thinking that too, although the step of sauteeing the second addition of spices wasn't in the original recipe. Anyway, whatever the origin of the recipe, it was a keeper!

    Sophie I have some chard left in my garden, so now I'm inspired to try that!

    Joanne, that's exactly what I thought when I first saw the recipe!

  11. I love the way that red lentils seem to dissolve into whatever liquid you are cooking them in, giving a dish a thick and hearty texture. The spices in this look amazing. A must try.

  12. MMMMMMMMMMMM,…what a marvellous stew this is!!

    I made a smilar dish before too: Swiss Chard, red lentils & chickpea soup!

  13. hi
    great recipe.
    It sounds like a Indian recipe to me all the Ingredients are Indian , the procedure too is Indian except for the celery … we make something called "chole" with chickpeas without the lentils and they come out really tasty, you can have it with roti or rice.. I am going to make our chole with lentils now will let you know.
    we add lots of chopped coriander at the end for garnishing and flavour.

  14. I loooove the flavors in this. great yellow color.

  15. I love red lentils and I've been on an Indian food kick lately, so this looks great…I've had a hard time finding cardamom for some reason- going to make sure I find some tomorrow so I can make this!

  16. This has all of the spices that I adore – garam masala, cardamom, turmeric. I'm really looking forward to trying this.

  17. Oh This looks awesome! I love the spice combination

  18. Oooh this sounds so good Kalyn, my girls may not agree, however all the more for me! hehe

  19. I just love red lentils, they are my favorite lentil because they cook so fast, are good protein and store well.

    They are also delicious with spices so I bet this is great.

  20. Middle Eastern cuisine is definitely one of my favorites and this looks so inviting for a cozy night in. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Kalyn!