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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. Isn't it just so good! All credit goes to Paula (thanks again Paula!)

  2. Thanks, that was an amazing recipe and so easy to make!

  3. Nicole I made this not long ago for a dinner party, and it was a huge hit!

  4. While I'm not a vegetarian, I do try to skip meat as often as possible. This Moroccan stew looks like it would be a satisfying, not to mention delicious, main course. And I do love it when recipes use what Americans normally think of as sweet spices, like cinnamon or cardamom, in savory dishes. Thanks.

  5. Sarah, this could definitely be good as a soup too if there was more liquid. Good to know that the crockpot version was also a hit!

  6. This was very yummy! I actually made it in the crock pot and wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it was perfect! More soup than stew…I added the full amount of liquid because I always worry that the food in my crock pot will dry out and my house will burn down. 🙂 Great flavor!

  7. Sarah personally I would cook the quinoa separately. This is a pretty thick stew, and I'm not sure how it would work. People like different things though, so try it if you think it sounds good. (Let us know how it works if you try it, and yes I think you'd definitely need more liquid.)

  8. sounds great! do you think it would work to add quinoa directly into the stew instead of serving over rice? if so, you would probably have to add more broth, right?

  9. Yosha, thanks, so glad you liked it. (It's even better the next day.) Paula picked a winner with this recipe for sure!

  10. This was DELICIOUS!! Thank you! I am looking fwd to trying the leftovers tomorrow!

  11. Erica, I think the dried chickpeas would need to be precooked in water or stock before they were used in this recipe. A pressure cooker would work wonderfully for that, if you have one, but if not, just boil them until they're fairly soft, and then use the same as canned in this recipe.

  12. Looks delicious. When would you recommend adding the chickpeas if using dried chickpeas (instead of a can)?

  13. So glad everyone is liking this; all credit goes to Paula! I just ate some of the leftover yesterday myself (from the freezer, so it does freeze well!)

  14. Made this last night, as I had all the ingredients on hand. It was great, and I'm looking forward to the leftovers tonight.

  15. Although I didn't have the garam masala it came out so very good! This is a keeper. Thanks for sharing this. I will be posting this on my blog. Love your recipes!

  16. That is one tasty looking chickpea stew!

  17. CJ, thanks to you! Paula tells me you are the one who told her about my blog, so without you I wouldn't have ever gotten this recipe from her!

    Donna, I agree! How great to find such a tasty dish that you make with things that are easy to always have on hand.

  18. This is seriously my favorite kind of food these days. I am rocking this recipe ASAP! Great pantry staple-based dish too!

  19. PaulaB's lentils are so good! She had posted this on a south beach site and I made it a couple weeks ago. Makes a fantastic lunch! I dollop mine with plain yogurt rather than sour cream.

    Thanks for posting it!