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Beef and Lentil Stew (Moroccan-Spiced)



By: The Real Food Dietitians Posted: 9/4/23

This Moroccan-Spiced Beef and Lentil Stew recipe is a flavorful weeknight dinner, offering hearty stew meat, warm spices, plenty of veggies, and good-for-you lentils. With minimal prep time, it’s a hands-off meal that cooks low and slow for a total time of just over 7 hours. Start it in the morning to achieve that fall-apart tender meat consistency right after dinnertime. Great to prepare in advance, this lentil stew is a healthful twist on comfort food. We even give a vegan lentil stew option below, which tastes equally great!

Overhead view stone bowl filled with beef and lentil stew topped with sour cream.

This post was created in partnership with the Northern Pulse Growers Association.

Recipe Highlights

There’s a lot to love about this so flavorful and creamy lentil stew with beef, including:

  • Each serving boasts 7 grams of fiber and 30 grams of quality protein, largely thanks to the lentils in this recipe
  • Slow cooking in the crockpot creates unmatched depth of flavor
  • Only 20 minutes of hands-on prep time, then let your slow cooker do the rest
  • A well-rounded delivery of nearly all essential nutrients in one dish!
Wooden spoon scooping up serving of beef and lentil stew with bay leaves on the side

We love to enjoy a warm bowl of stew on a chilly day. With plenty of options like our Slow Cooker Beef Stew, Slow Cooker Green Chile Stew with White Beans, and our Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde Stew we never get bored. However, there are never too many stew recipes, so we added this delicious one to the mix. After all, variety is the spice of life, right? And this Beef and Lentil Stew recipe gives you plenty of taste variety with all of its deep and delicious Moroccan-style spices!

With a slow cook time plus the variety of vegetables, spices, fiber-rich lentils, and quality protein, this dish is nutritionally well-rounded, flavorful, and filling. Even better, once everything is combined, the crockpot does all the hard work, and leftover servings can be stored or frozen to enjoy at a later date.

Overhead view all ingredients for Beef and Lentil Stew arranged together in small bowls.

What Are The Ingredients In Beef and Lentil Stew?

Here’s what you need to make this lentil soup today:

  • Beef stew meat – if you can’t find beef stew meat at your grocery store, you can purchase a chuck roast and cut it into chunks yourself; we recommend grass-fed beef stew meat, if available
  • Olive oil – may sub avocado oil
  • Veggies – yellow onion, large carrots, celery, cloves garlic, and canned diced tomatoes combine to add flavor, volume, and nutrients to this stew
  • Beef broth – use low-sodium beef broth; may substitute chicken broth
  • Seasonings – you’ll need ground turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, fine salt, ground allspice, and a ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Feel free to include a dash of cayenne or smoked paprika if you prefer a bit of heat.
  • Dried red lentils – feel free to use green lentils or brown lentils
  • Bay leavesdried bay leaves are perfect for this recipe since it cooks all day
  • Dried apricotsDried apricots give the stew a tiny hint of sweetness. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute Medjool dates
  • Lemon juice – freshly squeezed is best
  • Fresh parsley

For the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition information, listing kcal, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, sodium, total fat, and more per serving.

Ingredient Spotlight: Lentils

Originating in the Mediterranean region of the world, lentils are now enjoyed all over the world. In fact, 80-85% of all pulse crops, including lentils, that are grown in the U.S. are harvested in Montana and North Dakota! If you’ve never prepared them, they can be a little intimidating, but they’re actually quite easy to cook. If you can make rice or beans, then you can make lentils. Part of the legume family, lentils are tiny but mighty and feature a variety of health benefits. For instance, lentils are:

  • An excellent source of fiber
  • Rich in niacin, thiamine, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese
  • A good source of vitamin B6 for brain health and immunity
  • High in plant-based protein
Cooked beef pieces in white bowl for beef and lentil stew
Overhead view all ingredients for beef and lentil stew in black crockpot
Broth being poured over red lentils and ingredients for beef and lentil stew in black slow cooker

How To Make This Moroccan-Spiced Beef and Lentil Stew Recipe

Here are the steps to prepare this lentil soup recipe and come home to dinner waiting for you:

  1. Brown the beef: Heat the oil in a large skillet (we love this one)over medium-high heat. Add the beef stew meat, and cook on both sides until it is browned. Transfer the meat and juices to the slow cooker.
  2. Add the produce: Add in all of the vegetables and beef broth to the slow cooker, and stir to combine.
  3. Season the stew: Stir the seasonings right into the beef and vegetable mixture.
  4. Add the lentils: Gently stir the dry lentils and bay leaves into the stew.
  5. Slow cook: Place the lid on the slow cooker, and cook on the low-heat setting until the lentils are tender, 7-9 hours. We love this programmable 8-quart slow cooker.
  6. Serve the lentil stew: Stir in the dried apricots, lemon juice, and parsley. Then, ladle the stew into bowls, add your toppings of choice, and enjoy!
Small stone plate with all Moroccan spices for beef and lentil stew
Beef and lentil stew ingredients being stirred together with wooden spoon in black slow cooker
Overhead view beef and lentil stew in slow cooker ready to be cooked together.


Serving Suggestions

We love to top our beef and lentil stew off with a dollop of Greek yogurt or dairy-free yogurt for a creamy texture and a boost of calcium. Then, we add a sprinkle of fresh herbs and cracked black pepper for garnish.

Then, to make this recipe a complete meal, pair it with sides like pita bread, crusty bread, naan, or a side salad. You could even serve it over a baked sweet potato, if desired.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are lentils gluten-free?

Lentils are naturally gluten-free, but you’ll want to be sure to look for brands that are certified as being gluten-free to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

Do lentils soak up broth?

Yes, lentils will absorb some broth, but they cook more like pasta than rice, leaving a fair amount of liquid left over. When cooking them on their own, you’ll want to fill a large pot with liquid, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer until the lentils are soft. Then, drain any excess water or broth, and your lentils are ready to eat.

How healthy is lentil stew?

This Moroccan-Spiced Beef and Lentil Stew recipe is a healthful, well-rounded dish made with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and nutrients.

What happens if you don’t soak lentils before cooking?

Soaking lentils before cooking helps make them easier to digest, but they will still cook just fine if you don’t.

How long does this lentil stew recipe last?

Once cooled, leftover stew can be transferred to an airtight container with lid and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Can I freeze leftovers?

Yes, this stew will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How do I reheat this stew?

When you’re ready to eat, let any frozen stew thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, reheat it in a slow cooker set to “warm”, add it to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, or warm individual portions in the microwave until your desired temperature is reached.

Overhead view stone bowl filled with beef and lentil stew topped with cream and piece of flatbread on the side.

To make this a vegan lentil stew, omit the beef stew meat, and use 3 cups vegetable broth instead of the beef broth. The lentils are hearty enough to make this a nutritious and delicious stew, even without the beef.

Plus! More Ways To Use Lentils & Pulses

Servings: 8 cups (68 servings) 1x


  • 1 ½ lbs beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion, diced (1 ½ cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, diced ¼ inch (heaping 1 cup)
  • 3 stalks celery, diced (½ cup)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) low-sodium beef broth*
  • 1 cup dry red lentils (may sub green or brown lentils)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ⅓ cup dried apricots, finely diced 
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped; plus more for garnish
  • Optional serving: Whole wheat pita bread or naan (cut into halves or quarters), and dollops of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

  1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the beef and cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the browned meat and pan juices to the slow cooker. 
  2. To the slow cooker, add the diced onion, carrots, celery, garlic, diced tomatoes, broth, dry lentils, turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice, and black pepper. Stir to combine all of the ingredients. 
  3. Add bay leaves and gently stir again. 
  4. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on the low setting for 7-9 hours** or until the lentils are tender. 
  5. Stir in the dried apricots, lemon juice, and parsley.  
  6. Ladle the stew into bowls. If desired, top servings with yogurt or sour cream, sprinkle with fresh parsley and cracked black pepper, and serve with pita bread or naan.

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*The stew does thicken when chilled. If you desire it to be thinned, add additional broth when reheating to achieve desired consistency.

**Lentils may take longer to soften when cooking at altitudes over 3,000 feet.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1 cup (1/8 of recipe)
  • Calories: 318
  • Fat: 12 g
  • (Sat Fat: 4 g)
  • Sodium: 728 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 22 g
  • (Fiber: 7 g
  • Sugar: 3 g)
  • Protein: 30 g
  • Cholesterol: 77 mg


© The Real Food Dietitians

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Wooden spoon scooping up serving of beef and lentil stew from black slow cooker

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