Hearty and nutritious, this Red Lentil Stew with Chickpeas and Orzo is an easy meal the whole family will love! Throw all the ingredients in your slow cooker for a few hours and dinner is served!
If you don’t have a slow cooker, I highly suggest you get one. It’s so easy to throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning so you can come home to a nourishing meal that’s ready when you are.
This Red Lentil Stew with Chickpeas & Orzo is one of our favorites. Give it a try today!
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Legumes – Lentils and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are super high in protein, fiber, B Vitamins, iron and more! They are also very low in calories with virtually no fat. Nutritional powerhouses!
Red lentils break down easily to add body to the soup.
Chickpea add texture and heartiness. White beans can be substituted if necessary, but note they will be a creamier texture.
Noodles ~ I like the addition of the orzo in this stew. Kids tend love little pasta shapes.
Quick cooking brown rice or macaroni noodles would also work.
Spices ~ I’ve lightly spiced this soup with cumin and added a smoky kick with smoked paprika. Fresh parsley thrown in at the end brightens up the whole thing.
Play around with the spices you like best. Chili powder and oregano would be delicious additions or substitutions.
How to make the recipe
Typically, slow cooker recipes are dump and go and this one is not much different. However, I do like to sauté the onion and garlic on the stovetop first before adding them to the slow cooker. I find they don’t soften enough to my liking if I skip this step, but it’s optional if you don’t have the extra time.
Then add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, except for the orzo pasta, and let it cook for about 3 hours on high.
Once the lentils are tender, add the orzo, and cook another 30 minutes or so until the pasta is al dente.
Stir in the fresh parsley and any additional seasoning you may like just before serving.
Leftovers of this Red Lentil Stew can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. You may need to add a little extra vegetable broth upon reheating as the noodles will soak up the liquid as it sits.
I don’t recommend freezing this soup as is. The noodles will soak much of the liquid and the noodles will turn to mush when thawing/reheating.
Pro tip: If you think you will want to freeze this soup for later, I suggest cooking the orzo pasta separately on the stovetop and adding them to individual bowls when serving. This way you can safely store the soup without the noodles in the freezer for 4 to 6 months.
No, lentils don’t need to be soaked before using them. You do, however, need to pick through them to remove any small pebble or rocks and rinse the lentils really well under cold water to remove any dust or debris.
Yes! This red lentil stew is incredibly healthy and nutritious. It’s full of healthy plant protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals!
Read all about lentils here!
In this day and age when pretty much everything can be digital and programmable, I suggest you go this route.
Of course, an old school slow cooker with the only options being High and Low will work just fine, but it definitely is more limiting.
The Instant Pot is by far my favorite choice. They are not paying me in any way to say this and I bought my Instant Pot on my own, with my own money. I just really love it and I think you will too! It’s actually more than just a slow cooker. It performs 7 different functions and its best known as a pressure cooker.
Besides being a slower cooker and pressure cooker, it can also be used as a rice cooker, for browning/sautéing, a yogurt maker, a steamer and a warmer. No more cluttering up your kitchen with multiple appliances. It’s fully programmable with an auto “keep warm” function after the cook time is up. Or you can program it so it delays the cooking start time until many hours later.
I love this appliance so much, I even bought one for my mom. Want to know what other kitchen tools I recommend? You can see my choices here.
More easy vegan soup recipes
- Red Curry Thai Noodle Soup
- 30 Minute Vegan Black Bean Soup
- Easy Vegan Minestrone Soup
- Creamy Vegan Potato Soup
- Hearty Lentil Rice Soup
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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For even more easy family recipes, be sure to check out my cookbook, The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook!
Slow Cooker Red Lentil Stew with Chickpeas and Orzo
- ½ large sweet onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 carrot diced
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 1 cup dried red lentils picked over and rinsed well
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas or 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
- ¾ cup dry orzo pasta or any small shape pasta, like ditalini or macaroni
- handful of fresh parsley chopped
- Sauté the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons veggie broth in a small pan over medium heat for about 5 to 6 minutes, until soft and translucent.
- Add the onions/garlic along with everything else, except the orzo and parsley, into the bowl of your slow cooker.
- Cook on high 2 to 3 hours until the lentils are soft.
- Add the orzo and cook on low another 30 minutes until the orzo is tender.
- Taste and add additional seasoning (salt, pepper, etc.) as needed.
- Stir in the fresh parsley and serve.