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Spanish-Style Lentil, Chard and Butternut Stew

4 Servings

45 minutes

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This take on lentil stew is is based on a recipe from Clifford A. Wright, food writer and expert on Mediterranean cuisine. With a base of earthy lentils swirled with chard leaves and studded with chunks of butternut squash, the stew satisfies with its array of tastes and texture. Smoked paprika, saffron threads and sherry vinegar combine to give the dish a uniquely Spanish flavor and aroma. A small measure of rice lightly thickens the broth; we prefer the starchiness of Arborio rice, but any type of white rice will work. Serve this as a vegetarian main or as a side to pork or chicken.




Don’t use brown or regular green lentils. Lentils du Puy, sometimes called French green lentils, are the best type for this stew because they retain their shape and a firm texture when fully cooked. Don’t forget to reserve the chard stems separately from the leaves, as the stems are added to the pot early on and the leaves go in at the end.

45 minutes


  • ¼

    cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

  • 1

    bunch Swiss chard, stems thinly sliced, leaves roughly chopped, reserved separately


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Brenda T.
July 19, 2023
Great tasting
Due to health issues, my doctor put me on a vegan diet. Animal protein is something I have to avoid, so the addition of honey is fine for me. After making this I felt it needed a bit more flavor, so I added some “Better Than Bullion” vegetable paste. I thought it was pretty amazing.
diane d.
November 16, 2022
Instant Pot Question
Can you make this in the instant pot. If so directions please. thank you
Pat B.
April 30, 2023
Too sweet for me
I didn’t even use all the honey and it was too sweet. I added a glut of sherry vinegar to the bowl, along with some extra paprika and it was much more to my liking.
Andrew S.
November 21, 2022
Good flavors and easy to prepare
I thought this was very good. The squash looks nice and adds a beautiful flavor and texture to the finished dish. A chopped onion in addition to the chard stems is a good idea, as suggested by another reviewer. The smoked paprika flavor is pretty strong, so make sure you're a fan of that. Otherwise, consider using regular paprika, or a combination of regular and smoked.
Jesse L.
November 20, 2022
Great flavor
The flavor was deep and rich. I might use less saffron next time, a little more squash and rice than the recipe calls for, and it was definitely soupier than I expected but overall delicious.
Cheryl B.

Made this last night and it was good, but there was a lack of flavor depth. Adding a chopped onion added with the chard stems as well as some ground cumin with the other spices would make it so much better.

Gary F.

I was wondering if using homemade chicken stock instead of 6 cups water might bump up the flavor. I hesitate using stock since it may really alter the final product. Thoughts?

Lynn C.

Hi Gary -

We didn't find the need to use chicken broth in this recipe but we don't think it would negatively affect the final product. However, if you've already seasoned your broth with salt it could become too salty during the 25 minutes of simmering since the liquid will reduce during that time.

The Milk Street Team