In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Stewed Lentils Caribbean Style.

trinidad stew lentils recipe (13)This recipe is very similar to the Red Kidney Beans one I did a couple weeks ago, except we’re using dried lentils. Lentils are one of the best vegetable sources of iron. This makes them an important part of a vegetarian diet, and useful for preventing iron deficiency. I usually make lentils in batches, so I could enjoy some that day and freeze the rest for later use, especially since it takes a while to cook if you don’t have a pressure cooker. I’ve had frozen stewed lentils last up to 3 months in the freezer and once reheated it tastes the same as the day it was first cooked.

Now don’t get “tie-up” (confused) by this being a vegetarian dish and think it lacks flavour… trust me this one will be a hit for one and all. I love this so much, I even have it as a soup… but that’s when I add salted meats to it while cooking ๐Ÿ™‚

You’ll Need…

2 cups of lentils (I used the small brown/green ones)
3 cloves garlic
2 sprigs thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
hot pepper (as much as you like) I used a small habanero
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion sliced
water (see in directions)
1/2 teaspoon Caribbean style โ€œbrowningโ€
2 table spoon chopped shado beni or cilantro
1 scallion (diced thin)
1/2 tablespoon Golden Ray butter (optional, but adds that true island flavour so I could not leave this out)

You can also add the following ingredients during the slow cooking process to add a bit more body and flavour to the dish.

2 carrots diced
1 bell pepper diced
1 tomato diced

Get started by going through the lentils to ensure that there’s nothing foreign between it (I’ve seen little pebbles and twigs at times). Then pour the lentils into a bowl and wash with cool water (drain), after which I add enough water to the bowl to cover the lentils and allow to soak for a couple hours (overnight is best).

trinidad stew lentils recipe

The next step is to pour the lentils and water into a deep pot and add additional water so everything is covered by at least 2 inches of water. Place the pot onto a medium heat, add the garlic, hot pepper, salt, thyme and if you’re using the additional ingredients, now is the time to add them. Don’t forget to add the black pepper as well. Bring this to a boil, then cover and reduce to heat to low so it simmers. Allow this to cook for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

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After the lentils are tender (pay attention to the water level as you don’t want it to get too thick or all the water to burn off…. add a cup is you find that it’s starting to get overly thick) Get another pot and add the oil to it under medium heat, then add the sliced onions and cook for a couple minutes. Basically until it’s soft and start getting golden edges. Then (gently – we’re adding liquid to hot oil) add the cooked lentils to the pot (pour in everything).

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Get a whisk or as I did with a swizzle stick, whisk everything to break down the lentils a bit… then add the browning, scallions, shado beni or cilantro and Goldenray butter and stir around. Allow this to cook for a couple minutes and then you’re done. Don’t forget to fish out the twig from the thyme before serving. You’re looking for a thick, soup-like consistency.

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This is awesome as a side for rice dishes (must have stew chicken, beef or pork as well)ย  and I also like scoping with pita bread or roti as well.. plus as I mentioned earlier, it’s good as a simple soup as well. Don’t forget to leave me your comments below and remember to connect with us on facebook by clicking on the image below.

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  1. Jen
    June 14, 2022 / 11:13 am

    I made this last night with a few substitutions and it turned out excellent! I used green lentils and did not soak them. I didn’t have some of the ingredients listed (browning or golden ray butter) but I used a few things in their place. First, I used cherrywood smoked sea salt in place of regular salt. I think this imparted a smoky, almost bacon-y flavor. I also added a few tbsp of tomato paste to the onions that I sauteed, and a tsp of butter for a little more flavor. I served it with steamed white rice, habenero sauce and sauteed collard greens from our garden. Overall, this is my favorite lentil dish that I’ve ever made and it reminds me of the stewed lentils that I had in St Lucia a few years ago!

    • Cheesesteak22
      April 15, 2024 / 5:04 pm

      HA, No Way….I just got home from St. Lucia and was looking up a lentil dish I had at the buffet offered at The Beacon. That is what led me here as I have to recreate that delicious dish.

  2. Laura from NJ
    February 20, 2021 / 7:33 pm

    Thank you for the inspiration for a tasty pot of lentils. My goal was to cook from my pantry, so I wound up having to make some substitutions to your recipe. I didn’t have the browning; instead I fried up a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste with the onions as they were nearing completion (inspired by the commenters who spoke of adding ketchup). I also didn’t have the Golden Ray, so dropped in the tag end of a box of creamed coconut I had in the fridge for richness. And since it was on the shelf, I added a healthy glug of Outerbridge Sherry Peppers Rum sauce gifted to me from someone who had visited Bermuda a few years ago. Finally, I had to add some cayenne at the end since my serrano peppers didn’t lend enough heat to the party. I’m very happy with the outcome for a hearty dish in the middle of this cold and snowy February. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  3. December 5, 2017 / 2:34 pm

    Golden Ray margarine is not available in the US Midwest, even by mail delivery. Amazon advertises Golden Coconut Butter which most reviewers use for making popcorn. Question, is Golden Coconut Butter the equivalent of Gooden Ray margarine and, if it is not, can it be used as a base for making/approximating Caribbean Golden Ray margarine? If so, by adding what ingredients?


  4. Bernice Martin
    September 13, 2016 / 10:33 pm

    Lentil is always so delicious.

  5. Tyler Heflin
    October 25, 2015 / 12:13 am

    Just made this for my Trini boyfriend and it came out really good (I’m American lol)! Made it with rice and a curry stew (pork) and damn, it was good! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Nay
    March 30, 2015 / 9:27 am

    Thank you. Could you tell me the type of spoon you are using and suggest where I can buy? I have been looking for some of those forever and have yet to be successful.

  7. Lindsay
    March 16, 2015 / 10:32 pm

    I use stock instead of water, gives it flavour without adding salt and the Golden Ray adds the rest

    • admin
      March 16, 2015 / 11:00 pm

      be mindful of both commercial stock and Golden Ray. Both are HEAVY on the sodium. if you have your own homemade stock, then you can certainly control what goes into it.

  8. jereon balfour
    October 5, 2014 / 12:17 pm

    Pal I tried it and my kids just loved it I think I could give the wifey some competition I need to check out more of your simple dishes thanks very much

  9. Linda Ferguson
    February 23, 2014 / 8:04 pm

    I love the sound of this recipe I’m certainly going to give it a try. Thanks Chris for all your delicious recipes. Please keep them coming. God Bless

  10. gowra Loknath
    August 29, 2013 / 6:22 pm

    Hi Chris,
    I usually put everything in the pot and cook together with some brown sugar and ketchup. I love to add a bit of pimento pepper. Gives it a different flavour. I use everything you do, except the browning. I just partly cook the lentils, then I add everything else and leave to simmer. The pimento does the trick. I don’t add chadon beni though.

  11. vidal
    August 7, 2013 / 7:58 am

    can you do this recipe with the yellow split peas?

  12. Melissa johnson
    July 22, 2013 / 12:25 pm

    Love this recipe. I used thyme in mine and chicken bouillon also. After it cooked I put it in the food processor. It is so good!!

  13. Sabrina
    June 26, 2013 / 7:59 pm

    Thanks again for this recipe! Your site has saved me tons on confusion and burnt food ๐Ÿ™‚ I have now cooked stew chicken, curry chicken, and lentils all from Caribbean Pot!

  14. carie
    January 22, 2013 / 12:53 pm

    first time I saw some swizzle lentils….smh

  15. Dawta
    January 1, 2013 / 10:01 pm

    I left off the browning, used coconut milk instead of water and added curry to the oil. It came out nice:)

  16. june joseph
    December 15, 2012 / 10:48 pm

    I use coconut milk instead of water and have a delicious, creamy pot of lentils that I freeze in batches.

  17. Susan
    December 9, 2012 / 4:53 pm

    Very nice. I tried it and it works

  18. Kurt
    October 12, 2012 / 3:21 pm

    Guys, My Grand mother does it different from you all, she boils the lentils with all the required seasonings until it comes to a slightly thick consistency then add salt to taste and that's it.

  19. Fazeela
    July 18, 2012 / 12:56 pm

    i stew my lentil the same as diana but without using the sugar, i fry all the seasonings in the oil, add ketcup, fry up some more, then add the lentil, salt etc and let is simmer for a while then swizzle up and add some black pepper.

  20. Maria M
    August 26, 2011 / 10:32 am

    Ok so I live in California and cant find golden ray anywhere, so what can use to substitude?

    • Shelly
      January 8, 2012 / 12:57 pm

      Have you tried going to a caribbean or latin american grocery?

  21. Ras Micah
    July 2, 2011 / 10:27 pm

    I did mine differently (Ethiopian Style) i added ginger and gounded cumin and no browing and it was fantastic. This is a great dish, esp with roti. Think im going to try this recipe exactly how it is next time

  22. praim
    May 25, 2011 / 3:36 pm

    What no tomatoes or at least tomato ketchup?

  23. August 2, 2010 / 6:54 pm

    These seem to be whole Masoor dal.
    I noticed that you use this particular stew-pot a lot while cooking your dishes.
    Am curious to know what it is made of: iron?
    It looks like something we have here, which is called 'intallium' = a mix of aluminium and steel.

  24. Guest
    July 22, 2010 / 9:02 pm

    your blog is beautiful – pics and words, well done, looking forward to trying some of the recipes out

  25. July 2, 2010 / 11:05 am

    Looks awesome Chris.

  26. July 1, 2010 / 8:50 am

    Your recipe made me hungry and it is only 9 am here….

    • July 14, 2010 / 8:17 pm

      nice? hope you had something tasty to eat ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. diana
    June 30, 2010 / 8:21 pm

    i stew my lentils a bit different, i boil them with a little bit of sugar about a tablespoon. when they are done boiling i make the stew by heating the oil in a pot addind about 2tsps brown sugar to caramelize( as for stew chicken) and i add the following ingredients all at once to the caramelize sugar,chopped onions, chopped tomato,minced garlic, chopped hot pepper,shado beni and some ketchup.i let it fry for about 1-2 mins on low to medium heat then i add the lentils without the water it was boiled in, i add black pepper,salt, golden ray,thyme and let in fry a bit say bout 3-4 mins, then i add the water it was boiled in till it cooks down and the sauce is thickened, i add my chopped parsely and chive when its almost done.

    • July 14, 2010 / 8:17 pm

      Diana, this is exactly how my mom and grand mother would make thiers as well. I had a bad experience stewing the lentils the way you mentioned and it came out a bit bitter/burned, so I had to simplify my recipe. Thanks so much for sharing this traditional recipe.

      • Trinisoul
        January 16, 2012 / 3:09 pm

        Hey Chris,
        Ketchup hides the bitter/burnt taste when you've browned the sugar a little too much in any dish.

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