Start the instant pot on sauté. Add oil, when hot add onion and garlic and cook for a minute. Then add the mushrooms and a good pinch of salt and cook for 3 minutes, add the wine and mix well and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
Cancel sauté, add the carrots, dry lentils, salt, herbs, tomato paste, water or broth and give it a good mix. (additional flavors: add 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary or dried oregano. Add a tbsp of Worcestershire sauce)
Place a steamer basket over the lentil mixture and add cubed sweet potato to the basket. Close the lid. Pressure cook for 11-14 minutes, longer for older, green lentils (Stove top instructions in the notes).
Let pressure release naturally. Open the lid, remove the steamer basket. Transfer the steamed sweet potatoes to a bowl and mash with a fork.
Add the salt, garlic, thyme, pepper and extra virgin olive oil and mix well. Taste and adjust the flavor if needed. (If using regular potatoes, add a few tbsp of non dairy milk)
Taste and adjust the lentil stew in the instant pot and add salt if needed, add a good dash of black pepper. You can also fold in some baby spinach and 1/3 cup green peas at this point.
Serve the stew over mashed sweet potatoes. Garnish with fresh herbs and black pepper. You can also add toasted breadcrumbs and olive oil garnish.
Stovetop: Follow steps 1 and 2 in a saucepan over medium heat. Add lentils and 2.5 cups of water/broth. Partially cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer for 25 mins or until the lentils are tender to preference.Steam or boil the sweet potatoes separately until tender (7 to 10 mins). Mash and mix the rest of the ingredients.The stew is freezer friendly for upto a month. Refrigerate potatoes and stew separately for upto 3 days.Nutrition is for 1 serve