21 Not-Boring Lentil Recipes (2024)

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Lentils may not be the most attractive ingredient in town, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid them. Easy to prepare, a great alternative to meat, and super tasty if done right, lentils are actually a go-to ingredient.

These 21 easy and delicious lentil recipes are the perfect way to add protein (and flavor) to breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And hey, some of them are legit beautiful too.

1. Crispy lentils with walnuts and za’atar

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Hello, protein! Lentils, fried egg, and walnuts combine to make this dish a protein powerhouse. It also has a nice crunch that’s atypical of lentil dishes.

A tasty way to fuel up for a long day and sneak in some greens, this meal just may be your new morning favorite.

2. Baked eggs in tomatoes with lentils and whipped goat cheese

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This egg breakfast is super filling and flavorful but not too heavy. It’s also incredibly easy to make and a great dish for a crowd.

Lentils are simmered in a tomato, leek, and shallot sauce before eggs are cracked into the skillet for baking. Feel free to add spinach or other veggies. The recipe creator’s only requirement: Don’t skip the whipped goat cheese.

3. Spicy lentils with poached eggs

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Super quick, easy, and delicious, these spicy lentils are just what the doctor ordered on dreary mornings or weeknights when you simply can’t be bothered — to cook, that is.

All it takes is minimal chopping. A few stirs. A wee poaching (or frying, if that’s how you like your eggs). And finally, the will to lift up your fork, plunge it into yolky heaven, and chew. It may even force you to smile.

4. Lentils, roasted tomatoes, and dukkah-crumbed eggs

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What the duck is dukkah? Glad you asked. It’s an Egyptian mixture of herbs, spices, and nuts — and it’s divine. The recipe calls for homemade, but it can also be found at specialty food stores.

Simply roast tomatoes with harissa, cook the lentils, soft-boil eggs, roll the cooked eggs in dukkah, and enjoy the best (and most inventive) breakfast concoction ever.

5. Spinach lentil fritters

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These tasty fritters can be prepped in 20 minutes and cooked just as fast. The result: crispy, savory, spinach-filled fritters that taste like they were made for the citrusy sour cream sauce.

Feel free to sub Greek yogurt if you prefer, and try adding shredded sweet potato to bulk them up just a bit more. These are an awesome way to sneak greens and protein into a snack or weeknight appetizer.

6. Carrot-lentil cakes with garlic-herb tahini

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Vegan, gluten-free, seriously delicious, and oh-so-filling, these carrot-lentil cakes are a great dish for a dinner party or date night if you’re looking to serve something fun while keeping things healthy.

For more than just an appetizer, serve them on a bed of arugula or in a warm pita with more veggies (like cucumber and red onion), and make sure to dress them generously with the garlic-herb sauce.

7. Roasted cauliflower and lentil tacos with creamy chipotle sauce

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Smothered in creamy chipotle sauce, stuffed with lentils and roasted cauliflower, and hugged together with a warm tortilla, let’s taco ’bout how good these lentil tacos are.

These just may be the healthiest tacos we’ve ever seen (and some of the tastiest!). Sub Greek yogurt for mayo for extra protein — and because it tastes that much better.

8. Vegan sweet potato and lentil shepherd’s pie

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Did we say “healthy pie”? Why, yes — yes, we did. This vegan spin on shepherd’s pie is a crowd-pleaser for a reason: It’s creamy, filling, flavorful, beautiful, and did we mention creamy?

Layered with spiced lentils and mushrooms and a sweet potato and breadcrumb topping, this dish makes winter (and holidays) way more tolerable.

9. Fried halloumi lentil salad

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Topped with delicately sliced zucchini, bursting roasted grape tomatoes, a sprinkle of microgreens, and perfectly browned halloumi, this is the salad we’ve been dreaming of.

For extra greens, serve on a bed of arugula or spinach. Then add an extra drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon for the dressing. Whoever said lentils aren’t pretty clearly hasn’t seen this dish.

10. Sunshine lentil bowls with garlic-olive oil dressing

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The vibrant veggies, creamy eggs (cooked with goat cheese), refreshing herbs, and hearty potatoes make this an ideal dish for any time of day. Skip the eggs to make it vegan and add a tahini sauce for extra flavor.

11. Turmeric lentil fritters tomato bowl with tahini-dill sauce

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These seedy, slightly spicy fritters are the perfect vegetarian topping for a salad or grain bowl.

Packed with omega-3s, protein, incredible spices, and even some hidden greens, they’re a great way to add nutrients without sacrificing flavor.

Pro tip: Use fresh dill for the tahini sauce. It ups the flavor like whoa.

12. Curried coconut lentil stuffed sweet potato bowls

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Stuffed sweet potatoes are our go-to meal for easy, nutritious lunches and dinners. But this recipe takes things to the next level.

With seriously spiced curry lentils and an extra dose of protein (and creaminess) from the Greek yogurt topping, you won’t get sick of the same old meal anytime soon.

Pro tip: Want it for breakfast? Skip the yogurt and top with a fried or poached egg.

13. Sprouted lentil vegan hummus wrap

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We love anything that’s both fast and healthy. All too often, there’s no extra time to spend in the kitchen.

This sprouted lentil wrap is as simple as spreading hummus on a tortilla (we highly recommend a spinach wrap), topping it with all kinds of veggies, and sprinkling on a handful of sprouted lentils.

You may also want to add some brown rice and then season it with smoked paprika and salt. Now, roll that nutritious bad boy up and ta-da! Done. You’re ready to enjoy its fresh, light flavor.

14. Tangy lentil sloppy Joes

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These lentil sloppy Joes taste as good as they look — or even better. They’re cooked in a homemade barbecue-esque sauce made with tomato paste, tomato sauce, pickle juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and maple syrup.

They taste decadent but are packed with healthy ingredients. If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, the lentils freeze well and taste even better when reheated.

15. Zoodles with vegan lentil meatballs

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We love zucchini noodles, but mixing them with plain ol’ sauce just doesn’t do the trick anymore. This recipe beefs things up with not-so beefy meatballs.

Lentils combine with oat flour, chia seeds, herbs, and chopped onion to create super-filling, protein-packed balls that rival those made with meat. Preparing the balls takes a bit of effort (read: time), so plan accordingly.

16. Lentil Bolognese

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Whether you already eat vegetarian or you’re simply looking to go meatless for the day, this Bolognese is exactly what we wish for in a meat-free pasta.

Hearty, full of protein, dense (but not too dense), and ready to eat in 30 minutes flat, it may even convince you to go meat-free for good. To make it gluten-free, use quinoa pasta or zoodles.

17. Winter detox Moroccan sweet potato lentil soup

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The word “detox” may make you expect something bland, but this soup is anything but. With sweet potato, carrot, red bell pepper, onion, spinach, lots o’ garlic, and spices galore, it’s packed with flavor.

If you’re pressed for time during the workweek, never fear: You can make this on the weekend and enjoy for several days. Top with fresh Greek yogurt for added creaminess or hot sauce for extra heat.

18. Parsnip and apple soup with black lentils and vegetable crisps

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This soup is the perfect balance of sweet and salty. The apple and parsnip base also means it’s all kinds of creamy, even though it’s vegan (we love when plant-based cooks figure out how to do that).

Topped with black lentils, chili flakes, scallions, and root veggie chips, it’s a great dish for playing with all kinds of flavors — and textures — with minimal effort in the kitchen.

19. Healing red lentil and turmeric soup

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If you don’t love the texture of lentils, opt for a dish where they’re puréed, like this soup. This recipe is made with red lentils, our favorite kind (shhh, don’t tell the others!).

Your whole house is about to smell amazing, because it’s also got onion, garlic, carrot, and a variety of spices like turmeric, coriander, and cumin. With just a short simmer and quick blend, this soup is great for beginners.

20. Creamy coconut lentil curry

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Isn’t this dish beautiful? Curry is one of the most popular lentil dishes. And for good reason: Lentils soak up the heavenly curry flavor and are perfect for scooping up with naan, pita, or a good ol’ spoon.

Though the soup takes an hour to cook, it simply simmers for most of that time, and the resulting flavor is all kinds of worth it. Top with cherry tomatoes and cilantro.

21. Tuscan kale and lentil soup

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Whether it’s sweater weather and you’re looking for extra warmth or it’s the end of a long, indulgent weekend and you’re craving some veggies, this soup is the answer.

Filled with sweet potato, kale, onion, carrot, celery, and a variety of herbs, this soup just makes you feel downright good. And it tastes even better the next day, so it’s perfect for leftovers.

If you’ve ever picked up a bag of lentils at the grocery store and then chickened out and put it back, we feel you. Somehow, a simple bag of legumes can be super intimidating.

You’ll soon see how easy it is to cook these humble, nutritious pods of possibility. Try green, red, or yellow, and let us know how many uses you can come up with. Lentils may just become your new favorite ingredient.

21 Not-Boring Lentil Recipes (2024)


How do you make lentils less boring? ›

Some garlic, tomato, herbs and 25 minutes is all you need for the most flavorful, perfectly soft lentils.” But the way they come together will make you pause and maybe giggle: You drop a whole, large tomato and four garlic cloves, jackets and all, into the pot with the dry lentils and herbs.

Why can't I digest lentils? ›

Another reason that lentils are known for causing gas and bloating is because they are high in what's called raffinose. Raffinose family oligosaccharides (RFO) are known to cause stomach discomfort and bloating because the human body lacks the enzyme required to break them down within the digestive tract.

What happens if you don't soak lentils before cooking? ›

Here's why soaking lentils is important

Fact 1: Soaking lentils improves digestion and nutrition absorption as it can neutralise lectins and phytates present that may cause gas and bloating. Fact 2: Soaking lentils also reduces its cooking time. It also brings prana (life) into the legume.

What can you add to lentils to make them taste better? ›

You can also add salt, aromatics like a halved onion, herbs, and spices to the pot before the lentils and the water, like beans, or wait until they're done cooking to flavor them.

How to season lentils to taste like meat? ›

Stir in spices: cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt chili powder. Stir in tomato paste, vegetable broth, and vegan Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the mixture thickens. The longer you cook the lentils, the thicker and dryer the sauce.

What is the best tasting lentil? ›

Black Beluga lentils have the most flavor, adding a rich, earthy taste and a firm texture that holds up well during cooking. Black lentils will be ready in 20–25 minutes; however, they will fall apart like their brown, green, and red partners once you cook them for too long.

Who should avoid eating lentils? ›

However, some people may need to take precautions. Due to their high fiber content, people with certain digestive disorders may need to limit or avoid eating lentils. Over half of their content is carbohydrates, so lentils are not considered keto-friendly.

Is lentil bad for gut? ›

Lentils are rich in a type of fiber that helps your digestive system work as it should and fuels good bacteria in your gut. Fiber may also help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. “Fiber plays an important role in regulating our bowels and protecting the immune system,” says Homan.

Who should avoid lentils? ›

Lentils are a healthy choice for most people and aren't associated with significant health risks. However, since they are so high in fiber, people who aren't used to eating fiber-rich foods may experience bloating and gas after consuming lentils, especially in large portions.

How many lentils per person? ›

Allow about 1/4 cup or 2 ounces (60 g (2 oz) of uncooked lentils per person/serving. Cooking instructions vary depending on the type, so just see the package you're using for guidance.

What happens if you don't wash lentils properly? ›

The only risk you have after cooking is encountering small stones that may accidentally remain in the lentils but this is rare. The first time I made a lentil soup, I forgot to rinse the lentils. The worst I can say is that they tasted a little … old and dusty. Seriously!

What spices go best with lentils? ›

Spices – Ground coriander provides warm earthiness, ground cumin has a slight bitterness that goes well with sweet lentils, sumac is astringent with a bit of puckery sourness, and crushed red peppers add a hint of a kick. Any mild to spicy red pepper will work, like Aleppo-style pepper.

What pairs well with lentils? ›

Here are some good food combinations with lentils:
  • Lentils and Rice: Lentils and rice make a classic and satisfying combination. ...
  • Lentils and Vegetables: Lentils pair well with a wide range of vegetables. ...
  • Lentils and Tomatoes: Tomatoes complement lentils beautifully and enhance their flavors.
Jul 12, 2023

Why do you add baking soda to lentils? ›

Summary: Baking soda is mostly used to soften the beans faster and decrease cooking time by increasing pH. In some scenarios, it has been shown to aid in breaking down gas-causing sugars as well. Higher concentrations of baking soda and/or pressure cooking may be needed to make this latter effect significant.

How do you make lentils more palatable? ›

Cooking lentils slow and low, combining the right varieties among red lentils, green lentils, brown lentils etc., using freshly ground spices, and garnishing with fresh herbs can greatly improve the flavor and aroma of your dish.

Why are my lentils bland? ›

The simple answer: you cooked them too long. Lentils are actually quite difficult to get right.

How do you hide the taste of lentils? ›

10 Ways to Hide Lentils in Food
  1. Substitute some of the mince in rissoles or burger patties with cooked red lentils. ...
  2. Bulk up spaghetti bolognese with cooked red lentils.
  3. Bulk up Nachos or Tacos with cooked red lentils or add to chilli con carn.
  4. Use to casseroles, stews, pie fillings or tangines as a filler.
Aug 26, 2019

Why is my lentil soup bland? ›

Why does my lentil soup taste bland? Lentils have a relatively mild taste and take well to seasonings. To avoid a bland lentil soup, use a flavorful broth—whether that's homemade or store-bought chicken or vegetable broth. The other key is building flavor.

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