25 Versatile & Nutritious Lentil Recipes

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Lentils are a mighty source of plant-protein and a game changer in vegan
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Lentils are a mighty source of plant-protein and a game changer in vegan cooking. Here are 25 versatile & nutritious lentil recipes that I know you’ll love!

Early in the pandemic last spring, I polled readers on Instagram stories about what type of recipes they’d most like to see on the blog. I wanted to know what would be practical and comforting, the two qualities that seemed to matter most to everyone.

I wasn’t surprised that there was interest in shelf-stable foods. Beans and grains were getting lots of attention, thanks to their practicality for shelter-in-place living. Still, I was shocked at how many people wanted lentil recipes! Lentils were all the rage.

Looking back, I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. Lentils have all of the shelf-stable convenience and good nutrition of beans. But they’re quicker cooking than beans are, and they don’t require any overnight soaking. They’re inexpensive, nourishing, and easy to cook with.

One year later, the end of quarantine is on the horizon. But I cherished lentils before the pandemic, and I love them every bit as much now. They’re one of my favorite ways to nutrition to my plant-based recipes.

Lentil nutrition

Lentils are an excellent source of so many essential nutrients. This includes B vitamins, zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Half a cup of lentils contains about eight grams of fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health and can also help to support cardiac health.

Best of all, lentils are packed with plant protein. Protein adequacy within a vegan diet is one of the pillars of my practice as a registered dietitian, and it’s also the focus of Power Plates. I’ve seen time and time again how essential adequate protein is to longterm success with veganism, and I’m always looking to give my clients new recipe and meal ideas that maximize plant protein.

That same half cup serving of cooked lentils provides about ten grams of protein. That’s an excellent amount from one single ingredient within a meal. In many of the recipes I share below, lentils are joined by other protein-rich ingredients for even more nutrient density.

25 versatile & nutritious lentil recipes

I cook with lentils so often, and have made so many recipes with them, that it’s hard to pick even twenty-five of my favorites! But here they are, including a lentil walnut pate that’s one of my favorite, go-to snacks.

French Lentil Niçoise Salad

This French lentil Niçoise salad is a delightful vegan spin on the classic recipe! Marinated French lentils serve as a protein source in place of eggs or tuna. The salad is bursting with flavor and texture, and it’s perfect for sharing.

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A round, white salad bowl has been filled with the colorful ingredients for a vegan Niçoise salad, including tomatoes, lentils, potatoes, and green beans.
Lentil Tomato Pasta Stew

This one-pot, plant-based lentil tomato pasta stew is so cozy, hearty, and comforting! It’s also packed with nutrition from vegetables and legumes. Easy to make gluten free!

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A round bowl of vegan lentil tomato pasta stew is accompanied by pinch bowls of herbs and plant-based parmesan cheese.
Lentil Beet Salad

This vegan lentil beet salad is colorful, hearty, and so nutrient-dense! A lovely salad on its own, and even better with (or on) a slice of toast.

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A vibrant, colorful bowl of a vegan lentil beet salad.
Cumin Spiced Lentils and Rice with Every Day Lemon Tahini Dressing

This skillet meal of cumin-spiced lentils & rice couldn’t be easier to make! It’s flavorful, nutritious, and plant-based.

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A round, white plate is covered with cumin-spiced lentils & rice, a serving fork, and a drizzle of pale-colored tahini sauce.
Oh-So-Simple French Lentil Soup

This super simple French lentil soup is a perfect meal for a cold winter’s night: hearty, nourishing, and incredibly easy to make!

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Lentil Tomato Pasta Stew

This one-pot, plant-based lentil tomato pasta stew is so cozy, hearty, and comforting! It’s also packed with nutrition from vegetables and legumes. Easy to make gluten free!

Get the recipe

A round bowl of vegan lentil tomato pasta stew is accompanied by pinch bowls of herbs and plant-based parmesan cheese.
Lentil Sweet Potato Salad

This mustardy lentil sweet potato salad can be eaten on its own, on toast, or with crackers! It’s a super flavorful, nutritious plant-based spread that’s perfect for meal prep.

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A white ramekin has been filled with a lentil sweet potato salad and is accompanied by crackers.
Creamy Coconut Curried Green Lentils (& Bowls)

These coconut curried green lentils are nutritious, easy to make, and they feed a crowd! They’ll give you a whole week’s worth of flavorful, hearty vegan bowls.

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Slow Cooker Masala Lentils (gluten free, soy free)

Slow cooker masala lentils are one of my favorite make-ahead lentil recipes! Serve them with rice, flatbread, or your favorite leafy greens for a nutritious plant-based meal. Designed for the slow cooker, but with a stovetop option.

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Creamy Tomato Coconut Red Lentils

Creamy tomato coconut red lentils are the perfect healthful comfort food! Made with coconut milk, sweet potato, and lots of spices, they’re both hearty and flavorful. Scoop them up with flatbread or pile them on your favorite grain for a complete meal.

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Braised Lentils on Toast

Braised lentils on toast is one of my all-time favorite, easy vegan dinners. Thanks to red wine and lots of herbs, the lentils taste sophisticated—but they’re really simple to make.

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An overhead shot of red wine braised lentils on toast, served with greens and tomato.
Stewed Eggplant Tomato Lentils

A savory, Mediterranean inspired eggplant, tomato, and lentil dish to celebrate the flavors and fresh produce of summer.

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BakkBenchers Network

BakkBenchers Network

Kick-Ass content from the Back Benches every day ! We bring you the kind of shows that TV doesn't make ! Get ready to see the world from the back benches. We are responsible for only what we say, not what you understand ;)

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Kick-Ass content from the Back Benches every day ! We bring you the kind of shows that TV doesn’t make ! Get ready to see the world from the back benches. We are responsible for only what we say, not what you understand ;)

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