40 Must-Make Lentil Recipes

A roundup of 40 delicious yet wholesome vegan lentil recipes from around the plant-based internet.

Whether you’re looking for an Indian dal, lentil bolognese, or a cozy lentil stew, this list of lentil recipes is full of cooking inspiration!

Say goodbye to boring, plain lentils and explore the delightful world of healthy yet delicious lentils!

If you’ve ever thought of lentils as boring, this roundup of delicious lentil recipes will change your mind! Say good-bye to plain boiled lentils and basic lentil soup, and try one of these fun and exciting plant-based recipes. 

You can incorporate nutrient-dense lentils into almost any savory dish, from dips to soups to pastas, and this list of fabulous vegan lentil recipes is jam-packed with creative and tasty ideas to get you started.

Table of Contents:
1. Mains
2. Appetizers
3. Soups & Stews
4. Sides & Salads

What are the different types of lentils?

Red Lentils: Red lentils break down quickly and become creamy, making them the perfect thickening agent for Indian dals and curries, as well as creamy stews and purées. If you’re new to red lentils and open your pot to see a pile of mush, don’t be alarmed. That’s exactly what red lentils do!

Brown and Green Lentils: These are the most common lentils in the U.S., and you can find them at any grocery store. They’re a little bigger than other varieties and have a mild, earthy flavor. Great in soups, stews, and pureed dishes, like my Vegan Wellington! Bonus: they’re one of the cheapest foods you can buy at the grocery store!

French Green (Puy) Lentils: These lentils also hold their shape when cooked, making them perfect in salads. If you find brown or green lentils turn out too mushy, try French green lentils instead – they can even hold up well in lentil soup. They have a pleasant, peppery taste.

Black Beluga Lentils: The fanciest of lentils and a bit more expensive than ordinary lentils. Since they hold their shape well, they make a great side dish or a bed on which you can serve your meal. Black beluga lentils have a hearty, full-bodied flavor.

Note: If you’re interested in lentil varieties used in Indian cooking, check out my blog post on Dal Tadka!

How do you cook lentils in the Instant Pot?

Check out my comprehensive blog post on “How to Cook Lentils in the Instant Pot“! And in my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, you’ll find a cook time chart for all the common lentil varieties. 

Interested in other legumes? Check out my round-up of 40 Fantastic Bean Recipes for tons of bean inspiration.

Main Dishes

10-Ingredient Lentil Bolognese

My 10-Ingredient Lentil Bolognese is hearty, meaty, and packed with umami but 100% wholesome, vegan, and gluten-free. And it’s made with just 10 main ingredients—all pantry staples!
Check out this recipe
10-Ingredient Lentil Bolognese

Vegan Red Lentil Curry

My Vegan Red Lentil Curry is a fan favorite and the BEST lentil curry you will ever try! It’s easy and quick, making it a perfect weeknight dinner! Plus, it’s creamy and indulgent but made with wholesome vegan ingredients!
Check out this recipe
Vegan Red Lentil Curry

Vegan Lentil Moussaka – Golubka Kitchen

An incredibly savory and comforting, Vegan Moussaka recipe by Anya of Goluba Kitchen with layers of silky eggplant, veggies and lentils, covered by a crispy layer of mashed potatoes.
Check out this recipe
Vegan Lentil Moussaka - Golubka Kitchen

Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme with Lentil Taco Meat

My Crunchwrap Supreme features a healthy but flavor-packed homemade taco meat made from lentils, mushrooms and walnuts! Layer it with vegan queso and sour cream, a crunchy tostada, salsa & avocado, and it’s the BEST thing ever.

Note: The lentil taco meat can be found in the second recipe card of this blog post
Check out this recipe
vegan crunchwrap supreme on white background

Vegan Lentil Enchiladas

These Vegan Enchiladas by Eva of The Curious Chickpea are filled with an easy savory lentil filling and topped with a homemade enchilada sauce and butternut queso. Simple to make but so special.
Check out this recipe
Vegan Lentil Enchiladas

Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

My Creamy Mushroom and Black Lentil Stew is plant-forward but creamy and delicious. With hearty black beluga lentils, mushrooms, and nutrition superstar kale, this is comfort food you can feel good about!
Check out this recipe
Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew

Masala Khichdi (Indian Rice & Lentils)

Khichdi is just about the greatest Indian comfort food ever invented. In this Masala Khichdi, Vaishali of Holy Cow Vegan brings a spicy, healthier spin with tons of veggies to this beloved dish.
Check out this recipe

Red Wine Braised Lentils with Spinach & Pearl Onions

Here’s a recipe by Kim of Give it Some Thyme for lentils braised in red wine finished with pearl onions and wilted spinach. Serve with naan, crusty country bread or one that’s gluten-free.
Check out this recipe
Red Wine Braised Lentils with Spinach & Pearl Onions

Instant Pot Butternut Squash Lentil Curry

With just a few minutes of hands-on cooking, my Instant Pot Butternut Squash Lentil Curry will become your go-to for weeknight meals. It’s hearty, healthy comfort food at its easiest.
Check out this recipe
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Lentil Curry

Mujadara

In this classic Lebanese recipe by Cosette’s Kitchen, lentils are simmered until soft and tender then cooked gently with rice until thickened. Enjoy with pita bread and a salad!
Check out this recipe
Mujadara

Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls

Gourmet but easy to make, my Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls are packed with fiber and protein and are great for weeknight dinners as well as meal prep.
Check out this recipe
Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls

The Best Vegan Lentil Meatloaf

This is the only Vegan Lentil Meatloaf recipe you will ever need. This recipe by Jenné of Sweet Potato Soul is full of flavor, amazing texture, and healthy. Perfect all year round!
Check out this recipe
The Best Vegan Lentil Meatloaf

Creamy Lentil and Vegetable Bake (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

My Creamy Lentil and Vegetable Bake features sweet, caramelized roasted vegetables and creamy lentils baked in a rich cashew cream. It makes an excellent vegan main dish for any holiday gathering!
Check out this recipe
Creamy Lentil and Vegetable Bake (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Za’atar & Mint Veggie Wraps

In these wraps, Sadia of Pick Up Limes seasons the veggies with her own homemade Za’atar spice mix. These wraps are filling and flavour-packed, quick to make, and incredibly wholesome.
Check out this recipe

Easy Smoky Lentil Sloppy Joes

Delicious Smoky Lentil Sloppy Joes by Gwen of Delightful Adventures that can be made in your Instant Pot, slow cooker, or on the stovetop. Instructions for all methods are included!
Check out this recipe
Easy Smoky Lentil Sloppy Joes

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

My recipe for the BEST Vegan Shepherd’s Pie! A hearty, flavor-packed lentil and sticky onion filling meets fluffy mashed potatoes and cauliflower in this protein-rich plant based dinner recipe. Perfect healthy comfort food for winter.
Check out this recipe
Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Vegan Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is one of the most popular Indian dals, and my vegan version makes no sacrifices. The complex flavors and velvety texture will blow your mind. Perfect for your special occasion dinners.
Check out this recipe
Vegan Dal Makhani

Appetizers

5-Minute Lentil Dip

This 5-Minute Lentil Dip by Iosune of Simple Vegan Blog is so tasty and really smooth. Eat it with some crudités, bread or tortilla chips or use it to make delicious sandwiches or toasts.
Check out this recipe
5-Minute Lentil Dip

Vegan Turkish Lentil Balls

These Vegan Lentil Meatballs by Shadi of Unicorns in the Kitchen are a Turkish classic and are so easy to make. You can serve these with lettuce as appetizers or as a light lunch!
Check out this recipe
Vegan Turkish Lentil Balls

Vegan Lentil Balls in Sweet and Sour Sauce

These Vegan Lentil Balls Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe from Ginny of Vegan in the Freezer has so many tasty ingredients wrapped up in one appetizer!
Check out this recipe

Spicy Lentil Vegan Sausage Rolls

The most amazing mini Spicy Lentil Vegan Sausage Rolls by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes. They’re easy to make and loved by kids and adults alike!
Check out this recipe

Moong Dal Toast

This Moong Dal Toast by Priya of Cookilicious is a vegan appetizer recipe made with moong dal and bread. Serve this plant-based snack at your next party and wow your guests!
Check out this recipe

Vegan Lentil Meatballs

Made from scratch Vegan Lentil Meatballs by Sarah of A Saucy Kitchen are made from healthy, plant based ingredients without too much prep needed! They’re both gluten and grain-free.
Check out this recipe
Vegan Lentil Meatballs

Soups & Stews

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

My Instant Pot Lentil Soup is not your ordinary lentil soup! It’s hearty, rich, and flavor-packed yet healthy, vegan, and gluten-free. Thanks to the Instant Pot, it’s so easy & quick to make.
Check out this recipe
instant pot lentil soup in blue bowl with seeded bread on wooden table

Instant Pot Spiced Red Lentil Sweet Potato Soup

My Indian-spiced soup is naturally creamy from red lentils and sweet potatoes, and super simple thanks to the Instant Pot. With warming spices, this is a healthy yet hearty meal that’ll give you all the cozy vibes.
Check out this recipe
Instant Pot Spiced Red Lentil Sweet Potato Soup

Greek Lentil Soup

This Greek Lentil Soup aka Fakes recipe reminds Maria of FoodbyMaria of the food she ate growing up. The lentils combined with the flavors of the onion and spices, and tomato broth are just SO comforting for colder weather!
Check out this recipe
Greek Lentil Soup

Lentil Fritters in Eggplant, Sweet Potato Coconut Stew (Bengali Chapor Ghonto)

This Lentil Fritters in Eggplant, Sweet Potato Coconut Stew by Vegan Richa is Inspired by Bengali Chapor Ghonto, an Indian Veggie Stew with Moong Dal patties. It’s a gluten, soy and nut free vegan Indian Recipe.
Check out this recipe
Lentil Fritters in Eggplant, Sweet Potato Coconut Stew (Bengali Chapor Ghonto)

Lentil Peanut Stew

With the cooler weather approaching this creamy Lentil Peanut Stew by Afia of The Canadian African will definitely keep you nice and warm. This recipe goes perfectly with some fluffy rice, some pita, naan or freshly toasted bread.
Check out this recipe
Lentil Peanut Stew

Vegan Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

This Vegan Coconut Curry Lentil Soup by Jessica in the Kitchen is packed with amazing lentils simmered in a rich and creamy curry broth. It’s the perfect one pot meal!
Check out this recipe
Vegan Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

Creamy Vegan Lentil Tortilla Soup

This creamy Vegan Lentil Tortilla Soup by Kylie of Midwest Foodie just 20 minutes and uses just a handful of pantry staple ingredients. It’s healthy but super hearty!
Check out this recipe
Creamy Vegan Lentil Tortilla Soup

Vegan Instant Pot Lentil and Cabbage Soup

My easy, budget-friendly Lentil and Cabbage Soup is made with everyday, affordable ingredients you might already have in your pantry! It’s an easy and healthy soup that’s perfect for meal prep and quick dinners.
Check out this recipe
Vegan Instant Pot Lentil and Cabbage Soup

Sides & Salads

How to Cook Lentils in the Instant Pot

Here’s my guide on how to cook lentils in the Instant Pot! Includes different lentil varieties, suggested cook times, the proper water:lentil ratio, and two easy lentil recipes to make in your Instant Pot!
Check out this recipe
How to Cook Lentils in the Instant Pot

Grilled Asparagus & French Lentil Niçoise-Inspired Salad

This French Lentil Niçoise-Inspired Salad with Grilled Asparagus and Caper Dressing by Laura of The First Mess is a wholesome, deliciously vegan take on the classic salad. Simple to prepare and ready in under one hour.
Check out this recipe
Grilled Asparagus & French Lentil Niçoise-Inspired Salad

Instant Pot Pearl Couscous and Lentil Salad

My Instant Pot Pearl Couscous and Lentil Salad is an easy dump-and-go Instant Pot recipe that’s a light, healthy vegan recipe perfect for summer. Featuring French green lentils, pearl couscous, and a zingy vinaigrette with lots of fresh herbs.
Check out this recipe
Instant Pot Pearl Couscous and Lentil Salad

Jamaican Inspired Jerk Lentils

Inspired by traditional complex flavors in the Caribbean, these spiced lentils by Catherine of Plant Based RD are highly addictive and satisfying. Bonus: the blog post includes a recipe for homemade jerk spice!
Check out this recipe
Jamaican Inspired Jerk Lentils

Warm Lentil Salad with Delicata Squash and Cilantro Cashew Cream

The perfect warm salad, my recipe is made with hearty but wholesome ingredients like lentils, delicata squash, and cashews. Proof that salads don’t have to be boring or skimpy. Easy enough for meal prep but fancy enough for dinner parties!
Check out this recipe
Warm Lentil Salad with Delicata Squash and Cilantro Cashew Cream

French Lentil Salad

This Vegan French Lentil Salad by Lexi of Crowded Kitchen is packed with fresh vegetables, chopped dates and a flavorful orange cumin vinaigrette. It’s perfect for a protein-packed, plant-based, quick and easy meal.
Check out this recipe
French Lentil Salad

Restaurant-Style Dal Tadka

My Dal Tadka is the best wholesome comfort food featuring creamy spiced lentils topped with a tempered spiced oil (tadka). It’s easy but gourmet and rivals any Indian restaurant. Stovetop and Instant Pot instructions.
Check out this recipe
Restaurant-Style Dal Tadka

Planning a cozy dinner party or have holiday meals on the mind? Try this Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash with butternut-tahini sauce!

Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash (& 40 more Lentil Recipes!)

5 from 5 votes
Roasted butternut squash gets stuffed with the most flavorful, umami-packed lentil filling, then drizzled with a creamy sauce made from the scooped out butternut squash. A hearty and satisfying main course for any winter dinner, especially holiday meals!
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Cuisine: American
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 6

Ingredients

  • 3 medium butternut squash
  • Regular olive oil or avocado oil for roasting
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Creamy Lentil Filling

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (you will need more oil if not using a nonstick pan)
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) dry red wine (such as Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Syrah, or Malbec)
  • 1 cup (190g) green or brown lentils
  • 2 ⅔ cups (640 mL) vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
  • 2 ½ tablespoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons white miso paste
  • 2-3 teaspoons good-quality balsamic vinegar

Butternut-Tahini Sauce

  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash (from the scooped out halves)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-6 tablespoons water or vegetable broth, more as needed to thin the sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  • Roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Slice each butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and sticky stuff with a spoon. Place each squash half, cut side up, on a large baking sheet and rub each with a bit of the oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 45-50 minutes, or until the flesh is fork tender and lightly browned.
  • Make the Creamy Lentil Filling. Heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions and season with a pinch of salt and sauté for 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning but not too often so that they can brown, or until most of the onions are browned. Add the garlic, sage and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine into all of the ingredients, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium and pour in the red wine and deglaze the pan, stirring up any browned bits, until the liquid has evaporated and the smell of alcohol has dissipated, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable broth, along with the lentils, bay leaf, and paprika. Stir to combine and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer, and simmer until the lentils are just tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low. Add the tahini, miso, and balsamic vinegar, and stir until well incorporated. Taste for seasonings, adding about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • When the roasted squash is cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh from each squash half, leaving a ½ to ¾-inch -thick border around the sides and bottom.
  • Transfer 1 cup of the butternut squash flesh to a food processor (set aside the rest for another use, such as a risotto, pasta, oatmeal, or smoothie).
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350F° (175°C).
  • Stuff the lentil filling into each squash cavity. Add the stuffed squash halves to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until everything is warmed through.
  • Meanwhile, make the butternut tahini sauce. To the food processor with the 1 cup squash flesh, add the tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and blend until smooth. Stream in the water or broth, scraping down the sides as you go, until you have a pourable but thick sauce.
  • To serve, drizzle the butternut tahini sauce on top of the stuffed baked squash. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 554mg | Potassium: 1392mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 27077IU | Vitamin C: 60mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 5mg

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6 comments on 40 Must-Make Lentil Recipes

  1. Natalie

    I love RPL recipes and I love that you support other bloggers! Thanks for sharing such a terrific round-up!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awe, we’re so glad you do! You are very welcome :)

  2. Christopher Hall

    5 stars
    I cooked this lentil-stuffed butternut squash for a Boxing Day family dinner, and it was great. I’m the only vegan, so I kept half a squash for myself — which was perfect as my main — and sliced up the other 3 squash halves (including the lentil filling) for the rest of the family as a side (they’re a picky bunch yet the entire dish was gone!). Cooking the lentils a day ahead worked fine; I roasted the squash, assembled the dish, and made the sauce Boxing Day morning; then took everything to my brother’s, put it in a 350º oven for 15 minutes — and it was good to go at dinner time. Looked great too!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Christopher!

  3. Mary

    5 stars
    I cannot believe you didn’t Include your Lentil Gyros Recipe as one of your 40! That is one of your most Delicious Recipes of Comfort (well let’s face it Every Recipe you create is AMAZING AND A WINNER!)

    Cannot wait to try all of these!

    Thanks Nisha for sharing!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi there Mary, we kept the list to recipes the general public can view on the RPL website as opposed to recipes only found in The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook! Glad you love the recipe though :) Thank you for the kind words, enjoy the recipes!

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