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:
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.
10-Ingredient Lentil Bolognese
Vegan Red Lentil Curry
Vegan Lentil Moussaka – Golubka Kitchen
Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme with Lentil Taco Meat
Note: The lentil taco meat can be found in the second recipe card of this blog post
Vegan Lentil Enchiladas
Creamy Mushroom and Black Beluga Lentil Stew
Masala Khichdi (Indian Rice & Lentils)
Red Wine Braised Lentils with Spinach & Pearl Onions
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Lentil Curry
Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls
The Best Vegan Lentil Meatloaf
Creamy Lentil and Vegetable Bake (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
Za’atar & Mint Veggie Wraps
Easy Smoky Lentil Sloppy Joes
Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Vegan Dal Makhani
5-Minute Lentil Dip
Vegan Turkish Lentil Balls
Vegan Lentil Balls in Sweet and Sour Sauce
Spicy Lentil Vegan Sausage Rolls
Moong Dal Toast
Vegan Lentil Meatballs
Soups & Stews
Instant Pot Lentil Soup
Instant Pot Spiced Red Lentil Sweet Potato Soup
Greek Lentil Soup
Lentil Fritters in Eggplant, Sweet Potato Coconut Stew (Bengali Chapor Ghonto)
Lentil Peanut Stew
Vegan Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
Creamy Vegan Lentil Tortilla Soup
Vegan Instant Pot Lentil and Cabbage Soup
Sides & Salads
How to Cook Lentils in the Instant Pot
Grilled Asparagus & French Lentil Niçoise-Inspired Salad
Instant Pot Pearl Couscous and Lentil Salad
Jamaican Inspired Jerk Lentils
Warm Lentil Salad with Delicata Squash and Cilantro Cashew Cream
French Lentil Salad
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!)
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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