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.
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!
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
1tablespoonolive oil(you will need more oil if not using a nonstick pan)
2large yellow onions,diced
1tablespoonroughly chopped fresh sage leaves
2teaspoonsroughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/3cup(80 mL) dry red wine (such as Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Syrah, or Malbec)
1cup(190g) green or brown lentils
2 ⅔cups(640 mL) vegetable broth
1teaspoonsweet or hot paprika
2teaspoonswhite miso paste
2-3teaspoonsgood-quality balsamic vinegar
1cuproasted butternut squash(from the scooped out halves)
1tablespoonextra virgin olive oil
3-6tablespoonswater 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.