35 Mouth Watering Lentil Recipes

By Rebecca Leib on 6 November 2013 (Updated 14 February 2014) 10 comments

Lentils were one of the first crops domesticated by our Neolithic ancestors, and for over 10,000 years these flavorful legumes have carved out a delicious little place in the human diet. Enjoy these frugal, protein-dense little guys in one of these 35 tasty and cheap lentil recipes. (See also: Beyond Beef: Tasty and Frugal Protein)

1. Lentil Burgers

This great lentil burger recipe is a delicious hamburger substitute that's low-calorie, high in fiber, and takes just 25 minutes to prepare.

2. Lentil and Egg Omelet

Fold in some cooked lentils with your eggs (and hey, if you've got it, throw in some spinach) for a protein-punch to get your morning started.

3. Lentil & Split Pea Spread

This Indian lentil and split pea spread is flavorful and nutritious. It's a hit with pita crisps, flat bread, cucumber rounds, and even toasted wheat crackers. In addition, you don't have to go shopping for many of the ingredients — the list is composed mainly of items most people have in their pantries. (See also: How to Stock a Natural Food Pantry for Less)

4. Lentil and Quinoa Chili

Make this Quinoa and Lentil Chili recipe on a cold day.

5. Tacos

Everybody makes tacos, so it's easy to incorporate some lentils into the meat of a vegan, vegetarian, or meaty taco recipe. Just mix them in with your main protein, and you'll give your tacos a frugal boost of protein and flavor.

6. Indian Mango Dal

So many different types of dal (or dhal), and so little time! Dal is a basic Indian dish containing lentils that are stewed and flavored with spices. This Indian Mango Dal recipe is sweet and savory, incorporating delicious mangoes into the mix. It's also easy for first-time dal makers!

7. Risotto

Did you know that Lentil combined with rice form a complete protein? Try this popular French lentil and Swiss chard risotto from Martha Stewart.

8. Persian Lentil Salad

This light, crunchy lentil salad uses reasonably priced veggies and lentils to create refreshing, complex flavors. Make as a side dish for dinner or for a nutritious vegetarian lunch!

9. Asian Cabbage Rolls

It's always fun to find a good cabbage recipe (cabbage, like lentils, is often misunderstood and ill-prepared), but this great Asian Cabbage Roll recipe is both super-cheap to make and extra flavorful, combining mushrooms, ginger, and sesame seeds to make an amazing vegan meal. (See also: Delicious Ways to Prepare Cabbage)

10. Lentil Sprouts

Grab some lentil sprouts and put them on top of tuna, in a salad, or as a savory dish garnish. The sprouts are also high in nutritional value and have a spicy, fun flavor.

11. Lentil Pate

Party guests and snackers alike will be impressed with this zesty lentil pate recipe. Paired with toasted bread, this simple, healthy pate recipe will appeal to your vegetarians and meat-eating pals.

12. Tomato and Lentil Soup

This hearty soup recipe uses what spices you probably already have around the house, ketchup, tomatoes, and lentils that's tasty and cheap.

13. Sloppy Joes

Even meat lovers will love this Lentil Sloppy Joes recipe. You'll get that great hearty texture and sweet flavor, with less fat.

14. Vegetarian Moussaka

Want to get ambitious with your lentils? Try this veggie Moussaka recipe that is delicious and inexpensive. Skip the cheese to make your Moussaka easier on your wallet (and with fewer calories).

15. Lentil Stew

You can make this French lentil and sweet potato stew in a slow cooker for some delicious comfort food. (See also: Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Vegetarians)

16. Summer Salad

A good summer salad should be light and flavorful, but also leave you satisfied. Put lentils in a summer salad recipe instead of noodles to skip the carbs that tend to skew salad into unhealthy territory.

17. Madras Lentil Curry

Curry's a classic, and you can make a cheap, flavorful version with some lentils and a blend of the right spices. Check out this madras curry recipe (madras refers to the particular blend of spices used in the dish), and enjoy lentils that pack a tasty punch.

18. Brown Rice and Lentil Casserole

This is a very simple recipe for a nice, wintry dish. You can make this popular lentil casserole recipe vegan or non, depending on what broth and cheese you decide to use. Freeze it, and you'll have delicious casserole for many meals to come.

19. Hummus

This recipe for a red lentil hummus is delicious and easier to prepare than your regular garbanzo bean-variety hummus. Try it out for some tasty hummus 2.0.

20. Potato-Lentil Pancakes

This authentic Russian Potato-Lentil pancake recipe has lots of rich flavors. A savory pancake can be a great light lunch or a fun hors d'oeuvre with some creme fraiche, and the ingredients (potatoes, lentils, flour) are some of the most cost-effective around. (See also: Frugal Items for Your Organic Vegan Grocery List)

21. Cracked Wheat and Lentils

This great cracked wheat and lentils recipe is simple and cheap, though it takes time to develop the flavors of this dish.

22. Menestra

This saucy bean dish is originally from the Ecuadorian province of Manabi, but its popularity has made it one of South America's most eaten meals. Make your own Menestra with simple ingredients like cilantro, garlic, green peppers, and of course, the lentil.

23. Vegetarian Lentil Loaf

Stretch your budget and your culinary imagination with this vegetarian lentil loaf recipe! Simple staples like lentils and rice make up the bulk of the dish, garnished with classic favorites like ketchup or barbecue sauce and Italian seasoning. It's an American favorite, reinvented.

24. Asian Lentil and Peanut Salad

Peanut sauces and salads are pretty popular and delicious, but the incorporation of lentils into this peanut salad creates a welcome depth of flavor with the use of our friend the lentil.

25. Bobotie

Bobotie is a South African dish, which has been around since around the 17th Century. Use lentils instead of the traditional mutton or pork in this Bobotie recipe, and shave some cash (but not flavor) off the dish's preparation.

26. Very Green Lentil Soup

Like your soups green and hearty? Try this Very Green Lentil Soup, which uses lots of delicious veggies, potatoes, and lentils for a soup that will satisfy. Top it off with some goat cheese for extra flavor!

27. Lentil Dumplings

Wild rice, lentil dumplings, and tomato sauce? You're definitely going to wow everyone with this very vegan, very delicious play on the traditional dumpling. Check out this great lentil dumpling recipe on TheDailyGreen, and enjoy being the hit of your dinner party.

28. Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup

Craving some meat with your lentils? A couple slices of sausage with lentils make an excellent pairing. Try this Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup recipe, which uses spicy Italian sausage along with veggie ingredients for a healthy non-vegetarian lentil option!

29. Coconut Green Curry Lentils

This tasty and cost-effective lentil curry will give you a little taste of Thailand, wherever you are. The most expensive things you'll need are coconut milk and yogurt (which is optional), so taking your taste buds to Thailand won't break the bank, either.

30 Lentil Cookies

Craving sweets? This offbeat but awesome lentil cookie recipe will take your cookie to a whole new delicious level. (See also: Breakfast Cookies With Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans)

31. Lentil Quiche

Make a tasty, protein-filled lentil quiche, and you'll have breakfasts and lunches for the week. This Lentil Quiche recipe uses simple ingredients with optional added cheese. Yum!

32. Pasta and Lentils

Give your pasta a boost by tossing in some lentils! Prepare your usual pasta dishes, but this time put a handful of cooked lentils into the mix. Popping lentils into a dish you love to make won't take away any flavor, but add a lot of fiber and protein. It's pasta your way, with a healthy twist.

33. Harira

A traditional Moroccan soup, Harira can be made with lamb or as a vegetarian dish. Allrecipes has a simple Harira recipe that you can get to work on! Try making it with lentils and garbanzo beans together, and your Harira will be a hit, promise!

34. Goat Cheese, Lentil, and Brown Rice Rolls

With simple ingredients like marinara sauce, goat cheese, rice, and lentils, Giada De Laurentiis' Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls are unique, fun to make, and very healthy!

35. Lentil Tuna Salad

For those who love tuna, this Lentil Tuna Salad takes the traditional dish to a whole new level! Use canned tuna and stuff around your house to elevate a tuna salad and give it a boost of protein. If you're really going lentil-crazy... top it with lentil sprouts!

What's your favorite lentil recipe?

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Meg Favreau's picture

I've been having a bit of a lentil revival recently. One of my favorite lunch recipes right now is this: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/eggplant-lentil-salad

I usually add some chopped cucumbers and green pepper as well to up the vegetable content.

Guest's picture
Guest

try caprese lentil salad, just take tomatoes, mozz chees, basil, cooked lentils, some olive oile and balsamic, chill a bit, yummy

Guest's picture
ABones

I've loved just about every vegan dish I've ever tried, but I guess I just. Do. Not. Like. Lentils.

I hate that I hate them, but I've yet to find a recipe that works for me. They taste like...I dunno, wet brown paper grocery bag...to me, and adding cumin or whatever just makes them taste like wet grocery bag with cumin.

I'm game to give them another go (tacos, perhaps...I still have an unshakable faith that there is not a single food in existence that cannot be turned into a taco), but past results loom large.

Guest's picture
Saia

I literally laughed aloud when I read your response! Brown paper grocery bag... Chuckle ;)

Guest's picture
Omnivore

I'm a carnivore who loves lentil soups. The idea for lentil sloppy joes. Rad.

Donna Freedman's picture

I'm on a lentil kick myself, because they're so darned EASY. Two favorites:
--Add diced onion, celery and carrots to cold cooked lentils. Dress with sweet pickle vinegar and olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Optional add-ins: diced hard-cooked egg, diced roasted beets that you've marinated in sweet pickle vinegar. (Note: Don't ever throw away the brine when you've finished a jar of pickles!)
--Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add diced cooked ham and cook until it's getting a little brown and crispy. Add cold cooked lentils that you've seasoned any way you like. Stir well, adding a little more oil if needed. Lower heat, crack an egg on top and cover the pan until the egg poaches. You can also do this without the ham if you don't have any -- still good!

Guest's picture

I'm currently on a lentil binge - might just try some of the listed recipes! By the way, your russian lentil pancake recipe link points to the red lentil hummus recipe instead...

Amy Lu's picture
Amy Lu

Thanks for catching the error, Franklin! We've updated the link. =)

Guest's picture
Harvey

Another problem with your links. The #28 Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup link points to the Lentil and Quinoa Chili page. Time for a new webmaster maybe?

Amy Lu's picture
Amy Lu

Thanks for pointing it out, Harvey! The link now goes to an appropriate recipe.