30 Delicious Lentil Recipes That Go Beyond Soup

Make Use of the Versatile Pantry Staple

Gluten-Free Vegan Lentil Loaf

The Spruce

How do we love lentils? Let us count the ways! This humble pantry staple is inexpensive, quicker to cook than dried beans, and full of healthy fiber and protein, making lentils great for those on a budget, vegetarians, vegans, and anyone looking for a filling, low-calorie meal. They also soak up flavor like crazy, so they are super versatile for using in all types of savory recipes. From vegetarian shepherd's pie to aromatic curries and, of course, warming winter soups, here are our favorite ways to cook with lentils.

  • 01 of 30

    Bengali Orange or Red Lentils With Tomato (Masoor Dal)

    Bengali Orange or Red Lentils With Tomato (Masoor Dal)

    The Spruce/Anastasiia Tretiak

    Orange or red split lentils cook quickly, making them ideal for weeknight meals. Enjoy this saucy dish of lentils and tomatoes flavored with green chilies, turmeric, and cumin as a light supper with naan bread or hot buttered wheat toast.

  • 02 of 30

    Lentil Pate

    Lentil Pate

    Zoryana Ivchenko/Moment Open/Getty Images

    Delight vegetarians at your next party with this stunning, smooth lentil pate that uses canned or cooked dried lentils. The appetizer spread is a snap to prepare in your food processor. Just spread it on crostini toasts or serve with crackers and you're all set.

  • 03 of 30

    Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie

    Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie

    OksanaKiian/Getty Images

    Vegan shepherd's pie makes a wonderfully comforting, meatless meal on cold winter nights. Your family will love digging their forks into this baked casserole of highly-seasoned, smashed lentils, with a fluffy, browned topping of mashed potatoes made extra-creamy with the addition of soy milk.

  • 04 of 30

    Classic Lentil Soup With Ham

    Classic Lentil Soup With Ham

    The Spruce/Nita West

    Classic, hearty, slow-simmered lentil soup makes a nutritious weekend lunch, or school lunch for kids packed into a thermos. The soup includes carrots, celery, and onions, with a meaty ham bone or ham hock for added flavor. Feel free to add extra diced ham for a more substantial dinner soup.

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  • 05 of 30

    Indian-Style Lamb With Lentils

    Indian Style Lamb with Lentils

    Magrig/Getty Images

    Enjoy a popular Indian restaurant dish at home with this flavorful, spicy, meaty, one-pot stew with chunks of boneless lamb, tender Indian lentils, chopped tomatoes, and flavorful herbs and spices. Multiply the recipe easily for larger family gatherings.

  • 06 of 30

    Gluten-Free Vegan Lentil Loaf

    Gluten-Free Vegan Lentil Loaf

    The Spruce

    Eating meatless, but missing meatloaf? This tasty vegan loaf with lentils and rice makes an excellent, protein-packed substitute. It has all the moist, tender texture you crave in a savory loaf, with plenty of flavor from Italian seasonings and ketchup or barbecue sauce.

  • 07 of 30

    Vegetarian Moroccan Lentils

    Vegetarian Moroccan Lentils

    The Spruce

    Lentils are a classic ingredient in Morocco, where they are typically cooked with tomatoes and fragrant spices. Serve these zesty, saucy stewed legumes for an inexpensive, filling vegetarian entree, stirring in a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar at the end of cooking, for added zing.

  • 08 of 30

    Lemon, Kale, and Lentil Soup

    Lemon, Kale, and Lentil Soup

    The Spruce

    Lemony lentil and potato soup makes an easy lunch, or a flavorful way to kick off game day parties. This recipe makes enough to serve a crowd, and freezes well, so you can stock leftovers for reheating any time you crave a warming bowl of soup.

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  • 09 of 30

    Burmese Khow Suey

    Burmese Khow Suey

    Gaurav Nemade/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    Burmese khow suey is a tasty, tangy, nutritious concoction of soft egg noodles, spicy chicken, mashed yellow lentils, hard-cooked eggs, creamy coconut milk, greens, and aromatic Indian spices. Serve it for company, or to soothe a winter cold. Top bowls with fresh bean sprouts, if you like, for added crunch.

  • 10 of 30

    Vegan Lentil Meatballs With Gluten-Free Flour

    Vegan Lentil Meatballs With Gluten-Free Flour

    Westend61/Getty Images

    Lentil meatballs offer the same satisfying mouth-feel as "real" meatballs, and are super yummy, but come with the added benefits of being entirely meat-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. Add them to spaghetti noodles with tomato sauce, or smother in a vegetarian gravy for a filling vegan dinner.

  • 11 of 30

    Vegetarian Crockpot Lentil Soup

    Vegetarian Crockpot Lentil Soup

    The Spruce

    Your crockpot is the key to this tasty vegan and vegetarian dinner soup that practically cooks itself. Add lentils to the slow cooker with prepared broth, cut-up vegetables, and simple seasonings, and leave to cook for hours. Top bowls with sour cream or yogurt, if you like, for added creaminess.

  • 12 of 30

    Thai Lentil Curry

    Thai Lentil Curry

    The Spruce / Darlene Schmidt

    Thai cuisine is renowned for its use of bold flavors, and this delectable vegetarian lentil curry is a great example. Create a gorgeous, seasoned broth with chicken or vegetable stock, dried spices, soy sauce, and coconut milk. Then add lentils and vegetables, and simmer until tender. Serve with jasmine or coconut rice.

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  • 13 of 30

    Cauliflower and Lentil Pizza Crust

    Cauliflower and Lentil Pizza Crust

    The Spruce / Jennifer Meier

    Add protein to your pizza pie, and cut out the carbs, with this healthy cauliflower and lentil pizza crust that makes a delicious, gluten-free base for your favorite toppings. Roll the dough thinly to make a single 10-inch pizza, with a nicely crispy, Neopolitan-style crust when baked.

  • 14 of 30

    French Lentil Soup

    French Lentil Soup

    nicolebranan/E+/Getty Images

    French lentil soup is a rustic bistro recipe that makes a warming vegetarian lunch. With very little effort, you can get it on the table in less than 45 minutes. Serve with buttered rolls or toast points.

  • 15 of 30

    Vegetarian Red Lentil Curry

    Vegetarian Red Lentil Curry

    Richard Jung/Getty Images

    When you come home from work hungry, make this quick, filling, 30-minute stove-top lentil curry that uses common pantry ingredients. Soften garlic and onion in a little oil, add dried curry spices, then add carrots, potatoes, lentils, and veggie broth, simmering until ingredients are tender and heated through.

  • 16 of 30

    Lemony Lentil Salad

    Lemony Lentil Salad

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Lemony lentil salad makes a tasty, healthy side dish for steamed fish and roast chicken. Whip it up quickly, by simmering brown or green lentils until tender and tossing in an easy lemon-garlic vinaigrette dressing, with sliced scallions for color. Crumbled feta cheese or toasted pine nuts would also make nice additions.

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  • 17 of 30

    Lentil Quinoa Bowl With Kale

    Lentil Quinoa Bowl With Kale

    The Spruce / Marian Blazes

    Stock up on superfoods, and win the weekend lunch game, with this scrumptious grain bowl. Simmer healthy lentils and quinoa in a smoky, spicy miso and tomato broth, adding plenty of fresh green kale at the end of cooking. Add a sunny-side-up egg on top, if you like, for even more protein.

  • 18 of 30

    Spanish Lentil Soup

    Spanish Lentil Soup

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    Lentil soup is a popular, filling lunch dish in Spain, where this classic recipe originates. Make it with dry lentils, carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic, pork loin, spicy chorizo sausage, and water, with cumin and salt for seasoning.

  • 19 of 30

    Chicken Dhansak Parsi

    Chicken Dhansak Parsi

    Aparna Balasubramaniam/Getty Images

    Chicken dhansak is a classic, creamy curry dish inspired by Persian and Indian cuisines. Tender chunks of boneless chicken mingle with tender lentils and traditional South Asian spices, creating a stunning meal you can serve with brown or basmati rice, with kachumbar salad on the side.

  • 20 of 30

    Sweet Potato Red Lentil Soup

    Sweet Potato Red Lentil Soup

    The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz

    Adding lentils to thick, hearty sweet potato soup is a fabulous way to boost its protein quotient while adding extra flavor. Plenty of fresh vegetables go into this good-for-you soup, which you puree before serving, for a silky-smooth consistency. Top bowls with croutons or a dollop of sour cream.

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  • 21 of 30

    Herbed Lentils With Italian Sausage

    Herbed Lentils with Italian Sausage

    Westend61/Getty Images

    Comfort food doesn't have to mean overloading on carbs and dairy. Cook up a tummy-warming stew you can feel good about serving to your family with this healthy, protein-rich recipe of Italian sausages and lentils, cooked together in a chicken-tomato broth with fresh or dried herbs.

  • 22 of 30

    Split Pea Lentil Soup

    Split Pea Lentil Soup

    boblin/Getty Images

    Nourishing split pea and lentil soup is easy to make, and hits the spot on chilly day, when you're craving a warm bowlful of goodness. Cook it on your stove-top, pureeing the soup in batches at the end, for a velvety texture. Feel free to toss in some cubed cooked ham, if you prefer a meatier soup.

  • 23 of 30

    Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Kale

    Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Kale

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Create a colorful side dish with this easy, 30-minute stove-top recipe that packs a powerful nutritional punch. Simmer sweet potatoes, thawed frozen kale, and lentils in chicken or vegetable broth with simple seasonings, until the ingredients absorb the broth, creating a thick, saucy melange.

  • 24 of 30

    Turkey and Lentil Soup

    Turkey and Lentil Soup

    The Spruce

    Got leftover turkey from the holidays? In less than an hour, you can transform it into a big pot of robust, delicious soup by cooking it with lentils, mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, canned tomatoes, low-sodium chicken broth, and a little bit of curry powder.

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  • 25 of 30

    Vegan Crock Pot Curried Rice and Lentils

    Vegan Crock Pot Curried Rice and Lentils

    lleerogers/Getty Images

    Use your crockpot to make this easy "dump dinner" recipe. Add rice and lentils to the appliance, with some chopped onion, vegetable broth, and simple spices. Leave to cook for several hours, until tender. For a complete vegetarian meal, add some thawed frozen veggies in with the other ingredients.

  • 26 of 30

    Savory Lentil Doughnuts in Yogurt (Dahi Vada)

    Savory Lentil Doughnuts in Yogurt (Dahi Vada)

    Visage/Getty Images

    Deep-fried lentil balls topped with yogurt and garnished with herbs and spices are a popular street food in India. Make them as a special accompaniment to Indian-style meat and vegetable dishes with this recipe that uses ingredients you can find at your local East Asian grocery, or online.

  • 27 of 30

    Moroccan Chicken Rfissa With Lentils and Fenugreek

    Moroccan Chicken Rfissa With Lentils and Fenugreek

    Lucyin/Wikimedia Commons

    Moroccan chicken rfissa is a mouth-watering dish of savory chicken pieces, onion, and lentils. The intoxicating spice blend includes ras el hanout, fenugreek seeds, and saffron, making this a special occasion-worthy entree. Traditionally, it is ladled over shredded trid pastry for serving, but you could sub in hot steamed rice for an easier preparation.

  • 28 of 30

    Vegan Red Lentil Indian Sambar

    Vegan Red Lentil Indian Sambar

    NarenderSanwariya/Getty Images

    Sambar is a popular South Indian lentil stew with vegetables. This colorful, mildly spicy version includes red lentils, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, eggplant, cilantro, canned diced tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilies, mustard seeds, and dried Indian spices.

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  • 29 of 30

    Red Lentil Soup With Smoked Paprika

    Red Lentil Soup With Smoked Paprika

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    This easy, 30-minute weeknight soup with split red lentils, carrots, onion, and celery is a tasty option when you're rushing to get dinner on the table. Cumin and smoked paprika are the clever seasonings used to add tons of flavor to the humble lentils.

  • 30 of 30

    Lentil and Black Bean Soup

    Lentil and Black Bean Soup

    Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

    Lentil and black bean soup is low in fat, high in fiber, and full of healthy protein. It's also very delicious, and entirely vegetarian if you choose to make it with vegetable broth. Serve it as a filling lunch, or a light weeknight supper with garlic bread on the side.