30 Lentil Recipes That Go Beyond Soup

Try These Fantastic Family Meals

Lentil Sloppy Joes

The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Lentils are not only an inexpensive pantry staple, they're also an excellent source of plant protein and the starting point for lots of fantastic family meals. Start with a bag of lentils, add a few common ingredients, and you're well on your way to a delicious lunch or dinner. Explore our favorite ways to use this healthy legume with our collection of the best lentil recipes. You'll find (yes) a few soups, but also grain bowls, vegan dinner loafs, bright salads, a surprising pizza crust, and meaty mains inspired by global cuisine.

  • 01 of 30

    Turkey and Lentil Soup

    Turkey and Lentil Soup

    The Spruce

    If you have leftover holiday turkey in the fridge, use it to make this delicious, satisfying soup that includes tender green lentils, savory mushrooms, and tangy tomatoes. Cooked chicken (or a rotisserie bird) would also work well.

  • 02 of 30

    Cauliflower and Lentil Pizza Crust

    Cauliflower and Lentil Pizza Crust

    The Spruce / Jennifer Meier

    Please picky eaters while sneaking extra nutrition into their diets with this genius recipe for cauliflower and lentil pizza dough. It's so bread-like and crusty with such great savory flavor, the gluten-free crust may become your family's new favorite on pizza night.

  • 03 of 30

    Vegan and Gluten-Free Lentil Loaf

    Vegan and Gluten-Free Lentil Loaf

    The Spruce

    Are you missing meatloaf on your vegan diet or wanting to cook more meatless mains? You may be surprised by how easy (and economical) it is to create a flavorful mock meatloaf. This mouthwatering version gets great texture from brown lentils and rice with ketchup or BBQ sauce adding lots of flavor.

  • 04 of 30

    Spicy Vegan Lentil Dahl

    Spicy Vegan Lentil Dahl

    The Spruce

    Spicy vegan lentil stew, or dahl, is a popular South Indian comfort food. This easy version with red lentils comes together in less than an hour, with sesame oil used in place of the usual clarified butter, so it's suitable for vegan diets.

    Continue to 5 of 30 below.
  • 05 of 30

    Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie

    Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie

    OksanaKiian / Getty Images

    Serve this tasty vegetarian and vegan shepherd's pie for holiday dinners or Sundays with the family. You'll use mashed lentils instead of ground meat to create the oven-based comfort food classic, with a topping of creamy mashed potatoes.

  • 06 of 30

    Lentil Pâté

    Lentil Pâté

     Zoryana Ivchenko/Moment Open/Getty Images

    Delight vegan and vegetarian party guests with this smooth and delicious appetizer spread made with lentils. Lentil pâté is quick and easy to prepare in the food processor and makes a tasty topping for crostini without the animal fat and calories of traditional pâté.

  • 07 of 30

    Sopa de Lentejas

    Spanish Lentil Soup (Sopa de Lentejas)

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Meat-filled lentil soup is popular fare in Spain where it typically is eaten at lunch. This classic, filling version has plenty of flavor and healthy nutrients with dried lentils, diced carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic, pork loin, and spicy chorizo sausage.

  • 08 of 30

    Lemony Lentil Salad

    Lemony Lentil Salad

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Light, bright, and flavorful lentil salad makes an elegant first course or an easy accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish. It's also versatile for tweaking with any veggies you have on hand, some crumbled feta cheese, or even chopped hard-boiled eggs. Use green or brown lentils, cooking them just until "al dente."

    Continue to 9 of 30 below.
  • 09 of 30

    Lentil Quinoa Bowl With Kale

    Lentil Quinoa Bowl With Kale

    The Spruce Eats / Marian Blazes

    Give your healthy eating plan a boost with this protein-rich grain bowl featuring green lentils, red quinoa, and kale. Cooking the grains in a smoky miso broth with tomatoes and spices adds a satisfying depth of flavor. Top bowls with a runny fried egg for a restaurant-style presentation.

  • 10 of 30

    Medu Vada

    South Indian Lentil Fritters (Medu Vada)

    Srivatsaa / Getty Images

    Shaped like doughnuts, and packed with bold Indian flavors, these crispy lentil fritters are a popular breakfast food in India. Enjoy them as a snack at any time of day with a side of chutney for dipping. Allow time for soaking the black lentils overnight before you prepare this dish.

  • 11 of 30

    Slow Cooker Lentils With Cheddar Cheese

    Slow Cooker Lentils With Cheddar Cheese

    Geri Lavrov / Getty Images

    A warming stew of slow-cooked lentils and vegetables topped with melting cheddar cheese is a great way to take the edge off a cold day. Simply load ingredients into the crock pot, leave to cook for a few hours, and sprinkle with cheese when ready to serve.

  • 12 of 30

    Kheema Ki Khichdi

    Indian Lentil and Ground Meat Stew (Kheema Ki Khichdi)

    Devika / Flickr

    Recreate one of India's most beloved comfort foods with this simple recipe for kheema ki khichdi. It's an aromatic, highly-spiced, and satisfying main dish stew including ground meat, red lentils, tomatoes, vegetables, and basmati rice.

    Continue to 13 of 30 below.
  • 13 of 30

    Lentil Sloppy Joes

    Lentil Sloppy Joes

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Lentil sloppy joes are the comfort food of your dreams, especially if you've been wanting to eat meatless. They are packed with all the tangy, sweet, saucy flavors of your childhood favorite sloppy joe sandwiches, but skip the beef entirely, using lentils for their hearty texture instead.

  • 14 of 30

    Classic Lentil Soup With Ham

    Classic Lentil Soup With Ham

    The Spruce / Nita West

    Carnivores will love this hearty, slow-simmered lentil soup with chunks of tender cooked ham. Serve it for a warming lunch with cornbread, or pair it with a submarine sandwich for a satisfying dinner. Leftovers freeze well for reheating anytime you crave a bowlful.

  • 15 of 30

    Daal Gosht

    Lamb with Lentils (Daal Gosht)

    Magrig / Getty Images

    Lamb with lentils, or daal gosht, is a popular dish from Pakistani and North Indian cuisines. Spicy, meaty, and flavorful, with tender chunks of lamb, onion, and warming dried spices, it's a wonderful way to transform ordinary lentils into a crowd-pleasing one-dish meal.

  • 16 of 30

    Herbed Lentils With Italian Sausage

    Herbed Lentils with Italian Sausage

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    When the weather is cold or rainy, warm up with a hearty, rib-sticking sausage and lentil stew. You need only a few inexpensive ingredients that you probably have already in your pantry and fridge, to create a comforting meal in one bowl.

    Continue to 17 of 30 below.
  • 17 of 30

    Masoor Dal

    Orange or Red Lentils With Tomato (Masoor Dal)

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

    Enjoy this easy weeknight version of a classic Bengali meal whenever you're craving comfort. This light variation on masoor dal is a popular summer meal in India but can be enjoyed as a soup any time of year. Serve with hot buttered toast for dipping.

  • 18 of 30

    Thai Lentil Curry

    Thai Lentil Curry

    The Spruce Eats / Darlene Schmidt

    Use green or yellow lentils for this delicious, warming vegetarian entree inspired by the flavors of Thai cuisine. The lentils cook with fresh garden vegetables into a rich and creamy Thai curry with creamy coconut milk, vegetable stock, and fragrant herbs and spices.

  • 19 of 30

    Vegan and Gluten-Free Lentil Meatballs

    Vegan and Gluten-Free Lentil Meatballs

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    If you're craving spaghetti and meatballs, but avoiding meat and wheat, you'll love these yummy lentil "meatballs" that taste just like the real thing. They are full of healthy plant-based nutrients and taste great atop a steaming hot bowl of gluten-free pasta and tomato sauce.

  • 20 of 30

    Vegan Red Lentil Indian Sambar

    Vegan Red Lentil Indian Sambar

    Narender Sanwariya / Getty Images

    Sambar is a hot and spicy South Indian stew that makes a well-balanced vegan meal. This hearty version includes eggplant, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, cilantro, and fiery green chilies, with lime juice added at the end for freshness.

    Continue to 21 of 30 below.
  • 21 of 30

    Instant Pot Lentil Soup

    Instant Pot Lentil Soup

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    In just 30 minutes you can use the Instant Pot to cook a gourmet version of classic, comforting lentil soup. It calls for elegant French green lentils and French Espelette pepper for seasoning. (If the latter is hard to find, you can use smoked paprika for a similar taste).

  • 22 of 30

    Vegetarian Red Lentil Curry

    Vegetarian Red Lentil Curry

    Richard Jung / Getty Images

    With protein-packed red lentils, carrots, potatoes, onion, garlic, and plenty of Indian spices, this vegetarian dish is a complete meal in itself. Make it even more satisfying by adding a scoop of cooked basmati rice to the bottom of bowls before you ladle piping-hot curry on top.

  • 23 of 30

    Burmese Khow Suey

    Burmese Khow Suey

    Gaurav Nemade / Flickr

    Burmese khow suey is a delicious concoction of spicy chicken and curried noodles cooked in a savory broth of coconut milk and mashed, cooked lentils. It's served with an array of delicious toppings and finished with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice to add its signature brightness.

  • 24 of 30

    Vegetarian Lentil Soup

    Vegetarian Lentil Soup

    The Spruce

    Lentil soup made with vegetable broth is cheap, healthy, and high in protein, making it an essential recipe for vegetarian home cooks. This tasty version uses plenty of seasonings to perk up the soup, including thyme, bay leaves, and a bit of lemon juice for brightness.

    Continue to 25 of 30 below.
  • 25 of 30

    Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Kale

    Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Kale

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

    Cook up a satisfying, nutrient-rich, meat-free meal with this tasty recipe for lentils with sweet potatoes and kale. While red lentils are pictured here, you can use any lentils from your pantry, varying the cooking time as needed. No kale in the fridge? Use thawed frozen chopped spinach instead.

  • 26 of 30

    Mixed Lentil Curry (Shahi Daal)

    Mixed Lentil Curry (Shahi Daal)

    Viktorné Lupaneszku / Getty Images

    Five different kinds of lentils bring delicious flavor to this warming tomato-based curry. While the ingredient list is lengthy and a few steps are needed to complete the recipe, you'll be rewarded with a thick, traditional-tasting soup that sings with flavor.

  • 27 of 30

    Moroccan Chicken Rfissa in Pastry

    Moroccan Chicken Rfissa in Pastry

    Lucyin / Wikimedia Commons

    Take a trip to Morocco without leaving home with this mouth-watering chicken rfissa that includes a whole poached chicken, brown or green lentils, onion, and dried spices. Serve it the traditional way, atop a bed of shredded trid pastry (or day-old bread), or ladle it over hot cooked rice.

  • 28 of 30

    Vegan Crock Pot Curried Rice and Lentils

    Vegan Crock Pot Curried Rice and Lentils

    lleerogers / Getty Images

    The slow cooker makes it a cinch to prepare perfectly-cooked curried rice and lentils. You just need bouillon cubes and pantry spices to flavor this Indian-inspired dish which cooks hands-free in a few hours while you do other things. Serve it as a tasty side dish for roasted chicken or tofurkey at holiday time.

    Continue to 29 of 30 below.
  • 29 of 30

    Slow Cooker Lentil Soup With Smoked Sausage and Tomatoes

    Slow Cooker Lentil Soup With Smoked Sausage and Tomatoes

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

    Smoked sausage adds amazing depth of flavor to this filling slow cooker lentil soup. Serve it with crusty bread for a delicious lunch or a lighter dinner in one bowl. Recipe makes a big batch of soup and freezes well for later use.

  • 30 of 30

    Vegan Coconut Curried Lentils

    Vegan Coconut Curried Lentils

    The Spruce Eats / Jolinda Hackett

    Inspired by traditional Indian vegetarian curried lentils (or dahl), this gluten-free and vegan recipe uses coconut milk for a deeply flavorful curry you can serve over couscous or steamed basmati rice. If you crave extra texture, feel free to add some cooked, cubed sweet potato or chopped fresh bell pepper.