Lentils may not be a particularly trendy or colorful ingredient, but there’s a lot to love about cooking with the humble legume—not least, the plethora of amazing lentil recipes there are to be discovered.
Dried lentils are a home cook’s best friend: easy to cook with, budget-friendly, shelf-stable, and versatile. Plus, there are different types of lentils to experiment with, each with their own characteristic taste and texture. Some varieties (like black lentils) hold their firmness pretty well, while other types (like red lentils) get splendidly soft when you cook them.
And hello, did we mention how ridiculously nutritious and filling lentils are?! They bring a satisfying combination of protein, carbs, and fiber to any dish. Lentils are also loaded with vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, B vitamins, and potassium.
As for what you can make with them? While everyone loves a simple lentil soup or salad, you’ll see that these legumes can do so much more. Lentils can make a hearty base for a wide variety of stews and curries, as well as fillings for everything from savory pastries or stuffed bell peppers. They can also make a wonderful substitute for ground beef or turkey—hence the many clever lentil-based riffs on meatballs, shepherd’s pies, burgers, beef Wellingtons, quesadillas, and meatloaves you’ll find below.
So put that bag of lovely little lentils sitting in your pantry to work with one of these delicious lentil recipes. No matter what types of lentils you’re working with or what you’re in the mood to eat, there’s a tasty idea here that will help you make use of them.