32 Easy Lentil Recipes to Make for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

·9 min read

Ah, lentils: It was love at first taste. With all that protein and fiber (not to mention folate, iron and vitamin B), we’d eat you for every meal if we could. What’s that, you say? We can? Yep, it turns out the nutritious little legume is versatile, too. Here are 32 easy lentil recipes that you can savor for every meal, whether you’re craving a cozy bowl of soup or a creamy vegan bake. (Oh, and if you’re using fresh lentils instead of canned, don’t forget to soak them first.)

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1. Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Curried Lentils, Carrots and Yogurt

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, vegetarian, gluten free

The yogurt sauce? *Chef's kiss.* Use dairy-free yogurt to make the bowl totally vegan.

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2. Lemon-Tahini Salad with Lentils, Beets and Carrots

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, high protein, special occasion-worthy

With a nutty dressing as good as this, we might never go back to kale Caesars. Skip the honey (or substitute maple syrup or agave) to make it vegan.

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3. Mujaddara with Spiced Lemon Yogurt

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

Thanks to jammy caramelized onions and fluffy jasmine rice, this traditional Middle Eastern dish will win a spot in your weekly rotation.

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4. Easy Lentil Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, low sugar

The trick to a lentil soup that doesn't look gray and gloppy? Using an heirloom variety that's bigger, brighter and tougher, so the legumes maintain their shape and color.

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5. Radicchio, Lentil and Apple Salad with Vegan Cashew Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 35 minutes (includes soaking time)

  • Why We Love It: vegan, gluten free, dairy free, special occasion-worthy

Cashew cream is the secret to this dairy-free gem's dreamy dressing. Use a tart-sweet type of apple for balance, like Honeycrisp.

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6. Creamy Vegan Lentil and Roasted Vegetable Bake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, vegan, dairy free, crowd-pleaser

And you thought cheese needed to be the star of any baked casserole. This dairy-free main is vegan comfort food at its finest, down to the crispy pine nut topping.

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7. Yotam Ottolenghi’s Roasted Butternut Squash with Lentils and Gorgonzola

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

You could make the dish ahead and serve it at room temperature...but if do so while the lentils are still a little warm, the cheese will melt a bit on top.

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8. Immune-Boosting Turmeric Golden Milk Daal

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, vegan, special occasion-worthy

Bring on the anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting spices (ginger! turmeric! cinnamon!). Add the garlic after the daal is cooked to retain its sharpness.

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9. Fall Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Salad with Pine Nut Cream

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: gluten free, vegan, special occasion-worthy

This Insta-worthy delicata squash side has Thanksgiving dinner written all over it.

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10. Vegan Lentil-Mushroom Burgers

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, kid-friendly, dairy free

Meaty mushrooms, Le Puy lentils, fresh herbs and breadcrumbs come together to create the juiciest, most tender veggie burger you've ever tasted.

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11. Easy One-Pot Lentil Kielbasa Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, one pot, crowd-pleaser, dairy free

This tasty Polish sausage infuses this simple stew with a ton of smokiness and spice. (P.S.: Make the recipe a day ahead of serving so its flavor has even more time to deepen.)

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12. Indian-Inspired Kitchari Bowls

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegan, dairy free, gluten free, low sugar

Also known as khichdi, the Indian stew has been a popular Ayurvedic dish for centuries. This simplified version starts with red lentils, a generous dose of ginger and your choice of chopped vegetables.

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13. Easy Lentil Meatballs

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegan, gluten free, dairy free

Say hello to the most versatile, effortless, impressive dinner…that also happens to be completely plant-based. Serve the meatballs over carrot noodles with marinara sauce.

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14. Coconut Quinoa and Lentil Curry with Lime Mango

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, one pot

A warm hug in a bowl. This mix of creamy grains, tender greens and fresh herbs can easily be made vegan by swapping soy sauce in for fish sauce.

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15. Detox Lentil Crockpot Soup

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, vegan, dairy free, crowd-pleaser

Make this once and lunch for the week is covered. Butternut squash makes the texture extra creamy and luxurious.

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16. Crispy Black Lentils with Asparagus, Jamon Serrano and Crème Fraîche Mustard Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

This simple, elegant dish from PureWow Coterie member Aida Mollenkamp works for any course. (But we think it works particularly well as an Easter appetizer.)

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17. Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, crowd-pleaser, Mediterranean diet-friendly

Use green French lentils instead of black beluga lentils if you’re très fancy.

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18. Tofu-Red Lentil Shakshuka

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegan, high protein, crowd-pleaser

No eggs, no problem. Courtesy of Coterie member Gena Hamshaw, this hearty remix works for both brunch and dinner.

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19. Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes,

  • Why We Love It: vegan, gluten free, kid-friendly

Coterie member Maria Lichty proves that you don’t need meat to make a good sandwich. (The magic is all in the sweet-and-savory sauce anyway.)

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20. Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, high fiber

Crispy, chewy, spicy and creamy all in one bite—our favorite cruciferous veggie does it again.

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21. Sunshine Lentil Bowls with Garlic Olive Oil Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, high protein, vegetarian

Brunch, lunch or dinner, we want this roasted-potato-and-goat-cheese-topped soft scramble for every meal.

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22. Curry-Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Kale Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegan, dairy free, gluten free, high protein, high fiber

Warm salads topped with cooked vegetables sure beat limp lettuce when the weather's cold. Don't even get us started on the zingy tahini-lemon dressing.

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23. Millet and Black Lentil-Stuffed Delicata Squash

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love it: crowd-pleaser, dairy free, vegan

Complete with a cheese-like gravy (thanks, nutritional yeast). Make the gravy gluten free by using chickpea flour instead of all-purpose.

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24. Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegan, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

Each bowl boasts 9 satiating grams of fiber, so it's bound to keep you full 'til dinnertime (or um, dessert).

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25. Golden Sun-Dried Tomato Red Lentil Pasta

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, vegan, gluten free

The vibrant, nuanced tomato sauce will keep the kids from noticing that they aren't eating regular pasta.

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26. Middle Eastern-Inspired Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

These elegant rolls are filled to the brim with lentils, brown rice, veggies and currants before being baked until tender.

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27. Instant Pot Curried Lentil Soup

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes

  • Why We Love It: gluten free, vegan, dairy free, Instant Pot recipe

The handy pressure cooker can cook dry lentils in no time. All this soup is missing is a flourish of chopped cilantro and a side of naan.

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28. Lentil Sweet Potato Loaf

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegan, crowd-pleaser, dairy free, gluten free

Because vegans should be able to indulge in this nostalgic classic, too. Lentils, grated sweet potatoes and rolled oats make a fine substitute for ground beef.

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29. Beluga Lentil and Black Bean Chili with Purple Cabbage

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 50 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, high fiber, vegan, gluten free

You'll never guess the secret ingredient that's added for extra earthy intensity. (OK, we'll spill: It's espresso dark chocolate.)

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30. Salsa Verde Lentil Tacos with Mango-Pomegranate Pico

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, high fiber, kid-friendly

None of your Taco Tuesday guests will see this one coming. Save some time and effort by using store-bought salsa verde or green enchilada sauce instead of making your own.

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31. Coconut-Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Rice

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegan, crowd-pleaser, dairy free

Pouring the soup atop a bed of basmati rice makes the dish a million times more satisfying. (But it'll be even more so with a side of naan.)

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32. Tahini-Mustard Sweet Potato, Lentil and Arugula Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: vegan, gluten free, special occasion-worthy

Nutty, zingy dressing + sweet spuds + peppery arugula + juicy tomatoes = an impeccably balanced salad that you'll want to make again and again.

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