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Top 5 Ways to Use Lentils

Sharon Palmer

Lentils are one of my favorite superstar ingredients, found in everything from crackers to desserts these days. Indeed, this “poor man’s meat” is right on trend, though lentils have been a part of traditional diets dating back at least 8,500 years. Can you imagine Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine without the savory touch of the powerful lentil? Beyond good taste, lentils (legumes or pulses, along with beans and peas) are packed with protein and nutrients—one cup cooked lentils packs 63% DV fiber, 90% DV folate, and 36% DV of protein. No wonder eating legumes, such as lentils, can reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Plus these little gems come in so many varieties, including red, orange, yellow, black, brown, and green. So, get cooking with lentils! Try my 5 Top Ways to Use Lentils today.

Lentil Walnut Bolognese

Top 5 Ways to Use Lentils

Nourish Lentil Bowl

1. Simmer Them in Minutes. Did you now that, unlike other beans and peas, lentils require no soaking? Just toss them into a pot with water or broth (1 cup dried lentils + 3 cups liquid) and cook them up in 15-20 minutes. Add some garlic, onions, and your favorite spices to turn this humble meal into a fabulous main dish. In fact, you can cook up a pot of lentils at the beginning of the week to enjoy this ingredient in your favorite meals all week long.

2. Breakfast Like a King. When I was a kid, I used to enjoy a savory bowl of cooked lentils for breakfast as the ultimate satisfying meal. Rich in protein and fiber, it lasted me all morning long! Just reheat a bowl of cooked lentils, top with a swirl of EVOO if desired, and garnish with a sprinkle of oregano. Sop it up with crispy whole grain toast. Yum!

Curried Yellow Lentil Stew

3. Create a Better Soup. The next time you make a pot of soup, toss in a handful (or two) of dried lentils to add protein, texture, and pizzazz. Check out one of my favorite recipes for lentil soup here.

Spicy Lentil Tacos

4. Top it with Lentils. Cooked lentils are the perfect protein-packed topper for your next meal, including a power bowl, salad, tacos, nachos, and quesadillas.

Herbed Lentil Patties with Mushroom Sauce

5. Get Creative! Why not try lentils in unexpected ways? Stir them into granola recipes (check out my recipe in Plant-Powered for Life), bars, cookies, crackers, and smoothies.

Smoky Lentil Chili

For more of my favorite lentil recipes, check out the following:

Curried Lentil Quinoa Soup
Mini Curried Lentil Wellingtons
Sage Lentils with Squash and Mushrooms

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Ways to Use Lentils

  1. Is there a difference in taste between the different colored lentils? Is there a variety that is best for tossing into stew or chili?

  2. I find a slight difference in taste and texture in different lentil varieties, but the main reason I choose varieties is based on the color of the dish. I prefer the dark green and brown one’s for stews, tacos, and chili dishes. I like the red or yellow ones when I want that color in a soup or curry dish. The black beluga lentils are just stunning as a sidedish, when you really want that black color to pop on your plate.

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