15 Best Lentil Recipes

Here are all the best lentil recipes to try! Low in calories, high in nutrition, and budget friendly, lentils are a plant protein that’s pretty darn perfect.

Best lentil recipes

Low in calories and high in nutrition, lentils are a plant protein that’s pretty darn perfect. And they’re budget friendly too! Luckily lentils also have that most important final element: they’re delicious. If you prepare them correctly, lentils can be a great way to make filling and healthy meals as part of a plant based diet. So what are you waiting for? Here are our 15 best lentil recipes, from soups to nachos. (Yes, lentil nachos!)

And now…our favorite lentil recipes!

Types of lentils

Also, here’s a quick primer on lentil types Because all lentils are not created equal! Here are a few of the most popular types of lentils:

  • Brown & green lentils: Brown lentils and green lentils are the most “standard” varieties when you think of lentils. They cook quickly (in 20 to 30 minutes), and tend to fall apart when cooked instead of hold their shape. This makes them ideal for soups and curries.
  • Red lentils: Red lentils are bright orange in color and most commonly found in Indian curry dishes like daal. They take about 20 minutes to cook and break down easily into a “mush”. When you’re looking for a cozy pile of mushy soup or curry, think red lentils (they break down even faster than brown and green).
  • French lentils (also called Puy lentils): French lentils hold their shape when cooked, making them very different from brown, green and red lentils. They’re small and greenish-gray. Instead of using them in soups, these lentils are great for salads or stuffing baked sweet potatoes.
  • Black lentils (Beluga lentils): Black lentils are the most flavorful around. They’re very small and dark, like a combo of French lentils and brown lentils. That means they’ll hold their shape when cooked which works for salads, but if you cook longer they’ll also fall apart like in curries.

How to cook lentils?

There are lots of different methods for cooking lentils, depending on how you’d like to use them. Head to How to Cook Lentils for all about how to do it and that elusive Lentil to Water Ratio.

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Quick Lentil Curry (& More Lentil Recipes!)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (66 votes, average: 4.20 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This coconut lentil curry is a 30 minute easy dinner idea that’s healthy and full of flavor! It’s flavored with coconut milk and curry paste.


  • 2 cups uncooked white or brown basmati rice, to serve (or Instant Pot basmati rice)
  • 2 cups brown or green lentils
  • 8 cups chopped leafy greens: spinach, kale, or chard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Make the rice according to How to Cook Basmati Rice (or Instant Pot Rice).
  2. Place the lentils in a saucepan with 6 cups warm water. Bring to a low boil, then boil for about 20 minutes until tender (taste to assess doneness). Drain, then add a few pinches of salt.
  3. Meanwhile, wash the greens, remove the stems and chop the leaves. (If using prewashed baby spinach, you can skip this step.) In your largest skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the greens and sauté for several minutes until tender and bright green.
  4. When the lentils are done, add them to the skillet with the greens. Over medium high heat, stir in the coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, tomato paste, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook for a few minutes until heated through and the sauce is thickened.
  5. Taste and add a few pinches of salt if desired. Serve with rice.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian inspired

Keywords: Lentil Recipes

Last updated: November 2020

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Cassandra Costley
    March 23, 2020 at 9:59 am

    These recipes were great! I will eventually try them all. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 23, 2020 at 8:00 pm

      You’re welcome!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    Love this! Thank you for the hard work put in. Much appreciated.

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