Lentil Recipes

Lentils are a plant based dream! So versatile, deeply nourishing, satiating, and packed with protein and fibre. I have over 25 of my best lentil recipes in this roundup. I’ve included everything from soups and stews, to salads, side dishes, hearty mains, and there’s even a porridge recipe in here!

A grid of 4 images shows some lentil recipe highlights: classic lentil soup, grilled cabbage steaks with lentils on top, a mushroom and lentil gravy pie, and a beet bolognese pasta with lentils.

Food fads come and go, but lentils remain. They range in texture from the silky split red lentils that melt into stews or the chewy and robust French lentils that hold up perfectly in a salad. When I decided to try the plant-based way of life, the first thing that I cooked for myself was a lentil soup! I will always hold a special place for them in my kitchen (and heart haha).

I have so many options for you in this roundup. Everything from a version of that first lentil soup that I made to salads, sides, so many mains, shepherd’s pie, lasagna, stuffed peppers, and even a porridge recipe!

To keep things organized, I’ve broken these recipes down by category. Just click on whichever category of lentil recipes you’re looking for below.

  1. Salads & Sides
  2. Soups & Stews
  3. Main Courses
4 images in a grid show different types of lentils in their dry/uncooked format

1. Salads & Sides

fall veg + lentil bowl with goji ginger tahini cream // @thefirstmess

Fall Veg and Lentil Bowl with Goji Tahini Cream. Black Beluga lentils form the base of this roasted vegetable bowl with a delicious and unique sauce. The goji berries take on a savoury and creamy note when blended up with tahini, herbs, and other seasoning.

Creamy Zucchini Noodles with Spring Onion Miso Sauce & Cheesy Sunflower Sprinkle - The First Mess

Creamy Zucchini Noodles with Spring Onion Sauce & Cheesy Sunflower Sprinkle. We use cooked white lentils (urad dal) to form the base of the sauce in this recipe! It’s creamy, so satiating, and delicious with all of the fresh flavours happening in this dish.

Roasted Potato Salad with French Lentils & Spring Vegetables - The First Mess

Roasted Potato Salad with French Lentils and Spring Vegetables. Perfect for taking on a picnic and easily customizable with whatever vegetables that you have on hand. The shallot dressing here is delicious and great with so many things.

the best marinated lentils from "Oh She Glows Every Day" - The First Mess

The Best Marinated Lentils. This is a recipe from the Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook. These lentils are simple to prepare and nice to have on hand for throwing into lunches.

An overhead image of a vegan niçoise style salad on a white platter.

Grilled Asparagus and French Lentil Niçoise-Style Salad. I dream about this salad! It’s so vibrant and fresh. The caper dressing gets soaked up by the lentils and makes this composed salad so flavourful.

2. Soups & Stews

Image taken from overhead shows wide bowls of a deep red soup with little flecks of chopped parsley. A bowl of the chopped parsley is nearby.

My Favourite Vegan French Lentil Soup. Simple smoky, tomato-y and herbed goodness. I crave this soup all year. The tarragon, garlic, and smoked paprika make it so flavourful. Ten core ingredients and it’s so easy to prepare.

An overhead shot of a creamy mushroom stew with lentils and chopped kale. The stew is in a turquoise pot with a wooden spoon sticking out.

Creamy French Lentils with Mushrooms & Kale. This was one of the first recipes to become popular on my site and it always blows my mind because it’s a little… beige. But still so delicious! Flavourful mushrooms and lentils are cooked together and half of them are blended to make the stew super creamy and thick.

An overhead shot of quick smoky red lentil stew in a beige, cast iron braiser-style pot. There is a wooden spoon sticking out of the orange stew. The stew is garnished with chopped parsley.

Quick Smoky Red Lentil Stew. This is a genius and super fast recipe from Pretty Simple Cooking by A Couple Cooks. This one is very pantry friendly and full of flavour. A great cozy option that’s ready in a pinch.

An overhead shot of a bowl of vibrant and creamy orange soup that is swirled with a red slick of oil on top. The soup has a crust of bread in it and is also garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Spicy Sesame Carrot Soup with Red Lentils. This soup is made creamy with tahini, and extra flavourful with chilies, whole spices, toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and slowly cooked onions. Split red lentils add to the creaminess and make it a touch more filling.

An overhead shot of a creamy green soup with lentils and spinach in a white pot.

Deep Green Lentil Soup with Spinach, Tahini, and Lemon. I guess I have a thing for tahini and lentils in soups? Sometimes a combination just works! Potatoes help to fill this one out and they enhance the creamy texture. Someone tagged me on Instagram when they made this and called it “mashed potatoes on steroids,” which I love.

Golden lentil soup with coconut spinach and lime, photographed from overhead in a deep blue bowl, garnished with a dollop of coconut yogurt. There is a wood board with sliced bread nearby. All is photographed on a beige linen tablecloth.

Golden Lentil Soup with Coconut, Spinach & Lime. This is such a soul-satisfying soup and I love that it just slowly simmers away in a slow cooker. Of course you could adapt it for an electric pressure cooker too! Either way, that combination of warm spices, coconut milk, and lime just can’t be beat.

An overhead shot of white wine lentils in a turquoise pot, garnished with parsley

White Wine Lentils with Mustard and Thyme. Ten core ingredients, super flavourful, and ready in 40 minutes. This dish is kind of like a stew, but it’s also amazing over mashed potatoes or cauliflower. It also has two types of mustard, which is always one of my favourite flavour moves in a recipe.

An overhead shot of a red stew with chickpeas, lentils, cabbage, and kale. The bowl of soup shows a spoon sticking out.

Smoky Chickpea, Lentil, and Cabbage Soup with Kale. Guaranteed to chase away a winter chill. This soup is the definition of hearty and flavourful. I use liquid smoke and smoked paprika here to give it that crave-able smokiness.

An overhead shot of a bowl of creamy orange-coloured stew with leaves of cilantro, lentils, and chunks of sweet potato. A jar of ground chilies and lime wedges are seen to the side.

Ginger Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Stew with Lentils and Kale. That lentil, spice, and finished with lime combo strikes again. I guess I know what I like! This remains one of the most popular recipes on the site, and I totally get why.

3. Mains

An overhead shot of a mushroom and lentil shepherd's pie-type dish with a kale-flecked potato topping.

Mushroom Gravy Pie with Garlicky Kale Mashed Potatoes. This is one of my favourite vegan holiday main courses ever. It’s just so comforting, made with fairly simple ingredients, and is just so incredibly delicious.

An overhead shot of charred cabbage slices with a lentil mixture on top and a creamy sauce drizzled to finish.

Grilled Cabbage Steaks with Jalapeño Chimichurri Lentils & Maple Mustard Tahini. This is an epic vegan BBQ main! Of course, you could also sear the cross sections of cabbage in a skillet and finish them in the oven. Either way, delicious and such a fun way to eat lentils.

An overhead shot of baked mushrooms and brown rice in a pot topped with lentils and chopped herbs.

Mushroom Brown Rice Bake with Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Lentils & Gremolata. The lentils here are cooked until tender, dried, and then coated in spices and oil before getting roasted. The result is a crispy, but still tender lentil topping for a cozy casserole-type of dinner.

A head on, up close shot of a bowl of pappardelle pasta with a deep, brown-ish red sauce and bits of lentils all throughout.

Hearty Mushroom & Beet Bolognese. I will maintain that this is the best vegan bolognese ever. It has so much going on flavour-wise! The beets get a bit smoky, the red wine gets in there with acidity, the cashew cream mellows it out, and our lentils help to fill out the sauce.

An overhead shot of a lentil shepherd's pie in a skillet topped with a creamy cauliflower potato mash. Part of a roundup of lentil recipes.

French Onion Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils & Cauliflower Potato Mash. This is another cozy main that’s perfect for the holiday season. This vegan shepherd’s pie is also just nice for a weekend dinner at home with a salad on the side. The onions are slowly caramelized and delicious here.

An overhead shot of vegan squash patties on a white platter with deep green mixed herb salsa verde in a bowl to the side. The patties are topped with arugula sprouts and fine shavings of pecans.

Vegan Squash Patties with Mixed Herb Salsa Verde. Lentils combine with roasted butternut squash, shallots, millet, pecans, and lots of spices to form a super hearty veg patty that’s beautifully topped with a fresh and zingy salsa verde. Naturally gluten-free, and easily made nut/soy-free as well.

An overhead shot of saucy lentils on top of a puffy portion of millet "polenta"

BBQ Lentils with Millet Polenta. I love a saucy lentil on top of a comforting carbohydrate situation. We make a “polenta” out of ground millet here and pile the BBQ saucy lentils on top. Simple and so delicious.

An overhead shot of a deep brown lentil stew in bowls topped with crispy potatoes.

Baked Balsamic Lentil Stew with Mushrooms & Crispy Rosemary Potato Topping. I love the “shingles” of crispy potatoes on top of this tangy, baked stew. Another slightly festive option that’s extra cozy. As far as lentil recipes go, this one has such an elegant presentation.

An up close, overhead shot of a rustic skillet lasagga topped with creamy white dollops of vegan "ricotta" and pesto. Part of a roundup of lentil recipes.

Vegan Skillet Lasagna with Homemade Almond Ricotta. Lentils and small dices of veg form part of the “filling” of this rustic and freeform lasagna. The creamy dollops of almond-based “ricotta” are so convincing here! I know that lentils in lasagna are common in vegan lentil recipes, but they really are so good!

An overhead shot of grilled mini pepper halves with a meat-y appearing filling. All peppers are topped with chopped herbs.

Grilled Mini Peppers with Spiced Walnut & Lentil Crumble. You could easily make these in full size peppers too. You’ll just need to grill them for a bit longer to get all sides soft enough. The lentils are chopped up with walnuts, olives, and spices for an extra flavourful filling.

An overhead shot of an individual shepherd's pie in a small black casserole dish, perched on top of a napkin and plate. Part of a lentil recipes roundup.

Garden Keeper’s Pie with Beets, Lentils & Creamy Celery Root Mash. This recipe is vintage! I love the alternative celery root topping for this one. If you haven’t had celery root as a mash, it’s delightful. Kind of creamy and potato-like, but also strong with that celery flavour. So great on top of that tangy lentil and beet filling!

An up close, overhead shot of a bowl of creamy porridge topped with fruit compote, peanut butter and large coconut flakes. Part of a lentil recipes roundup.

Vegan Protein Porridge. This cozy breakfast defies all of the categories that I have in this lentil recipes roundup, but I needed to include it. The split urad dal just melt into this oat and quinoa porridge. Virtually undetectable and so good!

Image taken from overhead shows wide bowls of a deep red soup with little flecks of chopped parsley. A bowl of the chopped parsley is nearby.
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Lentil Recipes: French Lentil Soup

This is my favourite lentil soup ever. Plus, check out 25+ delicious lentil recipes in this post!
PREP TIME20 mins
COOK TIME55 mins
TOTAL TIME1 hr 15 mins
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8
Author: Laura Wright

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, small dice
  • 1 stick celery, small dice
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 ⅓ cups french lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 6 cups vegetable stock, plus extra if needed
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley, optional

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for at least 10 minutes, stirring them around frequently. They shouldn’t sizzle too loudly! This is a slow-cooking kind of process, so turn the heat down if you think they’re cooking too fast.
  • When the onions are quite soft, add the thyme, tarragon, and paprika and sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring here and there. Add the garlic and stir until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 8-10 minutes, until all vegetables are soft.
  • Add the can of tomatoes and stir to coat vegetables. Cook out and simmer the tomatoes for about 5 minutes. Add the drained lentils and stir to coat in the vegetables, oil and tomatoes. Add a splash of the stock and scrape any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  • Add remaining vegetable stock to the pot. Give the whole mix a good stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, return pot to a simmer, cover with a lid and allow to cook for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Check in on the pot once in a while and give it a stir. Season the finished soup liberally with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley, if using.
  • Serve the soup hot.

Notes

  • I know a 1/4 cup sounds like a lot of oil, but I think it’s warranted for the resulting texture. The volume of oil helps to stew the onions, garlic and herbs so that they “melt” into the soup, meshing all of the flavours seamlessly. Alternatively, you can use less oil and add spoonfuls of stock gradually to prevent sticking/over-browning.
  • I love to serve this soup with a drizzle of olive oil, maybe a a sprinkle of chili flakes, and some good bread.
  • You could use crushed tomatoes instead of diced for a thicker, more stew-like vibe!

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