Food fads come and go, but lentils remain. I’m always trying to come up with new vegan lentil recipes. 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 vegan lentil recipes you’re looking for below.
The First Mess Cookbook
Lentils of all types are featured heavily in my cookbook, along with a variety of whole food, totally plant based, and seasonal recipes.
1. Salads & Sides
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 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 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. 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.
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.
Grilled Carrots with Lentils and Roasted Garlic Chive Yogurt Sauce. Smoky and sweet grilled carrots are smothered with a flavourful roasted garlic chive yogurt sauce; all on a bed of lightly dressed French lentils. It’s a hearty side that’s naturally vegan and gluten-free!
2. Soups & Stews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 & 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.
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.
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.
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.
Lemony Lentil Soup with Spinach & 7 Spices. Naturally vegan and gluten-free, this soup comes together in one pot in about 40 minutes, and uses plenty of pantry ingredients. Satisfying and flavourful with Tamari, garlic, spices, and fresh lemon juice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Spice-Roasted Cauliflower in Coconut Tomato Sauce with Red Lentils. This is a simple vegan dinner recipe. Inspired by both dal and coconut milk curries prevalent in Southeast Asian cuisine, this meal cooks up in about 40 minutes.
Vegan Chopped Cabbage Roll Skillet. French lentils and rice fill out this unstuffed cabbage roll dish with roasted crispy cabbage bits and tangy tomato sauce. Fresh dill and vegan sour cream on top are the perfect accompaniments.
30-Minute Easy Lentil Bolognese. This vegan lentil bolognese is luscious, meaty, and clings beautifully to rigatoni pasta. Dried porcini mushrooms, Tamari, tomato paste, garlic, and thyme add depth to the mouthwatering sauce. Total cooking time for this hearty dinner is 30 minutes thanks to canned lentils, all on the stovetop!
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!
Lentil Recipes: French Lentil Soup
- 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
- 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!
- 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.