14 Healthy and Hearty Green Lentil Recipes

Lentil Bolognese in a ceramic bowl
Lentil Bolognese. Photo: Buckwheat Queen

If you're looking to pack in a lot of nutrients on a budget, then green lentils are the way to go. Rich in protein and iron, they're a popular meat substitute, and they're also a great source of folate, thiamine, and fiber — and did we mention they're extremely affordable? Green lentils are a healthy, versatile staple that work in soups, salads, curries, and even pasta sauce. Check out our selection of traditional green lentil recipes as well as innovative, vegetarian-friendly ways to substitute green lentil for meat.

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Instant Pot® Lentil Soup

Instant Pot® Lentil Soup in a rimmed white bowl with whole-wheat toast

Green lentils, squash, onion, carrot, celery, and warm spices make this soup is richly textured and flavored, yet it's surprisingly easy to make. Lemon juice and a handful of kale give the soup it's final flavor boost; spinach is a good substitute if you don't have kale.

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Mediterranean Style Roasted Red Pepper and Lentil Salad

MattOlay V-H

This simple lentil salad is the perfect dish to add to your meal prep rotation. It's simple to prepare and travels well, making it a great option for a healthy, filling, and convenient desk lunch. You can easily adapt the ingredients based on what's in your pantry.

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a bowl of harira, the Moroccan soup
Natasha Greenman-Ruzynski

"I can attest that this recipe is authentic! I have had many a night to break the fast during Ramadan," says community member bladi. "It reminds me of my home in Khemisset, Morocco."

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Lemony Lentils with Kale

Lemony Lentils with Kale
Photo by mrs.embee.

This simple side dish is nutrient rich (high in protein, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A) without compromising on flavor. to make it vegetarian or vegan-friendly, simply replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock or water.

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Alissa's Vegetarian Lentil Meatloaf


If you think you can't make a delicious source of protein on a vegetarian diet, think again. This lentil meatloaf is rich in flavor and even has a meat-like consistency once it's cooked. If you're not a fan of onion chunks, purée the onion or chop it very finely.

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Cara's Moroccan Stew


Looking to use up an abundance of veggies or butternut squash? Toss them into this aromatic and hearty vegetarian stew. Make a big batch and eat it all week, or bring it to a potluck — there won't be anyleftovers.

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Lentils and Rice with Fried Onions (Mujadarrah)

Lentils and Rice with Fried Onions (Mujadarrah)

Mujadarrah, a Middle Eastern dish made from lentils, rice, and fried onions, is pure comfort food. It's super easy to make and only requires five ingredients (or six if you decide to top it with yogurt or sour cream) that are likely already in your pantry. Try making it with basmati rice, an aromatic long-grain variety.

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Lebanese Lemon Lentil Soup


"I've been looking for a lentil soup recipe to mimic my mother-in-law's," says community member JoFred. "This is it — the spice in this is perfect. Thanks for sharing the recipe!"

09 of 15

Spicy Lentil Quinoa Curry

Spicy Lentil Quinoa Curry

If you love aromatic spices and heat, then you need to make this curry. The recipe is extremely adaptable: You can adjust it to fit your dietary preferences and spice tolerance, and you can alter the vegetables used to fit what you have on hand.

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Lentil Tacos

Lentil Tacos
Photo by Buckwheat Queen.

These vegan tacos include a homemade spice mix that includes ancho chile powder, coriander, and ground cumin for an irresistible kick of flavor. They're especially good for new vegetarians or vegans, as well as people who just want to add more plant-based meals to their diet.

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Green Lentils and Rice Assyrian Style

Green Lentils and Rice Assyrian Style
Photo by Buckwheat Queen.

"Delicious and simple. I thought I'd eat one small side helping. Ended up filling up and eating two big bowls," says community member Shannan Berkbuegler. "Husband loved it and I'm looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow."

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Syrian-Style Lentil and Spinach Soup


This soup is incredibly easy to prepare, and eating it feels like warm hug. When you add the lemon juice, mix in at least a teaspoon of cumin — it'll make all the difference.

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Le Anne

Pesarattu, a crepe-like dosa made with green lentils, is a specialty in the Indian state of Andhra. It's super simple to make, and is an excellent (and tasty!) source of protein and fiber.

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Lentil Bolognese

Lentil Bolognese in a ceramic bowl
Lentil Bolognese. Buckwheat Queen

This vegan Bolognese tastes so close to the real thing it may take you a while to realize you're eating beans instead of meat. It's also a nice topper for potatoes if you aren't in the mood for pasta.

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