19 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Red Lentils

A bowl of red lentil soup
Bryan's Spicy Red Lentil Soup. Photo: Allrecipes

Red lentils have an advantage over their counterparts as they take the shortest amount of time to cook, making them one of the best ingredients for dal curries, winter soups, and chunky vegan pasta sauces. Here's a selection of our favorite red lentil recipes that are sure to brighten up your midweek meals.

01 of 20

Red Lentil Dal with Yogurt Raita

Stewed red lentils, known as masoor dal in India, are elevated with an aromatic and warming blend of spices, including ginger, turmeric, coriander, and mustard seeds. This recipe also lists everything you need to make a refreshing cucumber and mint yogurt raita to accompany the curried lentils.

02 of 20

Bryan's Spicy Red Lentil Soup

A bowl of red lentil soup
Bryan's Spicy Red Lentil Soup. Allrecipes

This budget-friendly red lentil, tomato, and spinach soup takes just 30 minutes to cook! If spinach doesn't appeal to you, kale or zucchini will work just as well. Keep the soup chunky or take out a few ladles to blend, stirring the puree back in to create a mix of textures.

03 of 20

Sunny Lentils

Warm up a gloomy day with this colorful red lentil, tomato, and bell pepper soup that's spiced up with curry powder and sweetened with shredded coconut. If you need a more substantial meal, serve as a stew over hot brown rice.

04 of 20

Red Lentil Curry

Red Lentil Curry
Lea Eats

Red lentils are gently infused with ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and curry paste in this quick, comforting vegan curry that's perfect over rice, or serve with warm naan for scooping up every last bit.

05 of 20

Roasted Red Pepper and Lentil Soup

A trio of colored bell peppers are roasted to achieve an intensity of flavor in this nourishing red lentil soup. If you are short on time, you can roast the peppers on your outdoor grill or buy a jar of roasted peppers from the store. Garnish with pumpkin seeds for a colorful, crunchy topping.

06 of 20

Summer Lentil Salad

Most lentil salad recipes call for green or brown lentils as they hold their shape better after they are cooked, but you can use red lentils if you adjust the cooking time until they are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the lentils well and toss with red onion, celery and a balsamic-herb vinaigrette to create this gorgeous summer side dish.

07 of 20

Vegan Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Every Turkish household will have their own version of this wholesome red lentil soup, and this recipe submitted by Jet62879 is a prime example. For best results, she suggests simmering the red lentils until they are very soft and falling apart, 30 to 45 minutes, so they absorb all the flavors.

08 of 20

Lentil Rice and Veggie Bake

Lentil Rice and Veggie Bake
Buckwheat Queen

This baked rice dish with red lentils, tomatoes, and lots of herbs and spices is so versatile that you can use practically whatever grains or cans you have in the back of your cupboard! Try substituting brown or wild rice, stir in black beans, or bulk it up with whatever seasonal veg you have at hand.

09 of 20

Tomato Curry Lentil Stew

A bowl of tomato curry lentil stew
Tomato Curry Lentil Stew. Deb C

Lentils, tomatoes, and celery are cooked in stock and spiced up with garlic and curry powder to create this comforting vegan stew. If you use red lentils, reduce the amount of time you simmer the stew and stop cooking when it reaches the consistency you like.

10 of 20

Instant Pot Lebanese Lentil Soup (Shorbat-Adas)

This red lentil and vegetable soup takes its inspiration from the Middle East and has the perfect balance of warming spices. While the Instant Pot does its work, bake the pita chips for the perfect crunchy garnish. Adding lemon juice gives this soup a delicate citrus lift at the end.

11 of 20

Tasty Lentil Tacos

Tasty Lentil Tacos
Tasty Lentil Tacos. Shellie Robledo

These vibrant meatless tacos are sure to become a family favorite. If you opt to use red lentils, reduce the cooking time so they retain some bite. Set up a taco bar with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and salsa so that everyone can help themselves!

12 of 20

Carrot Lentil Soup

Red lentil soup is so quick to make! This version with sweet carrots, spiced up with dry-fried crushed red pepper flakes, is ready to serve in less than half an hour. Ladle the pureed soup into warm bowls and sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds.

13 of 20

Sicilian Lentil Pasta Sauce

Red lentils, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, and tomatoes, are cooked down to create this meaty looking bolognese sauce without the meat! Serve over hot spaghetti or stir in whole wheat pasta shapes for a vegan dish the whole family will enjoy.

14 of 20

Sweet potato, Carrot, Apple and Red Lentil Soup

Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple, and Red Lentil Soup
Jonathan Lynch

Make the most of seasonal produce in this spicy lentil soup that's naturally sweetened with sweet potatoes, carrots, and apple. Add some fresh spinach leaves at the end for an additional nutritional boost, and season with paprika for a smoky finish.

15 of 20

Turkey Lentil Chili

Lean turkey sausage and red lentils are perfect for absorbing all the flavor from the herbs and spices in this wholesome chili. Garnish each serving with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro or parsley to serve.

16 of 20

Italian Red Lentil and Brown Rice Soup

An Italian-inspired chunky red lentil, tomato, and rice soup that is exceptionally easy to make and packed with protein and fiber. Eat it for lunch on a cold, blustery day and it will keep you full until dinnertime!

17 of 20

Cumin Spiced Red Lentil Burgers

Try this 5 star recipe for red lentil veggie burgers that you can whip up with minimal fuss. Top with a dollop of the tangy yogurt and herb sauce to balance out the spice and create a dish that appeals to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!

18 of 20

Lentil, Chicken Sausage, and Sweet Potato Soup

This is a rustic red lentil soup that's packed with chunks of sweet potato, Italian sausage, and black beans, all simmered in a spicy tomato and coconut stock. One 5 star review by Allrecipes community member Gram of 4 says, "I've been making soup for 50 years and this recipe has become my new favorite."

19 of 20

Skinny Sloppy Joes with Lentils

Skinny Sloppy Joes with Lentils

"This version of Sloppy Joes ups the nutrition ante by swapping the meat for lentils, and adding in extra veggies," says Kim. "Adjust this recipe to how you prefer your Sloppy Joes — make them sweeter with additional molasses, spicier with additional chili powder, or tangier with additional mustard. Serve warm, with your favorite rolls or buns, and top with sliced red onion and fresh spinach or lettuce, if desired."

20 of 20

More Inspiration

Bowls of different lentils
Enn Li Photography / Getty Images

Lentils of all varieties are super nutritious and make a great base for loads of plant-forward meals. Check out these recipes and collections for more inspiration:

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