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The Best Healthy Lentil Recipes

Whether they are served as a side dish or main course, lentils are super tasty, highly versatile, and good for you. In this post, we share a recipe roundup of the best healthy lentil recipes. These recipes come from a variety of cuisines, using different types of lentils. The recipes are easy to make even for the novice home cook. 

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I have to admit, I’ve never really given lentils much thought. Growing up we didn’t eat them. It’s only been in the last five years that I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy them. And that’s mostly due to learning I needed more fiber in my diet. 

What Are Lentils

In order to understand lentils, it’s important to understand the term as it connects to pulses and legumes. These are three common food words that are often thrown around. Although the word pulse is not as commonly used in the US as it is in the UK, Americans eat pulses all the time without even knowing it.

Pulses are the edible, dried seeds of plants in the legume family. (See this post here about the difference between pulses and legumes). They grow in pods. Pulses are the seeds that come from inside these pods. Lentils are one of the 11 types of pulses.

Put simply, lentils are the seeds that come from legumes. So, then what are legumes? Legumes include familiar foods including beans, peas, and even peanuts. And, lentils are a type of pulse. Confused?

Lentils are an extremely popular ingredient used in Middle Eastern, Indian and European cuisines. They have a wide variety of health benefits but are also one of the most sustainable sources of food on the planet.

cooking with red lentils

Looking for more healthy recipes? Check out The Best Healthy Bean Recipes or the Best Instant Pot Chickpea Recipes.

Why Make Lentils

Spanish Chorizo And Lentil Stew
Spanish pardina, or brown lentils

Do you know just how healthy lentils are for you? Pound for pound, lentils are some of the healthiest and most sustainable foods you can eat. Lentils are high in B vitamins which are important for cell health, eyesight, and energy. Medical studies have shown eating lentils on a regular basis can have a positive effect on appetite control, digestive and heart health. 

For vegetarians or those looking to reduce their meat consumption, lentils are an excellent plant-based source of fiber and protein. For cooks of all levels, lentils are a great ingredient to use and hard to mess up. There’s no soaking required with lentils, unlike dry beans. Best of all, they can be prepared in a variety of ways. 

Lentil Varieties

Warm Green French Lentils Salad
French green lentil salad

There are a wide variety of lentils as well. The most common include red lentils, brown lentils, and green lentils. In Indian and Southern Asian cuisine, there are so many more types of lentils or dal.

Red lentils cook quicker. They are a bit smaller and less dense, which means they soak in the liquid quicker. They are good to use in soups and stews where you want a soft consistency, or where you are using an immersion blender to make a soup creamy.

Brown and green lentils tend to take longer to cook. They also hold their shape better than red lentils. This makes them great for main courses where you want to be able to see the lentils or for lentil salads.

Types of Healthy Lentil Recipes

Moroccan Red Lentil Soup
Moroccan red lentil soup

One of the benefits of cooking with lentils is the variety of cuisines that use lentils. This opens up a world of possibilities when deciding on healthy lentil dishes to cook. The versatility and variety is another benefit of lentils. There are four main types of lentils; red/yellow, brown, green, and specialty. Each type presents a unique opportunity in terms of the ingredients and method used to cook the lentils. 

There are countless healthy recipes with lentils. One of our favorites is a healthy lentil soup recipe using red lentils. Adding lentils to a salad will give texture and a boost of fiber and protein. Lentils are great substitutes for potatoes as a side dish. Green lentils work really well alongside roasted chicken, pork, and even rabbit.  

We are trying to be mindful of the amount of meat we consume. Mainly for health reasons, but also for sustainability. Being big fans of Indian food, we’ve discovered just how well lentils work as a main dish. Regardless of the type of lentil, Indian lentil curries, with some fresh hot naan, make for the perfect meatless Monday meal. 

The Best Healthy Lentil Recipes 

Best Healthy Lentil Recipes

Here are our recommendations for fabulous and healthy lentil recipes. We have tried to include a wide variety of lentil recipes. Inside you’ll find side dishes, mains, soups, and salads. More importantly, to keep things interesting, we’ve selected recipes from a number of different cuisines.  As we find and test out new recipes, we will continue to update. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed.

Healthy Lentil Recipes

Whether they are served as a side dish or main course, lentils are super tasty, highly versatile, and good for you. In this post, we share a recipe roundup of the best healthy lentil recipes. These recipes come from a variety of cuisines, using different types of lentils. The recipes are easy to make even for the novice home cook.

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