Favorite Lentil Recipes

You know those awesomely long and totally overwhelming posts that have one million recipe links? This is not going to be one of them.

This is just a love letter to lentils. With a few links.

Lentil Recipes

My sisters were here this week (hey, how about I tell you the same thing 100 times and you pretend I didn’t? sheesh.) and I uncovered a shocking secret about my younger sister: SHE HAS NEVER TRIED LENTILS. Or had never, until this week when she stayed with me and obviously, I fed her her very first lentils like any big sister would. After her first bite, she said, “Yummmm. They taste kind of like beans.” What?!?!?!?

I might have been in denial for the last few years. Not everyone buys lentils on every grocery trip. Or has any idea where to find them in the store or how to make them or why in the world they should make them. So in honor of my own personal love for all things lentil and the fact that these lentil recipes are some of my favorite recipes EVER done on Pinch of Yum, I thought this post was very necessary.

Lentil newbies, I love you and this is for you!

What are lentils? Basically, beans. Small, cute little protein-packed beans.

Where do I buy lentils? At the grocery store, usually in the canned or dried goods section. I’m guessing it will be by the other dried beans. Here in the Philippines, I can buy them canned, but I’ve never seen that in the states.

How much do they cost? At home, I could buy them for less than a dollar per pound.

Are they really that healthy? Fiber, protein, folate, iron… gang’s all there. For real!

How do I make them? Basically, you have to boil them until they’re soft. No presoaking or any other annoying steps required.

Will I like eating them? Yes.

Lentil Recipes

Red Curry Lentils: amazing (like, honestly the best ever) flavors from the coconut milk, curry paste, and garam masala, plus a pretty red color. For surely the best lentil starter recipe for all you newbies. I’ve actually gone so far as to name this my personal #1 favorite Pinch of Yum recipe. Wait, do I have to choose just one? There are a lot that I love and most of them involve more stuff like sugar and butter and chocolate. But I reeeeeally love this one.

Easy Red Lentil Dhal: made in about 20 minutes, made in about 20 minutes, made in about… saucy and mildly spicy, perfect over rice, and made in about 20 minutes. All over it.

Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes and Lentils: coconut milk FOR LIFE, can be stew-thick or soup-thin, with tomatoes and sweet potatoes and cabbage to round out the health-ometer.

Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry: extra healthy because of the squash and tomatoes, super creamy and smooth consistency, fills you up forrrrever, and hey! you can use any kind of squash.

Coconut Green Curry Lentils: very green – including spinach – yay, a light and bright flavor from the green curry paste, making it all cozy and saucy and perfect for pajama dinners.

Thai Basil Coconut Lentils: super unique, bright, fresh lemongrass and ginger flavors from the tom kha paste, plus extra veggies for lots of color and texture variety, loads of fresh basil.

Apparently lentil recipes are affected by that same shopping principle that makes you gravitate towards buying different varieties of what is really the same item, every.single.time. Does that happen to the rest of the world? I definitely have at least 50 varieties of the exact same cheapo flip flops in my little shoe cabinet. Want to know what I brought way too much of to the Philippines? FLIP FLOPS. Good grief.

At least the good thing is that I wear one pair of them.


In the end, my sister gave red curry lentils two thumbs up even though we made it with broccoli and it sort of turned brown. You can’t lose here, friends. Lentils for life!

Haaaaappy weekend!

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  1. I have been looking for a lentil recipe and these seem perfect. I think I will try the Red Curry Lentils soon.


  2. Mmmmm I love lentils! They are definitley a pantry staple of mine, because I love that you don’t have to presoak them! The creamy Thai lentils look great. Check out my lentil stuffed sweet potato: http://kellyshealthykitchen.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/desperation-dinners-simple-stuffed-sweet-potato/

  3. pinning them all – I could eat my weight in lentils. I love them!

  4. Oh gawsh, I am in a constant love affair with lentils. I go through so many in a week! I’m new to your blog (just found you yesterday through foodgawker) and really appreciate this post. I know I’m goin to live it here if the first notification I get from you is a lentil one! Have a great weekend :)

  5. Red curry lentils is probably my #1 favorite Pinch of Yum recipe, too. Love that one! Can’t wait to try some of these others.

  6. i freaking LOVE lentils Lindsay! I eat them often and have made your thai basil lentils before! i don’t think i mentioned that to you though. amazing! love all of these photos and recipes. i could never make lentils look so beautiful. i hope you’re feeling better Lindsay – just read your post about being ill and in the hospital. hope you enjoyed the time with your sisters! xo

    • Funny! Glad you liked those thai basil ones.. they’re one of my faves especially when I’m craving something out of the box. And yes, I’m feeling better, and yes we had a great time together. :) Thanks for the nice comment Sally!

  7. I’m kinda a lentil newbie; only had it once at this really cool East African restaurant my sister and I spontaneously went to. It was delicious! All of these lentil recipes look really tasty, and the creamy thai lentils sounds especially intriguing. Think I might try that one out! :)

  8. We had your green curry lentils just a couple days ago. Good stuff.
    I have a girlfriend who’s obsessed with Trader Joe’s pre-cooked lentils. They come in a one-pound container in the produce section. She uses them for everything. Most recently I had a salad of hers that was basically the lentils with Greek salad ingredients and fresh herbs with a balsamic vinaigrette. Beyond delicious.

  9. Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies says:

    Okay, I’m convinced. I’ll try the lentils!!

  10. I am not the biggest lentil fan in the world but those are some good looking recipes!

  11. I am completely in love with lentils, they are so easy and versatile!! Plus they are so healthy, especially for we meatless bunch!! :)

  12. I agree with the love for lentils. I’ve got 3 kinds in my cupboards currently. I’ve been known to eat them by the spoonful right out of the pot while still on the stove.

    I actually made your squash curry the other night, the boys of the house claim to HATE squash, and were none the wiser that their beloved curry was hiding a boatload of healthy squash, mwahahaha!

    My goal is to make all these recipes. Yummy!

  13. YES! I love lentils! LOL…I took lentil soup with me to work one day (I’m a nurse), and some of my coworkers were like”WHAT is THAT??!?”. “Why, they’re lentils…:)”. Actually, you can buy canned lentils here in the states too, but they are already seasoned as a soup. Progresso makes ’em. SO yummy. Thanks for this post!

    • Sweet! I’ve actually had a canned lentil soup back home, I think it’s Amy’s Organic brand, but here you can just buy them straight up like you would any other beans! I love it!

  14. I love all these recipes! I’m not a true lentil-convert yet but I’m sure that’ll change when I make all of these recipes :)

  15. So sweet of you to bring the little sister into the wonderful land of lentil! I love lentils and love that you love lentils…and will be trying each and every one of your lentil recipes! Great lentil roundup!

  16. Love the primer and the recipes! I made a a tabbouleh with lentils once. I am inspired!

  17. I’m in the lentil-love club, too! I have a kid who needs a lot of fiber and so I’m always trying to squeeze beans in to recipes (bad mental image? sorry). Imagine my delight when he loved green lentil soup at an Ethiopian place we like! Thanks for the great recipes and for showing the lentils some love!

  18. Like your sister, I’ve not eaten lentils but if they taste like beans and they are good for you then I’m all for them. Thanks for the links to all your great recipes.

  19. Ruby @ the Ruby Red Apron says:

    Really happy to see this post about lentils. I absolutely LOVE them! I thought I was the only one. I MUST try these recipes!

  20. Oh my goodness!
    All of these look incredible! I just made lentils in my crockpot and I’m excited to make some more!

  21. I love it. Lentils are great. Thanks for the post. Pinned ya.

  22. Beautiful, Extraordinary, Inspiring
    Post Ms. Lentil Lindsay…

  23. I love cooking with lentils but always run out of recipes! Glad you posted all these great ones!

  24. I’ve always liked lentils (I’m a semi-vegetarian) but never had a really exciting recipe…until I saw yours. My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures! Can’t wait to try some of these recipes.

  25. This is fabulous-I want to cook lentils-I like lentils-I have been afraid of lentils…had a bad bead experience and after hours of simmering ended up with something no one would eat, nor would I serve…tonight it is red curry lentil time for me and mine!

  26. Lisa @bitesforbabies says:

    Hi there! New follower from bitesforbabies! We seem to have a lot in common (besides cooking!). My husband is also the tech guy for my blog, I’m a teacher, and I have an adorable chug and not to mention 2 children whom I love cooking for 😉

  27. This might be one of my favorite posts on your blog so far… Other than some of those individual lentil recipe posts… I love lentils, too, but you come up with the best ideas for how to serve them! (I especially love your red curry lentils; I’ve made them several times.) :)

  28. I’ll admit I’ve never tried lentils either, but now I really want to try them..especially the red curry lentils recipe.

  29. Lentils rock my palate. Add in butternut squash or coconut milk and I am sold every single time.

  30. Yay, lentils! We love them too – they are so versatile and delicious! The red curry lentils look marvelous – we’ll have to try that one! (Well, and all the others too :) ) Miss you!!!! XO

  31. I happen to be obsessed with lentils at the moment. This Thai Basil Lentil dish sounds like its right up my alley!

  32. Laura Berkas says:

    Hi Lindsay,
    It’s great to catch glimpses of what you’re up to and I love the food! Take care


  33. How timely of you to post this! One of my food goals for 2013 is to incorporate lentils into my diet and cooking routine. Thanks for the collection of lentil recipes!

  34. Your lentil post was at the perfect time! I LOVE lentils, too, and had just bought a big bag so I could make a large batch to freeze to have on hand for easy meals. I have wanted to make your recipe for red curry lentils when you originally posted it, but forgot about it. I finally got to make it last night and LOVED LOVED LOVED it!!!!!!! So thanks for such a great, easy recipe!! And I’m a dietitian, so I loved how healthy it was too! I served it on brown rice with a side of roasted brussel sprouts. Thanks again for such a tasty way to eat one of my favorite foods!

  35. Loved!! Like you said it was even better the next day (and still better 2 days later!). Thanks for the great recipe, Lindsay! I am now officially out of my food rut.

  36. What a great collection of lentil recipes. I love Indian dal and Puy Lentils with a red wine sauce, but after that my inventiveness seems to fail me.

  37. Wow — wonderful collection of recipes. The second one made me hungry for kabocha squash again, and I have all the ingredients for the creamy Thai recipe in my cabinet, so that’s on for tonight!

  38. I love this blog, but I was just wondering if you or anyone has noticed white crescent shaped things that come out of the lentils when you cook them…? Does anyone know what these are and if these are normal?

    • The only thing I can think of is that sometimes the skins come off if you cook them for a long time… ? But I have never noticed anything like that.

  39. Just found your blog on a google hunt for more lentil goodies! Made lentil tacos tonight, but am making notes on these nummy-looking ideas, too.

    If you’re still looking for canned, straight-up lentils, check out whole foods. They run me about 1.50 a can, which isn’t bad for a speedy supper.

  40. I googled “awesome lentil dishes” because I’m crazy about lentils but I always make them the same way (boil them with rice, pasta, carrots, and maybe some tomatoes, add loads of cilantro and chili flakes / cayenne). But this will keep me going all week! THANK YOU now I have options

  41. I’m a lost soul who is trying to eat healthy, and I just stumbled upon this sight. I want to say thank you! These all look so tasty and I’m going to try them all out.

  42. Thank you for these AWESOME recipes :-)

  43. Your red curry lentils are my absolute favorite recipe on your whole blog, despite having tried tons of your recipes. Just finished a nice big bowl for a late lunch! Thanks for this blog, I love it.

  44. So here is my question. What kind of lentils do you use? When I go to the store there are three bags sitting there. Red, green and brown. What colour are your plain lentils? Green?

  45. My favorite is Mudjaharra. This is basically lentils, rice and carmelized onions. I go back to nursery school with this dish…I can eat hot; I can eat is cold; I can eat it in the pot nine days old. (Ha! It never lasts THAT long.)

  46. I love lentils too! But I haven’t done nearly the variety – our normal is lentil tacos (basically season them similar to taco beef). I am so excited by all your Thai flavors!!

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