Lentil recipes anyone?

I was feeling somewhat adventurous at the supermarket some months ago and bought a bag of lentils that were on sale.

Then I realized I have never prepared this before, I’m not sure I even know what it tastes like, and don’t know how to eat it. :smack:
I have a feeling I’ll like it because I love beans and peas.

They’re dry, in a plastic bag, so I assume they have to be soaked in water first. And then what? Am I supposed to make a soup… or can it work as a salad? Supposed to eat them hot or cold? If anyone knows any tasty recipes, do share. I’m very open to combining them with other vegetables because I like some variety in taste.

The beauty of lentils is that you don’t have to soak them - they’re small enough that they cook from dry in 20 or 30 minutes. You can use them in a lot of ways - cooked with garlic and herbs as a side dish, sprinkled on a salad, lentil stew, hot, cold, etc. etc.

There’s a lot of lentil recipes here. Don’t worry about using the exact lentil the recipe calls for. If you have it, great, if not, any lentil will work.

Good luck!

There should be a recipe for soup on the bag. You can use that as a guide. Lentils don’t need to be soaked first.

I eat them almost exclusively in soup, but you can drain them after cooking in water and use as you might chickpeas in salad.

Here’s my lentil soup recipe:

I typed that recipe up several years ago; I no longer use Lawry’s much. Tony Chachere’s is my go-to all purpose seasoning.

EASY lentil soup-I actually don’t measure anything:

1 bag lentils
2 cups cubed ham (Extra flavor-toss in a smoked ham hock you’ve had the butcher cut up)
3 potatoes, cubed
about 3/4 cup barley
3-4 ribs of celery, cut up
1 sm onion, diced
salt & pepper to taste

Dump it all in a soup pot, add water to cover, maybe an inch over. Bring to a rolling boil, then cut the heat back to low and simmer at least 3 hours. It is WONDERFUL.

Dang it, now I want lentil soup.

Lentils play well with beef as well as ham. So if you have a beefy knucklebone, cook lentils with it.

I like to put about half a cup or so of lentils into any beef soup that I happen to make.

Lentils are awesome. I just boiled up some red lentils with vegetable stock, red pepper, curry paste, garlic, some Indian style spices and some tomato purée, and I’m having it with rice. Not so much a recipe as what I happened to have around. Works like a charm.

Mmmm, lentils.

Dice half an onions and put it, a cup of lentils, and two cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to boil, then turn down to simmer and cover.

A few minutes later (10-15), take a package of nice garlicky Italian sausages and start cooking them in a large skillet. When they’re about cooked through, add a cup of red wine and two smashed cloves of garlic. Your lentils should be about done now–when they are, pour them into the skillet too. Salt the whole thing to taste. Enjoy!

I love lentils, to me they (along with Chickpeas) don’t really need anything more than some salt.

The thing about lentils is they don’t need soaking but it’s way to easy to overcook them. I like them mushy so that isn’t an issue for me, but if you want some “bite” to them you have to watch them closely. To me it seems they go from undercooked to overcooked mush very quickly.

You can easily make a nice thick soup out of them if you overcook them, just use a blender and mush them up and then throw in some meat and veggies for “soup” flavor.

Lentils, rice and bacon bits is one of the most popular versions of “potaje” in my family. Depending on the exact varieties of rice and lentils (and stuff like whether the rice is parboiled), you need to add one or the other to the water first or both at the same time, but in any case they get boiled together and the bacon (lightly fried or microwaved) added later. You may want to drain the rice and lentils somewhat before adding the bacon if you’ve used waaaaaay too much water, but there’s no need to drain them completely.

Potaje: any dish consisting of one carby ingredient (in this case, rice) plus one or more proteiny ones (in this case, the lentils and the bacon). Rice and beans or noodles with mincemeat (no tomato sauce) are potajes as well.

Lentils also make a splendid simple salad. Cook your lentils in water until they’re not crunchy but not mushy, drain them, and while they’re still quite hot, mix them in a bowl with some olive oil, wine vinegar, minced onion, salt, and fines herbes. Stir 'em up and let all the flavors merge, and when they’re just warm, add ground pepper and minced fresh parsley and adjust the seasoning.

I like adding some French walnut oil to the just-warm salad to enhance the general nuttiness of the flavor. Tomatoes and/or hard-boiled eggs also make a nice garnish. But even just as it is, dinner guests will literally walk past pate de foie gras and homemade fresh bread and macarons aux marrons a la mode de Bergerac to get to this salad. (Once they’ve tasted it, that is: I have to admit that in the bowl it doesn’t look like much, just a heap of lentils flecked with parsley.)

I love lentils. I bookmarked this recipe for curried lentil soup. I haven’t actually tried it yet, but it looks lovely.

Epicurious has a lentil and barley soup that is yummy.

I stumbled across a recipe for sloppy joes using lentils vs. meat. I didn’t necessarily like the flavor when we tried it - the sauce wasn’t quite “right” - but the basic idea is you cook lentils in one pan, assemble / simmer the sauce in another, drain and add the lentils to the sauce. Took like 30 minutes start to finish. The kids actually liked it!


These lentil burgers are a great replacement for meat burgers, even for non vegetarians like myself. They have some kick, they are really tasty, and you can make them ahead and cook patties as needed (they will keep for about a week or more in the fridge). You don’t have to puree the lentils if you don’t have a food processor, a good mash will usually do the trick to make them stick together.
Also, the recipe makes way more than four servings, IME.

One of my favorite things to do with lentils is make my bastardized version of the Egyptian dish Koshari. It’s one of the best ways to have food for very little money, but I’d eat it at any time.

I cook about 1 c. of rice (in a rice cooker if you have one). Also ~ 10-12 oz. of macaroni (a whole box of mac & cheese minus the cheese is cheap), reserving the water. 1 lb. of lentils are boiled in the pasta water (with some salt) until tender. Once all these have cooked, they’re mixed together with the sauce.

The sauce is a simple tomato sauce and I prefer it to make a small amount of very stiff - just 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste, maybe a little tomato sauce, chili powder, pepper and 3-5 cloves of garlic, heated until the garlic is fully cooked.

The real key is the onions, which are added as a garnish. For this amount I’d usually want about 5 or 6 yellow onions (they can be cooked in two batches), sliced ringwise. They get cooked down in lots of oil until lightly carmelized. The goal for me is to keep the onions stringy and unbroken but soft and brown when finished. This can take quite a while with that many onions and may require healthy ventilation. The dish as I make it is kind of bland but the occasional bite of sweet onion makes it wonderful.

I often throw some handfuls of tiny red lentils into stews. They cook and dissolve into the gravy, thickening it a bit.

In the summer, I tend to make lentil salad, where I cook the lentils until they’re done but not mushy, then toss with whatever vegetably odds and ends I have around (leftover roasted vegetables! sauteed zucchini! celery leaves! diced raw crunchy stuff! herbs! etc.) and dress with a simple vinaigrette. We’re members in a CSA (community supported agriculture), in which one buys a share of a farm’s produce for the season, then gets deliveries weekly, so we frequently have little bits of a lot of vegetables, not enough in themselves to make a dish, so this has become one of my go-to ways of finishing off the week’s share.

In the winter, I will cut up bite-sized chunks of a mix of root veggies (white or sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery root, etc.), dice an onion, and mince up some garlic. Sautee the onion until softened, add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the veggies, some thyme, a dollop of tomato paste if you’ve got it, maybe some red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and a cup of lentils plus enough water to cook them; you can replace some/all of the water with wine or stock. Simmer until everything gets tender. Add a couple of tablespoons of mustard and/or a good splash of wine vinegar, and salt to taste. Top with some chopped parsley if you’ve got it. A hearty, quick and easy stew.

Hey thanks everyone for sharing recipes, they sound yum. I think I’m going to start with something simpler first - like a lentil salad with olive oil, parsley and tomato bits and then try the more complex stuff. I have enough lentils to try a lot of stuff out.

If you have green or brown lentils, this recipe is really tasty - basically lentils with fried onions and yogurt. I would add cumin and just a touch of cinnamon to it.

If you have red lentils, I love making (something resembling) dal - I saute some onions and garlic in oil, then “bloom” spices of Coriander, Cumin, red pepper, and turmeric (or any combination) for about 30 seconds in the oil. Then mix in lentils and water (I use a 1-3 ratio, but I like mine a little soupy) and cook until lentils are done. Serve over rice. It’s soo good, and the turmeric makes it a really lovely color.

I do this served on a bed of wilted spinach or other cooked greens. It really can’t be much simpler than this.

Now if you do get to a point that you want a more complex lentil recipe, try Kosharie. It’s an Egyptian dish so current events make it timely! Basically it’s lentils, rice, and macaroni (with garlic of course) topped with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions on top. I like serving with plain yogurt on the side and grill rather than fry the onions but I don’t think that that is too authentic.

I’ve been meaning to give this a try as it’s different then other lentil dishes I’ve had and sounds really good.