Lentils can be found throughout much of the world, varying in color from red and orange to dark brown and black. These legumes are wonderful staples to add to a plant-based diet. They’re highly nutritious and a good source of energy. Just a ¼ cup serving of dry lentils contains 165 calories. Lentils are also low in fat.
Aside from being nutritious, the varying colors of lentils makes them beautiful additions to plant-based dishes. What’s more, they’re usually cheap! Bought in bulk, lentils are a great way to get a ton of bang for your buck. Here are 10 great ways to use lentils in all kinds of dishes:
1. Make a Salad
Lentils can be eaten cold, so try using them for delicious, refreshing salads, such as a spicy lentil salad.
2. Bake in a Pie
Lentils get a soft, tender texture when cooked in vegetable broth to use in pies. These legumes are excellent main ingredients for shepherd’s pies. Try making lentil and veg mini shepherd’s pie, lentil and mushroom shepherd’s pie, or a vegetable lentil shepherd’s pie.
3. Make a Party Dish
As with other legumes, lentils take on a soft texture when cooked that translates well into dips. With a food processor or blender, you can easily make quick, tasty dips and party dishes. For your next get-together, try making turnips with caramelized onions and toasted lentils, lentil crusted tofu with awesome dipping sauce, or pureed lentil dip with caramelized leeks.
4. Roll into Meatballs
Lentils are a perfect ingredient for getting a tough, meaty texture, which makes them useful for vegan meatballs. Check out this post on how to make lentil meat balls.
5. Make Veggie Burgers
If you like to get creative, try using lentils as your starting point and base and adding whatever your heart desires to make your custom, perfect veggie patty. Or, try these red lentil burgers with kale pesto.
6. Make Tacos
7. Make a Dazzling Dinner Dish
Lentils have a gorgeous texture and color, since they can vary from green and yellow to brown and black. Be creative and make beautiful dishes that you can share with a group around a table. Try impressing your guests with a lentil loaf or lentil-kale vegan risotto.
8. Sprout Them
Lentils are healthiest if you sprout them yourself. Eat the sprouted lentils by themselves, throw them atop a salad, or make this sprouted green (moong) lentils and peanut salad.
9. Make them in Soup
Lentils pair well with soup ingredients like celery, carrots, and potato. Try making a more traditional lentil soup or a hearty-barley-lentil soup with potatoes.
10. Make Indian-inspired Dishes
Lentils are a staple of Indian dishes, so try them in authentic style by using Indian spices and making them into curries. Try your hand at the cuisine with simple lentil dal, South Indian lentil stew, and Indian tangy lentils with curry leaves and red chilies.
Now that you have a plethora of ideas for cooking lentils, try making one of these recipes for a filling, healthy meal.
Image source: Red lentil burgers with kale pesto