22 Flexitarian Dinner Recipes with Lentils
These dinner recipes featuring lentils are perfect for the flexitarian diet. Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber and can be used in a variety of ways. Plus, it is a super budget-friendly protein. Try the legume in recipes like Squash & Red Lentil Curry and Kale & Lentil Stew with Mashed Potatoes for a filling flexitarian-friendly dinner.
Kale & Lentil Stew with Mashed Potatoes
Fire-roasted tomatoes add slightly smoky flavor to red lentils. The addition of mashed potatoes gives this an upside-down shepherd's pie feel.
Squash & Red Lentil Curry
This healthy red lentil curry recipe has a rich flavor and complexity that tastes like it takes hours to prepare. Butternut squash and coconut milk combine with the lentils to make a hearty vegetarian dish. Serve with brown rice or naan bread.
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pies
These mini vegetarian shepherd's pies feature lentils, carrot and corn, crowned with a velvety mashed potato topping. The recipe can also be made in a broiler-safe casserole dish. Serve with a spinach salad with oranges, walnuts and red-wine vinaigrette.
Roasted Root Veggies & Greens over Spiced Lentils
This earthy bowl of lentils bursting with Middle Eastern flavors is topped with leftover roasted root veggies from a large batch for an easy weeknight dinner. Keep it vegan or add a drizzle of plain yogurt for extra richness.
Very Green Lentil Soup
Lentils seem to go well with just about anything, and here they play well with a collection of greens and some cumin and coriander to add a gentle spicy note to this soup recipe. The result is a hearty winter soup with layers of flavor. Both French green lentils (available in natural-foods stores and specialty markets) and more commonly available brown lentils are delicious in this soup. The French green lentils hold their shape better when cooked, while brown lentils will start to break down a bit.
Winter Vegetable Dal
This southern-Indian-inspired vegetable dal recipe is rich and creamy thanks to light coconut milk and gets exotic flavor from spice-infused coconut oil. Serve with flatbread or naan.
Chilean Lentil Stew with Salsa Verde
This healthy vegetarian recipe is hearty and satisfying. Don't skip the parsley relish (salsa verde)--it's easy to make and lends a tangy accent that balances the flavors of the lentil stew. We prefer French green lentils for this stew, as they don't fall apart while cooking; however, regular brown lentils (found in most supermarkets) will also work.
Lemony Lentil Soup with Collards
You don't need broth for this lentil soup recipe--it's rich thanks to the browned bits in the bottom of the pan that meld into the soup, packing it with flavor. Ground coriander, from the seed of the cilantro plant, has a floral, citrusy flavor that dovetails nicely with the lemon.
Walnuts and fresh marjoram accent these vegan lentil burgers. Substitute oregano for marjoram if you like. Serve with a smear of whole-grain mustard and roasted sweet potato wedges.
Slow-Cooker Moroccan Lentil Soup
Like most soups, this Moroccan lentil soup recipe gets better with time as the complex seasonings have time to develop. Make it a day ahead if you can--this easy slow cooker/crock pot recipe variation makes it a cinch to get the soup cooking while you do other things.
Lentil & Roasted Vegetable Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Goddess dressing typically gets its umami-ness from anchovies, but we use miso in this super green salad recipe to keep it vegetarian. Substitute 2 chopped anchovies for the miso if you like. Or add baked tofu, poached salmon or grilled chicken for a boost of protein.
Vegan Mediterranean Lentil Soup
This vegan Mediterranean lentil soup is packed with fresh ingredients and plenty of lentils that deliver a healthy dose of fiber in each bite. This vegan soup is the perfect cold-weather lunch or healthy dinner the whole family will love.
One-Pot Lentils & Rice with Spinach
This hearty vegan dish gets its earthy flavor from cumin and brown rice. If you can handle extra heat, try doubling the crushed red pepper for a bigger punch of flavor.
Lentil Bowls with Fried Eggs & Greens
Lentils are a quick and easy protein. We like French green lentils, which hold their shape when cooked.
Vegan Shepherd's Pie
Lentils take the place of ground meat and vegan butter adds creaminess to the mashed potatoes in this easy vegan shepherd's pie recipe. If you want to cut down on the cooking time, use precooked lentils and omit most of the vegetable broth, adding some in only if the mixture seems dry.
Squash and Lentil Soup
After some quick prep, your slow cooker will do the rest of the work. This Indian-inspired, high-protein soup has sweet butternut squash, earthy brown lentils and garam masala, and will delight the whole family.
Mixed Greens with Lentils & Sliced Apple
This salad with lentils, feta and apple is a satisfying vegetarian entree to whip together for lunch. To save time, swap in drained canned lentils--just make sure to look for low-sodium and give them a rinse before adding them to the salad.
Slow-Cooker Lentil, Carrot & Potato Soup
Puréeing some of the lentil-vegetable mixture, and then combining it with the remaining vegetables and lentils gives the soup a texture that satisfies those who love a creamy soup and those who prefer it chunky. Serve this slow-cooker lentil soup with crackers.
Slow-Cooker Dal Makhani
Using a slow cooker for this dal curry recipe is brilliant--the lentils cook until they're perfectly tender. For the creamiest results, use whole urad dal (versus split), which you can get online or at Indian markets. This particular bean breaks down beautifully, giving the dish its rich, creamy texture. For a stovetop variation, see below. Serve it over rice with Indian-style green chutney and a side of plain yogurt.
Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash
In this stuffed squash recipe, a spicy red lentil curry stew fills acorn squash. If you find them at your market use tasty jarred piquillo peppers in this.
Lentil & Root Veggie Soup
French green lentils and black lentils hold up well to long, slow cooking without becoming mushy. Save the rinds from used-up blocks of Parmesan in a resealable plastic bag or tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. They give soup broths a rich, savory flavor.
Squash, Chickpea & Red Lentil Stew
Modeled on North African stews, this aromatic vegetarian main course can be served over brown rice or steamed spinach.