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Cooking With Lentils {Ask the Readers}

I recently received this question in an email from Jennie.

Do you cook with lentils very much?

Well Jennie, my husband who will eat just about anything, and I do mean just about anything, hates lentils.

Lentils, chickpeas, and nutmeg are his three least favorite foods, so my tips for cooking and using lentils are pretty much non-existent. So, I am hoping my readers can help you out.

Do you have any tips, recipes, or links to recommend for using and cooking with lentils?


Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I love Alton Browns recipe for Lentil soup.

  2. I recently tried a recipe for crockpot lentil soup with other veggies and stuff that was pretty good I will have to look for the recipe but it was on

  3. Well, one recipe link:
    Which I haven’t tried.
    But the Greek way to eat lentils, soup, is just boil with chopped onions and serve with a tablespoon of vinegar and olive oil in each bowl. We usually forget the oil but the vinegar just brings out the taste beautifully. A loaf of crusty bread and mmmmmm.

  4. I think lentils work really well in soups. I just add about 1/2 cup dry lentils to my slow cooker soups and my family hasn’t complained. There are different kind of lentils, so maybe a different color would be better received?

    I used red lentils last week in a sweet potato & carrot soup and it was good. I have also used in rice dishes. However, I have never just served plain cooked lentils. Lentils are super healthy though, so it’s probably worth experimenting with them! Good luck.

  5. To me, lentils taste just as good as any peas or beans. But the great thing about them is they don’t need to be soaked and cook up tender in 30-40 minutes.

    • I’ll echo Lisa. The great thing about them is they cook up so much faster then other dried beans. I would think any thing you do with a dried bean you could do with lentils only faster.

  6. This is a little off the wall, but I have daughter who is now 1 year. At her 9 month check up, she was having so much trouble with her bowel movements that the doctor told me to buy Miralax for her. Instead, I was able to cook lentils, blend them and add them an ice cube at a time to her other food. It didn’t really effect the taste of the food, but it really, really helped her and helped us avoid the Miralax! Amazing stuff those Lentils! 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing. My baby was about the same age when his doctor said the same thing. I didn’t want to give him Propolen Glycol(dispite it being an ingredient in some processed foods) . I totally forgot how well lentils work for the bowels. I made my grandpa a cake once, substituting lentils for the fat(butter) because of his diabetes and he complained of the bowel action. Thanks for the reminder. I best get my baby some lentils.

  7. My family loves lentils! One of our favorites (and a super cheap, super healthy way to eat them) is Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole.

    We like it with the Italian seasonings but I’m going to try it with Mexican (cumin, chili powder, etc). I bet it would be good.

    We also do a lot of lentil stew/soup. Easy to throw in the crockpot and have warm yummy soup ready when everyone gets home.

  8. My husband is from the Middle East and one of my favorite of his mom’s recipes is called mujudarrah. It’s basically brown lentils cooked with rice, then topped with crispy fried onions and served with either plain yogurt or salad (think coleslaw, but dressed with lemon and olive oil instead of mayo). It’s one of the few vegetarian dishes that I don’t feel deprived eating. Here’s a link to the recipe/technique. Enjoy!

    • +1!!!!! I’m a recovering vegetarian, and I made this one often – and should make again, I’m thinking now! This is one of the meatless dishes that pretty much anyone will love.

    • I’d love to see this, but it says it’s for invited readers only!

  9. Love this recipe – Smoked sausage and lentil soup:
    Also, my family loves lentil tacos. You cook the lentils in chicken broth until done, add some cumin and chili powder and about 1 cup of salsa, mash them with a potato masher, then cook out the extra liquid until you reach the consistency you want. Serve in taco shells or with chips.

  10. We enjoy lentils in soups — this one is a new favorite:

    The key to making lentils is soaking them first — helps insure digestion of the protein.

  11. We love lentils, and I recently posted a new favorite recipe.

  12. I use lentils – but in a rather unconventional way. I use them to stretch my ground meat. I make up batches of this and store it in the freezer in 2 cup portions. Each 2 cup portion equals…roughly…one pound of ground meat.

    I cook the lentils til soft. No particular recipe here. Just what looks good to you. Sometimes I cook them in water. Sometimes I use beef bullion or beef broth.

    Then I brown ground turkey and some ground beef. My family isn’t a huge fan of straight ground turkey. But no one complains when I mix it half and half with ground beef.

    I also cook down some carrots, celery, onions and garlic. (Either very small diced or shredded.)

    When all the veggies are soft, I mix them together with the cooked ground meat and the drained lentils.

    I figure I added extra vitamins and minerals. The flavor of any dish I make with this is boosted. And I got more for my money because the veggies and lentils are so cheap.

  13. We use lentils to stretch meats as well as in middle Eastern dishes that call for them. The 30-40 minute cooking time can be cut down by soaking them if you remember in the morning, makes the cooking time around 15 minutes and they seem to break up less when cooking this way. I have also had success substituting completely for beef mince for meat-free Mondays or when pesky vegetarians visit – use cooked and add the liquids the recipe calls for slowly, less may be required, as well as a shorter cooking time.

  14. Donna Scott says

    Great comments. My husband doesn’t care for lentils either but ya’ll have given me some new ways to add them to our menus.

  15. My kids (18,11,&5) & I LOVE lentil, my husband does not – in fact he will not eat them under any circumstances. Lucky for us, he works 3rd shift 4 nights a week.
    We do not like lentils in soup or as a meat substitute. Our 2 favorites are crock pot lentil tacos (a variation of a recipe in fix-it-&-forget-it-light), and Dhal from the moosewood restaurant cookbook. Wish I had links to share, I’ve been making them so long, it’s from memory.

  16. Funny – those are exactly the same things my husband can’t stand. I keep trying to convert him, though, so I’m grateful for all the good comments. Poor husband – he wishes I would just give up the dream.

  17. Alton Brown’s Lentil Cookies are divine! I usually add chocolate instead of dried fruit. Haha. I do warn you, the smell of cooking lentils will empty a house, but once they are baked into cookies you can’t tell anymore. We eat them as a quick protein pick me up afternoon snack.

  18. I love lentils because they are so easy. No soaking required. High in fiber too.

    Here are a few recipes I have. Sorry that not all have pictures since I am still getting everything updated from my blog move.

    Lentil Minestrone Stew
    Spicy Sausage Lentil Soup
    Lentils, Garlic & Tomatoes

  19. Until recently, I would have sworn up and down that I HATED lentils–even though I had only eaten them a couple of times. Hubby and I decided to really attack our debt Dave Ramsey style this year, which means shaving off as much as humanly possible from our grocery budget to put against bills and debts. We decided on the somewhat radical (for us) idea to only eat meat 3 times per week (which is how I knew hubby was ready to tackle debt–he’s a meat-a-saurus). I researched cheap complete or near-complete proteins and discovered that lentils are used as a substitute for meat in many place of the world where they don’t have as much meat to spare. I now make them into a soup where I cook lentils with barley (and assorted other nummy things like spices and carrots) in veggie broth for about 40 minutes. I LOVE it. It’s hearty and, frankly, cheap as they come. I didn’t have the same issues the others described with it stinking up the house, but it may be because it was cooking in broth and the lid was on, so I can’t comment on the stinkiness. Good luck!

  20. My husband grew up eating lentils……so he enjoys them. I make a lentil soup….saute some onion and celery in a little coconut oil. Add 1 carton chicken broth, 1 can Rotel tomatoes, 1 cup dry lentils. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. You may add 4oz of black forest ham, cut into to bite size pieces if desired. ( I do this ) If you add the ham, just add with the lentils. Sometimes I add a little water while cooking, as this is not too soupy. I serve this with homemade cornbread. Yummy!

  21. I forgot to add that I use 1-2 garlic cloves, minced , also. Saute with the onion and celery. Oops.

  22. I’m getting ready to try a new recipe for Lentil Chili. I will let you know if it turns out good. If so, I’ll post a link!

  23. I make a really good Lentil Vegetable soup from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cookbook. My 7 year old requests this soup!

    And I recently started making Lentil Sloppy Joes- these were a huge HIT with my 7, 4, and 3 -y-o boys! Yum!

  24. I guess I’m in the minority, because my husband loves lentils. Actually one of his all time favorite dishes is Dhal Makhani. It’s very simple to make, uses common ingredients, and the flavor is amazing.

  25. I made the Lentil Chili recipe today from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen and it is DELICIOUS!!!!!!! I will be making this often!

  26. 1) Lentils are great with rice- 50% brown rice, 50% lentils.
    2) Cook lentils in a pot like you would rice. Cook rice in a seperate pot.
    3) Meanwhile, slice onions and brown in olive oil. Add curry powder and salt to onions as they cook.
    4) Stir together curried onions, lentils, and rice.

    You can also add mushrooms to the onions as you cook them if you like.
    One of my favorite lunches!!!

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