12 Hearty Meals with Lentils

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Dried lentils are one of the very best pantry staples. No matter which variety you prefer, lentils are wonderfully versatile. They know no season, and have a place on the table through breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are filling yet light at the same time.

Whether you’re in the mood for soup, salad, stew, or something a little more robust, lentils can really do it all. They have the power to turn a plate of leafy greens and vegetables into a meal, or even create a filling salad all their own. Blend them into a soup, or bulk up your favorite stew or chili. They also make a heartier substitute for meat in main dishes, like shepherd’s pie.

The Basics of Cooking Lentils

Soups, Stews, and Chilis

Throughout the winter months (and beyond!) soups, stews, and chilis are on constant rotation in my meal plan. A scoop of lentils adds some bulk and a boost of protein to make these warming meals even more satisfying.

Roasted Cauliflower Bowl with Lentils & Sweet Potato Hummus(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Salads and One-Bowl Meals

Make a pot of lentils — any type you have in the pantry — during Sunday meal prep, and you have a quick way to turn even the simplest of salads into a hearty meal.

Tomato-Braised Lentils with Broccoli Rabe(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Braises and Casseroles

This is how to turn wholesome lentils into a totally comforting meal. These toothsome pulses take wonderfully to braising and are a great choice to tuck into casseroles.