What to CookLentil

23 Filling Soups, Stews & Salads, Courtesy of Lentils

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To me, lentils are a pantry hero. Possibly even a superhero. I can't count the number of times I've come home, tired and feeling "bleh," a corner of my mind nudging me sneakily to give in and order takeout even though I'd made myself a promise to cook more often. I open the fridge looking for inspiration—nothing. I turn to the pantry and find—dun dun dun DUNNN—lentils!

A Lentil for Every and Any Occasion
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A Lentil for Every and Any Occasion

I always make sure to stay stocked with a variety of these versatile pulses for just these times of desperation and hunger. Lentils cook quickly—much more quickly than beans, though we love them dearly—are a good source of protein, super affordable, and keep well (dried) for up to a year. Black beluga lentils become garlic-infused Sephardic megedarra, red split lentils cook up in a flash to make a smooth, home-y dal, and French green lentils (sometimes called 'Le Puy' lentils) are an excellent backbone for a smooth, curried soup or a portable, packable salad.

Rustle up a bag of lentils from your pantry (or go stock up), then try one of these 23 recipes on for size.

bulked-up lentil salads

French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese
French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese
Charred Broccoli and Lentil Salad

Charred Broccoli and Lentil Salad by EmilyC

Peter Miller's Lentils Folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil

Peter Miller's Lentils Folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and B... by Genius Recipes

Romantic French Lentil Salad
Romantic French Lentil Salad
Carrot, Lentil, and Feta Salad
Carrot, Lentil, and Feta Salad

rib-sticking soups & stews

How to Make Lentil Soup Without a Recipe
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How to Make Lentil Soup Without a Recipe
Lentil and Sausage Soup for a Cold Winter's Night

Lentil and Sausage Soup for a Cold Winter's Night by AntoniaJames

Frances Moore Lappé's Lentils, Monastery Style

Frances Moore Lappé's Lentils, Monastery Style by Genius Recipes

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Turkish Red Lentil Soup by ieatthepeach

Smoky Lentil Soup with Almond Picada

Smoky Lentil Soup with Almond Picada by EmilyC

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter
Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter
Lentil and Sausage Stew
Lentil and Sausage Stew

and everything else!

Ethiopian-ish Griddle Cakes
Ethiopian-ish Griddle Cakes
Mushroom & Lentil Tacos with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce
Mushroom & Lentil Tacos with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce
Crispy Roasted Shallot and Lentil Sheet Pan Mujadara

Crispy Roasted Shallot and Lentil Sheet Pan Mujadara by Sarah Jampel

Curried Lentils with Coconut Milk

Curried Lentils with Coconut Milk by Alexandra Stafford

Joe Beef's Lentils Like Baked Beans

Joe Beef's Lentils Like Baked Beans by Genius Recipes

Curried Coconut Lentil Shakshuka

Curried Coconut Lentil Shakshuka by EmilyC

Creamed Lentils with Kale
Creamed Lentils with Kale
Vegan Lentil Bolognese with Cashew Parmesan
Vegan Lentil Bolognese with Cashew Parmesan
Sephardic Megedarra with Garlicky Brown Rice Pilaf

Sephardic Megedarra with Garlicky Brown Rice Pilaf by creamtea

Judy Rodgers' Lentils Braised in Red Wine

Judy Rodgers' Lentils Braised in Red Wine by Nicholas Day

Lentil Meatballs with Indian Fenugreek Sauce
Lentil Meatballs with Indian Fenugreek Sauce

How do you put lentils to work in the kitchen? Tell us in the comments!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Vegetable, Weeknight Cooking, Winter, Vegetarian, Vegan