Lentils are one of the most versatile pantry items you can have on hand. From stews to salads and sides, they can add bulk to any dish and take it from sad to satisfying. Sometimes all they need are a nice little party of spices, again from the pantry, but a sprinkling of fresh herbs is gamechanging and can brighten everything up to a whole new level.
Remember that lentil recipes can call for either red, green or brown lentils (or a mix of the three) and there usually is a reason for that: apart from taste, generally speaking, the key difference between the three is in the finished texture when cooked - red lentils easily break down just after 20 minutes of cooking, while green lentils take the longest and maintain their firm shape even after 40 minutes of boiling. A lentil salad will want a different kind of lentil to a creamy filling made for a lentil croquette, so, choose your lentils wisely.
Michelin starred chefs love lentils too - they are a key ingredient in chef Alexis Gaultier’s vegan ‘faux gras’, and Massimo Bottura also features black lentils in one of his dishes at the highly acclaimed Osteria Francescana restaurant in Modena.
Check out these six lentil recipes that you can easily try this week at home.
6 Best Lentil Recipes
Love a good pasta bake? You will love this creamy lentil bake full of fall veg. Simply leave out the sausage to keep it vegetarian.
Red lentils disintegrate more easily than any other lentils, and therefore are the ideal choice for these croquettes where we want a soft inner texture. If you can’t find red lentils, go for the more earthy, rich flavoured brown lentils; they won’t break down as much as the red but are still a better choice than say, green lentils.
With the main ingredients being just carrots, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, this is the perfect rent-week recipe. If you don’t have a strong coriander-aversion, feel free to use it here instead of parsley.
Canned tomatoes make this soup come together in a cinch, with most of the cooking time spent waiting for the lentils to cook. An easy recipe for any time of the week.
Transform a British classic into a vegetarian meal that everyone can enjoy. A creamy lentil centre plus a cheesy potato topping make for a cozy, satisfying dish that will make you forget about the meat, or lack thereof.
Paneer is a very common fresh cheese found in India with a mild, milky flavour and a dense, crumbly texture. It won’t melt like mozzarella when warm, and this is a good thing - it’s perfect to add to curries where it adds extra texture and mellows out the heat-factor. Think of it as India’s answer to tofu.
Black lentils take a little longer than red lentils to cook, so add the different lentils at separate steps. Apart from this, the recipe is smooth sailing, so grab your spices and try it out tonight.