What goes with Lentils
Category Pairs With
Fruits None typically paired
Vegetables Carrots, onions, celery
Spices/Herbs Garlic, thyme
Proteins Sausage, chicken
Breads & Grains Rice, whole-grain bread
Drinks Red wine, water

Lentils are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and salads to curries and side dishes. With their protein-packed goodness and ability to absorb flavors, lentils are a great addition to any meal. In this article, we will explore different ways to incorporate lentils into your cooking, providing you with a range of delightful pairings and recipes that will elevate your lentil dishes from casual to gourmet.

Key Takeaways

  • Lentils are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes.
  • Lentils are protein-packed and have the ability to absorb flavors.
  • There are various ways to incorporate lentils into your cooking, such as making lentil salads, soups, curries, and side dishes.
  • Popular lentil dishes include lentil salad with walnuts and goat cheese, lentil and chickpea soup, and lentil curry with vegetables.
  • Lentils make a nutritious addition to any meal and can be enjoyed by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Cooking Lentils: A Guide

Lentils are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and salads to curries and side dishes. To make the most of lentils in your cooking, it’s important to understand how to cook them properly and choose the right variety for your desired dish. Here, we provide a comprehensive guide to cooking lentils, including tips, cooking times, and recommended varieties.

Lentil Varieties

There are several types of lentils available, each with its own unique flavor and texture. Here are some popular varieties:

  • Brown lentils: These lentils hold their shape well when cooked and are perfect for salads and side dishes.
  • Green lentils: Also known as French lentils, they have a slightly peppery taste and retain their shape even after cooking. Ideal for salads and hearty soups.
  • Red lentils: These lentils cook quickly and become quite soft and mushy, making them ideal for soups, stews, and curries.

It’s worth experimenting with different lentil varieties to discover your favorites and the best matches for different recipes.

Cooking Tips

Before cooking lentils, it is important to rinse them thoroughly to remove any debris. Unlike other legumes, lentils do not require soaking before cooking. Here are some tips for cooking lentils:

  • For every cup of lentils, use two cups of water or vegetable broth.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until the lentils are tender. This process usually takes around 20-30 minutes, but cooking times may vary depending on the variety of lentils.
  • Add seasoning, such as salt, pepper, or herbs, during or after cooking to enhance the flavor of the lentils.

Once cooked, lentils can be stored in the fridge for up to five days or frozen for longer storage. They can be easily incorporated into various recipes to add a nutritious and protein-packed element to your meals.

Lentil Variety Cooking Time Best For
Brown Lentils 20-30 minutes Salads, side dishes
Green Lentils 25-35 minutes Salads, soups
Red Lentils 15-20 minutes Soups, curries

Lentil Salad Recipes

Lentil salads are a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy lentils. They can be paired with a variety of vegetables and grains to create satisfying and flavorful salads. Whether you’re looking for a light and refreshing salad or a hearty and filling meal, there’s a lentil salad recipe to suit your taste.

Here are a few popular lentil salad recipes to inspire you:

  1. French Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese: This salad combines tender French lentils with crunchy walnuts and creamy goat cheese. The flavors are enhanced with a tangy vinaigrette dressing, making it a perfect choice for a light lunch or dinner.
  2. Lentil Salad with Roasted Carrots and Fennel: Roasted carrots and fennel add a sweet and earthy flavor to this lentil salad. The addition of fresh herbs and a zesty lemon dressing elevates the dish to a whole new level of deliciousness.
  3. Lentil and Spinach Salad: Packed with nutrients, this lentil and spinach salad is both healthy and satisfying. The combination of tender lentils, fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, and a tangy balsamic dressing creates a vibrant and flavorful salad.

These lentil salads can be enjoyed as a main course or served as a side dish to complement other dishes. They are versatile, easy to prepare, and can be customized to suit your preferences. Whether you’re a vegetarian or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, lentil salads are a fantastic option.

lentil salad recipes

Tasty Lentil Salad Recipe

If you’re looking for a tasty and filling lentil salad recipe, try this simple yet flavorful combination:

  1. Cook 1 cup of green or brown lentils according to package instructions. Drain and let cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cooked lentils with 1 diced cucumber, 1 diced bell pepper, 1/4 cup of chopped red onion, and a handful of chopped fresh parsley.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the lentil mixture and toss to combine.
  4. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

This simple lentil salad is packed with flavor and can be enjoyed on its own or as a side dish. Feel free to customize it by adding your favorite vegetables or herbs. It’s a versatile recipe that can be easily adapted to suit your taste.

Lentil Salad Recipes Preparation Time Serving Size
French Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese 20 minutes 4 servings
Lentil Salad with Roasted Carrots and Fennel 25 minutes 6 servings
Lentil and Spinach Salad 15 minutes 4 servings

Lentil Soup Recipes

Lentil soups are a comforting and flavorful dish that can be enjoyed year-round. Whether you’re looking for a hearty meal on a cold winter day or a light and refreshing option in the summer, lentil soups are versatile and satisfying. These recipes are perfect for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, as they can be customized with a variety of vegetables and spices to suit different tastes.

Here are some delicious lentil soup recipes to try:

  1. Spicy Lentil and Vegetable Soup: This soup is packed with flavor and spice. It combines red lentils with a medley of vegetables like carrots, celery, and bell peppers, and is seasoned with cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Serve it with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro for a complete and satisfying meal.
  2. Creamy Coconut Lentil Soup: This soup is rich and creamy, thanks to the addition of coconut milk. It features green lentils simmered in a fragrant broth made with ginger, garlic, and turmeric. The result is a warming and comforting soup that is both nourishing and delicious.
  3. Italian Lentil and Tomato Soup: This soup is a twist on the classic Italian tomato soup. It combines lentils with diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, and Italian herbs like basil and oregano. Garnish it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil for an extra touch of flavor.

These lentil soup recipes are easy to make and can be prepared in a pot on the stove or in a slow cooker for added convenience. They can also be stored in the fridge or freezer for future meals, making them a great option for meal prep. So go ahead and give these hearty lentil soups a try – your taste buds will thank you!

hearty-lentil-soups-image

Lentil Curry Recipes

Lentils are a staple in Indian cuisine, where they are often used to make flavorful curries. Lentil curries, also known as dahl, are made by simmering lentils with spices, aromatics, and sometimes vegetables. These vegetarian lentil curries are not only delicious but also packed with protein and nutrients. Here are a few mouthwatering lentil curry recipes to explore:

1. Red Lentil Dahl

“Red lentil dahl is a comforting and aromatic curry that is quick and easy to make. With its vibrant color and creamy texture, it is a delightful dish that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with rice or naan bread. The red lentils lend a mild and slightly sweet flavor to the curry, while the blend of spices creates a rich and aromatic sauce.”

2. Lentil and Vegetable Curry

“This lentil and vegetable curry is a hearty and nutritious dish that is packed with flavors. The combination of lentils, seasonal vegetables, and fragrant spices creates a wholesome and satisfying meal. Whether you use cauliflower, spinach, or mixed vegetables, this curry is a fantastic way to incorporate more veggies into your diet.”

3. Lentil and Coconut Curry

“Lentil and coconut curry is a creamy and aromatic dish that combines the earthiness of lentils with the sweetness of coconut milk. The creamy texture of the coconut milk balances the spices and adds a touch of sweetness to the curry. This indulgent curry is perfect for those who enjoy a milder and slightly sweeter flavor profile.”

These lentil curry recipes are customizable, allowing you to adjust the spices according to your preference. Whether you like a mild and creamy curry or a spicy and robust one, lentils are a versatile ingredient that can accommodate a range of flavors. Serve these delicious curries with rice or bread for a complete and satisfying meal.

lentil curry recipes

Lentil Side Dish Recipes

Looking for delicious and nutritious accompaniments to complement your meal? Look no further than these mouthwatering lentil side dish recipes! Lentils are the perfect ingredient to add a hearty and satisfying element to any dish. Let’s explore a few versatile lentil side dishes that will elevate your meal to the next level.

Lentil and Root Vegetable Salad

This vibrant salad combines earthy lentils with a mix of roasted root vegetables, creating a medley of flavors and textures. Tossed in a zesty vinaigrette, this dish is packed with nutrients and makes a perfect side for grilled meats or roasted chicken.

Lentil and Halloumi Salad

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option that’s both filling and delicious, this lentil and halloumi salad is a winner. Grilled halloumi cheese adds a savory element to the earthy lentils, while fresh herbs and a tangy dressing bring all the flavors together. Serve it as a light lunch or as a side dish at your next gathering.

Lentil and Rice Pilaf

Add a touch of elegance to your dinner table with this fragrant lentil and rice pilaf. Infused with aromatic spices like cumin and cinnamon, this dish is a perfect blend of flavors. Whether you’re serving it with roasted lamb or as a standalone vegetarian option, this pilaf is sure to impress.

These lentil side dish recipes are just a glimpse of the endless possibilities that lentils offer. With their versatility and nutritional value, lentils are a wonderful addition to any meal. So go ahead, get creative in the kitchen, and enjoy the delightful taste and texture lentils bring to your side dishes!

By Mat Stuckey

Ex professional chef with a passion for cooking and unique flavours.

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