Lentils may not be the most attractive ingredient in town, but that doesn’t mean they should be avoided. Full of protein and fiber, easy to prepare, a great alternative to meat, and super tasty if done right, lentils are actually a great go-to.

These 21 easy and delicious lentil recipes are the perfect way to add protein (and flavor) to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And hey, some of them are legit pretty too.

Photo: Punctuated With Food
Hello, protein! Lentils, fried egg, and walnuts combine to make this dish a protein powerhouse. It also provides a nice crunch that’s atypical of lentil dishes. A great way to fuel for a long day and a tasty way to sneak in some greens, this meal just may be your new morning favorite.
Photo: Little Spice Jar
The word “detox” may make you think bland, but this recipe is anything but. Full of sweet potato, carrot, red bell pepper, onion, spinach, lots o’ garlic, and spices galore, this soup is the perfect dish to make on the weekend and enjoy throughout the week. Top with Greek yogurt for added creaminess or hot sauce for extra heat.
Photo: Pinch of Yum
The vibrant veggies, creamy eggs (they’re cooked with goat cheese!), refreshing herbs, and hearty potatoes make this an ideal dish for any time of day. Skip the eggs to make it vegan and add a tahini sauce for added plant-based flavor.
Photo: Cookie + Kate
Let’s taco-bout how good these lentil tacos are. Smothered in creamy chipotle sauce, stuffed with lentils and roasted cauliflower, and hugged together with a warm tortilla, they just may be the healthiest tacos we’ve ever seen—and some of the tastiest. Sub Greek yogurt for mayo for extra protein, and because it tastes that much better.
Photo: The Almond Eater
Whoever said lentils aren’t pretty clearly hasn’t seen this recipe. Topped with delicately sliced zucchini, bursting roasted grape tomatoes, a sprinkle of microgreens, and perfectly browned halloumi, this is the salad we’ve been dreaming of. For extra greens, top on a bed of arugula or spinach and add an extra drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon for the dressing.
Photo: Girl Versus Dough
Super quick, super easy, and super delicious, these spicy lentils are just what the doctor ordered on dreary mornings or weeknights when you simply can’t bother—to cook, that is. All it takes is minimal chopping; a few stirs; a wee poaching (or fry, if that’s how you prefer your eggs); and the will to lift up your fork, plunge it into yolky heaven, and chew. It may even force you to smile.
Photo: The Full Helping
Did you say healthy pie? Why yes, yes we did. This vegan spin on shepherd’s pie is a crowd-pleaser for a reason: It’s creamy, filling, flavorful, beautiful, and did we mention creamy? Layered with spiced lentils and mushrooms and a sweet potato and bread crumb topping, this dish makes winter (and holidays) way more tolerable.
Photo: Katie at the Kitchen Door
What the duck is dukka? Glad you asked. It’s an Egyptian mixture of herbs, spices, and nuts—and it’s divine. The recipe calls for homemade, but it can also be found at specialty food stores or Trader Joe’s. Simply roast tomatoes with harissa, cook the lentils, soft boil eggs, roll the cooked eggs in dukka, and enjoy the best (and most inventive) breakfast concoction ever.
Photo: Will Cook for Friends
We love zucchini noodles, but mixing them with plain ol’ sauce just doesn’t do the trick. This recipe beefs things up with not-so beefy meatballs. Lentils combine with oat flour, chia seeds, all kinds of herbs, and chopped onion to create a super-filling, protein-packed ball that rivals those made with meat. Preparing the balls takes a bit of effort (read: time), so plan accordingly.
Photo: Lauren Caris Cooks
This soup is the perfect balance of sweet and salty. The apple and parsnip base also ensure that it’s all kinds of creamy, even though it’s vegan. Topped with black lentils, chili flakes, scallions, and root veggie chips, it’s a great dish for playing with all kinds of flavors (and textures) with minimal effort in the kitchen.
Photo: Diethood
These tasty fritters can be prepped in 20 minutes and cooked just as fast. The result: crispy, savory, spinach-filled fritters that taste like they were made for the citrusy sour cream sauce. Feel free to sub Greek yogurt if you prefer, and try adding shredded sweet potato to bulk them just a little bit more. These are an awesome way to sneak greens and protein into an easy weeknight meal.
Photo: The Stingy Vegan
We love anything that’s both fast and healthy. Because sometimes, there simply isn’t time to slave away in the kitchen. This sprouted lentil wrap is as simple as spreading hummus onto a tortilla (we highly recommend a spinach wrap), topping it with all kinds of veggies, seasoning it with smoked paprika and salt, sprinkling a handful of sprouted lentils (and brown rice, if desired), and rolling the nutritious bad boy up and enjoying it’s fresh, light flavor.
Photo: The Iron You
Whether you already eat vegetarian or you’re simply looking to go meatless for the day, this bolognese is exactly what we wish for from a meat-free pasta. Hearty, full of protein, dense (but not too dense), and ready to eat in 30 minutes flat, it may even convince you to go meat free for good. To make it gluten-free, use quinoa pasta or zoodles.
Photo: Detox DIY
If you don’t love the texture of lentils, opt for a recipe where they’re puréed, like this soup. This recipe is made with red lentils (our favorite kind—shhh, don’t tell the others); onion; garlic; carrot; and a variety of spices like turmeric, coriander, and cumin. Requiring a short simmer and quick blend, this soup is a great dish for beginners.
Photo: Vanilla and Bean
These lentil sloppy joes taste as good as they look—possibly better. Cooked in a homemade, barbecue-esque sauce made with tomato paste, sauce, pickle juice, Worcestershire, mustard, and maple syrup, they’re one of those meals that taste decadent but are packed with healthy ingredients. The lentils also freeze well and taste even better when reheated.
Photo: Midlife Croissant
This egg breakfast is super filling and tastes indulgent, but it doesn’t weigh you down. It’s also incredibly easy to make and a great dish for a crowd. Lentils are simmered in a tomato, leek, and shallot sauce before eggs are cracked into the skillet for baking. Feel free to add spinach or other veggies. The recipe creator's only requirement: Don’t skip the whipped goat cheese.
Photo: The Endless Meal
Curry is one of the most popular lentil dishes. And for good reason: Lentils soak up the heavenly curry flavor and are perfect for scooping up with naan, pita, or a good ol’ spoon. Though it takes an hour to cook, most of that is time where the soup simply simmers, and the end flavor is all kinds of worth it. Top with cherry tomatoes and cilantro.
Photo: The Foodie Physician
Stuffed sweet potatoes are our go-to meal for easy, nutritious lunches and dinners. This recipe takes things to the next level with seriously spiced curry lentils and an extra dose of protein (and creaminess) from its Greek yogurt topping. Want it for breakfast? Skip the yogurt and top with a fried or poached egg.
Photo: Blissful Basil
Vegan, gluten-free, seriously delicious, and oh-so filling, these carrot-lentil cakes are a great dish for a dinner party or date night if you’re looking to serve something fun while keeping things healthy. Serve on a bed of arugula, in a warm pita with added veggies (like cucumber and red onion), and make sure to dress generously with the garlic-herb sauce.
Photo: The Healthy Maven
Whether it’s sweater weather and you’re looking for extra warmth or it’s the end of a long, indulgent weekend and you need a nutritious meal to reset, this soup is the answer. Filled with sweet potato, kale, onion, carrot, celery, and a variety of herbs, this soup just makes you feel downright good. It’s also one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day, making it perfect for leftovers.
Photo: Vegan Richa
These seedy, slightly spicy fritters are the perfect vegetarian topping for a salad or grain bowl. Packed with omegas, protein, incredible spices, and even some hidden greens, they’re a great wait to sneak in nutrition without sacrificing flavor. Pro tip: Use fresh dill for the tahini sauce. It ups the flavor like whoa.
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