Favorite Lentil Recipes - Skillful Cook
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Favorite Lentil Recipes

You know those awesomely long and totally overwhelming posts that have one million recipe links? This is not going to be one of them.

This is just a love letter to lentils. With a few links.

Lentils in a clear container.

My sisters were here this week (hey, how about I tell you the same thing 100 times and you pretend I didn't? sheesh.) and I uncovered a shocking secret about my younger sister: SHE HAS NEVER TRIED LENTILS. Or had never, until this week when she stayed with me and obviously, I fed her her very first lentils like any big sister would. After her first bite, she said, “Yummmm. They taste kind of like beans.” What?!?!?!?

I might have been in denial for the last few years. Not everyone buys lentils on every grocery trip. Or has any idea where to find them in the store or how to make them or why in the world they should make them. So in honor of my own personal love for all things lentil and the fact that these lentil recipes are some of my favorite recipes EVER done on Skillful Cook, I thought this post was very necessary.

Lentil newbies, I love you and this is for you!

What are lentils? Basically, beans. Small, cute little protein-packed beans.

Where do I buy lentils? At the grocery store, usually in the canned or dried goods section. I'm guessing it will be by the other dried beans. Here in the Philippines, I can buy them canned, but I've never seen that in the states.

How much do they cost? At home, I could buy them for less than a dollar per pound.

Are they really that healthy? Fiber, protein, folate, iron... gang's all there. For real!

How do I make them? Basically, you have to boil them until they're soft. No presoaking or any other annoying steps required.

Will I like eating them? Yes.

Lentil Recipes with collage images.

Red Curry Lentils: amazing (like, honestly the best ever) flavors from the coconut milk, curry paste, and garam masala, plus a pretty red color. For surely the best lentil starter recipe for all you newbies. I've actually gone so far as to name this my personal #1 favorite Skillful Cook recipe. Wait, do I have to choose just one? There are a lot that I love and most of them involve more stuff like sugar and butter and chocolate. But I reeeeeally love this one.

Easy Red Lentil Dhal: made in about 20 minutes, made in about 20 minutes, made in about... saucy and mildly spicy, perfect over rice, and made in about 20 minutes. All over it.

Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes and Lentils: coconut milk FOR LIFE, can be stew-thick or soup-thin, with tomatoes and sweet potatoes and cabbage to round out the health-ometer.

Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry: extra healthy because of the squash and tomatoes, super creamy and smooth consistency, fills you up forrrrever, and hey! you can use any kind of squash.

Coconut Green Curry Lentils: very green - including spinach - yay, a light and bright flavor from the green curry paste, making it all cozy and saucy and perfect for pajama dinners.

Thai Basil Coconut Lentils: super unique, bright, fresh lemongrass and ginger flavors from the tom kha paste, plus extra veggies for lots of color and texture variety, loads of fresh basil.

Apparently lentil recipes are affected by that same shopping principle that makes you gravitate towards buying different varieties of what is really the same item, every.single.time. Does that happen to the rest of the world? I definitely have at least 50 varieties of the exact same cheapo flip flops in my little shoe cabinet. Want to know what I brought way too much of to the Philippines? FLIP FLOPS. Good grief.

At least the good thing is that I wear one pair of them.


In the end, my sister gave red curry lentils two thumbs up even though we made it with broccoli and it sort of turned brown. You can't lose here, friends. Lentils for life!

Haaaaappy weekend!

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh gawsh, I am in a constant love affair with lentils. I go through so many in a week! I’m new to your blog (just found you yesterday through foodgawker) and really appreciate this post. I know I’m goin to live it here if the first notification I get from you is a lentil one! Have a great weekend 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Ah! Yes. It’s a good one. I don’t even know what inspired me to make it way back when, but it’s inspired many variations since then!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    i freaking LOVE lentils Lindsay! I eat them often and have made your thai basil lentils before! i don’t think i mentioned that to you though. amazing! love all of these photos and recipes. i could never make lentils look so beautiful. i hope you’re feeling better Lindsay – just read your post about being ill and in the hospital. hope you enjoyed the time with your sisters! xo

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Funny! Glad you liked those thai basil ones.. they’re one of my faves especially when I’m craving something out of the box. And yes, I’m feeling better, and yes we had a great time together. 🙂 Thanks for the nice comment Sally!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m kinda a lentil newbie; only had it once at this really cool East African restaurant my sister and I spontaneously went to. It was delicious! All of these lentil recipes look really tasty, and the creamy thai lentils sounds especially intriguing. Think I might try that one out! 🙂

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    We had your green curry lentils just a couple days ago. Good stuff.
    I have a girlfriend who’s obsessed with Trader Joe’s pre-cooked lentils. They come in a one-pound container in the produce section. She uses them for everything. Most recently I had a salad of hers that was basically the lentils with Greek salad ingredients and fresh herbs with a balsamic vinaigrette. Beyond delicious.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am completely in love with lentils, they are so easy and versatile!! Plus they are so healthy, especially for we meatless bunch!! 🙂

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I agree with the love for lentils. I’ve got 3 kinds in my cupboards currently. I’ve been known to eat them by the spoonful right out of the pot while still on the stove.

    I actually made your squash curry the other night, the boys of the house claim to HATE squash, and were none the wiser that their beloved curry was hiding a boatload of healthy squash, mwahahaha!

    My goal is to make all these recipes. Yummy!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    YES! I love lentils! LOL…I took lentil soup with me to work one day (I’m a nurse), and some of my coworkers were like”WHAT is THAT??!?”. “Why, they’re lentils…:)”. Actually, you can buy canned lentils here in the states too, but they are already seasoned as a soup. Progresso makes ’em. SO yummy. Thanks for this post!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Sweet! I’ve actually had a canned lentil soup back home, I think it’s Amy’s Organic brand, but here you can just buy them straight up like you would any other beans! I love it!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    So sweet of you to bring the little sister into the wonderful land of lentil! I love lentils and love that you love lentils…and will be trying each and every one of your lentil recipes! Great lentil roundup!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m in the lentil-love club, too! I have a kid who needs a lot of fiber and so I’m always trying to squeeze beans in to recipes (bad mental image? sorry). Imagine my delight when he loved green lentil soup at an Ethiopian place we like! Thanks for the great recipes and for showing the lentils some love!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Like your sister, I’ve not eaten lentils but if they taste like beans and they are good for you then I’m all for them. Thanks for the links to all your great recipes.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Really happy to see this post about lentils. I absolutely LOVE them! I thought I was the only one. I MUST try these recipes!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve always liked lentils (I’m a semi-vegetarian) but never had a really exciting recipe…until I saw yours. My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures! Can’t wait to try some of these recipes.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is fabulous-I want to cook lentils-I like lentils-I have been afraid of lentils…had a bad bead experience and after hours of simmering ended up with something no one would eat, nor would I serve…tonight it is red curry lentil time for me and mine!