If you’ve decided to eat a plant based / vegan diet, you are likely to be doing lots of cooking with lentils. High in protein and fibre, they are a great healthy substitute for meat.
Cheap, nutritious, versatile and delicious. What’s not to love?
Which Lentils Should You Buy?
Lentils can be bought in most UK Supermarkets, either dried in packets or pre-cooked in tins.
Three types of lentils we keep in our store cupboard:
- Dried green or puy lentils. Our favourite are the Merchant Gourmet dried puy lentils
- Dried red lentils
- Tinned green lentils in water
We find that red lentils cook faster and have a softer texture, whereas green or puy lentils take a little bit longer to cook and add more texture to a dish. This means that the type of lentil used will depend on the recipe you are making.
Top Tips for Cooking with Lentils
- Always rinse your lentils thoroughly before cooking.
- Pay attention to the recommended serving size on the packet. The lentils will swell as you cook them. You might not need as many as you think.
- Keep an eye on the liquid levels while cooking. Lentils will absorb the liquid, making the food stick to the pan. If your lentils need cooking for 20 minutes but you are almost out of liquid at 10 minutes, add more liquid.
- Cook lentils on a gentle simmer.
Our Favourite Lentil Recipes
Quick and Easy Red Lentil Daal
Our daal recipe may not be the most authentic, but it’s quick, easy and we almost always have the ingredients required.
We like to serve our daal with wholegrain or basmati rice and a great big dollop of Alpro plain yoghurt. To make this meal more filling, we will sometimes serve it with naan breads.
Lentil Stew with Dumplings
This is such a wholesome winter warmer, full of flavour and packed with delicious root vegetables. We like to serve our stew with fluffy mashed potato and crispy dumplings, but it would be equally delicious with a baked potato – especially on a cold autumnal evening.
The Happy Pear – Epic Cottage Pie
This recipe uses tinned lentils, which reduces the amount of cooking time on the hob. The Happy Pear recommend serving this cottage pie with a coriander pesto which we were a little unsure about, but it works perfectly with the sweet potato mash. Give it a go!
Cookie and Kate – Best Lentil Soup
She’s not lying, it’s the best lentil soup. When we have kale in the fridge that needs eating up, we will reach for this recipe. The depth of flavour is immense! Again, we like to serve ours with Alpro plain yoghurt.
Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese
For any vegan newbies, we would always recommend veganising meals you already make. It’s less daunting that way. Lentils are a great meat replacement in a bolognese sauce, for maximum flavour chop up plenty of garlic, onion, peppers and mushrooms, be generous with Italian herbs and top with your favourite vegan cheese. Delicious!