This roundup of 21 high protein vegan meals features a star of the plant-based space: the trusty lentil! Versatile, cheap, easy to use and SO delicious, you’ll love featuring it in so many recipes. From tacos to soups to salads and more, read on for my favorite vegan lentil recipes!
What are lentils?
Let’s get right to it: lentils are the star of the show today! For many great reasons. Lentils are an edible legume (like a bean) that grown in a pod shaped like a lens (hence the derivative of the name). They do not require soaking before cooking and are typically ready in under an hour. Lentils are extremely high vitamins and fiber and contain a whopping 18 grams of protein per cup.
There are many varieties of lentils that are common today (grouped by similarity):
- Red and yellow lentils: Commonly used in Indian dhals, these lentils cook up the quickest and are brightly colored.
- Brown and green lentils: The most common kinds of lentils, these are also the most versatile and hold their shape well.
- Puy lentils: Grown in volcanic soil in a specific region of France, these lentils are bluish-green and have a strong flavor.
- Beluga: Small black lentils that resemble caviar, these have an earthy flavor.
I typically buy brown or green lentils as they’re the most convenient, but below we’re featuring all kinds. High protein vegan meals can sometimes be difficult to come by, but not with the help of lentils.
How To Cook Lentils
The cook time for each lentil will depend on the variety you’re using. Here are some quick reference tips:
- Red and yellow lentils: Since these lentils are split into smaller pieces, they cook up very quickly. If adding to a dish like a stew, throw them in the pot when there is 15 minute left in cooking time. If cooking them separately, use a 1.5 : 1 ratio of water to lentils, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Brown and green lentils: If adding to a soup, place in pot when there are 40 minutes left of cooking time. If cooking separately, use a water to lentil ratio of 3:1 for these legumes. They will need longer to cook, usually around 40 minutes. Bring to a boil and simmer until this time is up.
- Puy lentils: Bring 2 1/4 cups water to boil and add 1 cup of lentils. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Beluga lentils: Bring 2 1/4 cups water to boil and add 1 cup of lentils. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
Read on for examples of high protein vegan meals with lentils!