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21 High Protein Lentil Recipes: The Ultimate Guide

This roundup of 21 high protein lentil recipes 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 to learn how much protein is in lentils and to see my favorite high protein vegan recipes, with lentils!

This roundup of 15 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.

What is the protein level of different lentils?

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 (by type)

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.

How to Meal Prep with Lentils

Lentils are great for meal prep because they can easily blend into SO many meals. This post details a few of my favorite ways to include them in salads, pastas, and more. To meal prep with lentils, sometimes all you need to do is cook up a plain batch in the beginning of the week and add them to any place you’d like more protein. Even this vegan gravy recipe is a good use of nontraditional lentil enjoyment!

How to Make a High Protein Meal with Lentils

Lentils are an easy substitute for beans or ground meat in many recipes. So, start there when brainstorming how to best use them! For example, substituting lentils for meat in a burger recipe would be a very simple swap that would likely save you money and time.

If you’re not sure if you enjoy lentils, I recommend adding them to a dish you’re already a fan of first, just to see. For example, if you’re going to make a salad to bring for lunch, try adding a spoon of lentils on top for texture + interest! You may like them more than you realize, and they really pack a punch of protein.

Read on for examples of high protein lentil recipes!

1) Vegan Lentil Salad with Lemon and Feta

overhead shot of lemony lentil salad with spoons
Lemony Lentil Salad

2) Roasted Beet and Carrot Lentil Salad from The Bojon Gourmet

white plate with carrot salad on wooden board

3) Pressure Cooker BBQ Lentil Sloppy Joes from Emilie Eats

vegan sloppy joe with red cabbage on tray

4) Rosemary Roasted Potato, Mushroom, and Kale Lentil Salad from Hummusapien

kale salad on white plate next to fork

5) French Onion Shepherd’s Pie from The First Mess

pot with lentil stew covered in creamy mashed potatoes on a tablecloth

6) Marinated Lentils with Crunchy Vegetables from Bon Appetit

bowl with lentils and fresh green herbs

7) Sweet Potato Red Lentil Curry from Lazy Cat Kitchen

blue pot with sweet potato stew

8) Sourdough Sandwich with Mushrooms, Kale, and Lentils from Green Kitchen Stories

white plate with sourdough toast with mushrooms and lentils

9) Lentil Walnut Taco Meat from Oh She Glows

white plate with romaine lettuce leaf with pico

10) Salsa Verde Lentil Tacos with Mango-Pomegranate Pico from Ambitious Kitchen

5 tacos with mango salsa on a cookie sheet

11) Comforting Lentil Bolognese from Choosing Chia

spaghetti in white bowl with red bolognese sauce

12) “Cheesy” Lentil Chili Casserole from Making Thyme for Health

fusili pasta in casserole dish with cheese sauce

13) Coconut Sweet Potato Lentil Soup from Half Baked Harvest

white bowl of yellow lentil soup with naan bread

14) Instant Pot Mujadara from Feasting at Home

white bowl with salad, red tomatoes, and mujadara

15) Madras Lentils from Zestful Kitchen

white bowl of red chili with bread

16) Best Lentil Soup from Cookie and Kate

white bowl of brown lentil soup

17) Zesty Lentil Burger from Conoisseurus Veg

burger on paper in front of red curtain

18) Curried Lentil Stuffed Peppers from From My Bowl

high protein vegan meal with three green peppers in a white dish

19) Sauteed Garlic and Tomato Lentil Salad from Pinch of Yum

pan with lentil tomato salad and wooden spoon

20) Lentil Salad with Spring Veggies from Feasting at Home

green spring salad on white plate with silverware

21) 5-Minute Creamy Lentil Hummus from Sweet Simple Vegan

high protein vegan meal with hummus in a white bowl

Portrait of Emily Meyers, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Emily (Frigon) Meyers is the founder of Garlic Head, a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets while saving time and money. She is a lifelong vegetarian and 10+ year vegan. Garlic Head does not focus on labels - it focuses on creating food that everyone can enjoy.

Emily earned a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University along with degrees in Economics, Spanish, and Global Sustainability from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been featured on numerous podcasts and websites including The Food Institute, VegNews, Buzzfeed, and the Boston Globe.

Meet Emily here.

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