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Cooking with Lentils

Hearty and earthy, this Canadian-grown legume is great in so many recipes.

Hearty and earthy, this Canadian-grown legume is great in so many recipes.

1On top of salads

Open, drain and rinse a can of lentils for an instant salad topper. They pair especially well with dark leafy greens and tomatoes.

2For lentil soup

Red lentils, carrot, celery and potato is all you need to create a hearty lentil soup in about 25 minutes.

3In brownies

Pureed cooked lentils make the perfect addition to brownies, cookies and loaves – they add moisture and texture that can’t be replicated!

4In dal

Red lentils cook down to a porridge-like consistency in Indian-spiced dal, a traditional dish made with lentils, onion and spices such as cumin, coriander and chilies.

5In burgers

The perfect meatless hamburger will use green or brown lentils to replace beef.

Enjoy Lentils in these Delicious Dishes

For kale lovers

The emergent popularity of kale may have you asking the question “can I use kale in this soup instead of spinach?” The answer is a resounding yes! Any hardy green leafy vegetable will do – you can also try Swiss chard, collards or mustard greens.

Swap potatoes for sweet potatoes

For a sweeter edge, and a bonus boost of vitamin A, use sweet potatoes to replace the regular potatoes in this recipe.

Turn soup into stew

To make this soup into a stew, simply add less water to the recipe. Reduce water by a cup or two, and serve the resulting thick soupy-stew over brown rice.

Use red lentils, not brown

Lentils come in many varieties, including brown, green, du puy, black and red. But only the red lentils will be the right fit for this recipe, since they have a different consistency than all the rest. While most lentils hold their disc shape when cooked, red lentils cook down to an oatmeal-like consistency. That’s what makes this soup so creamy and delicious!


Lentils are small, but they pack a big nutritional punch. They are a great source of folate, B-vitamins, iron and zinc, and boast high levels of fibre and protein too.


Lentils can help lower cholesterol levels. The soluble fibre in these mighty legumes forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, which traps cholesterol and carries it out of the body. This is an important factor in preventing heart disease.


Lentils are also an important ally if you have high blood sugar levels. Eating lentils as part of a meal can help control and stabilize blood sugar levels, an important consideration for people with diabetes. The high fibre content in lentils prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, legumes like lentils can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.


But that’s not all. In addition to soluble fibre, lentils also contain insoluble fibre, which is equally important! Research has shown that insoluble fiber helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, and prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

Warm Spiced Lentils

This wonderful twist on Greek salad definitely has its roots in the Mediterranean.

See full recipe

Add your salad to a pita

While this salad is great on its own, it also makes a wonderful sandwich filling. Stuff it into a whole grain pita with a dollop of hummus for a delicious lunch. Or, serve it on a bed of salad greens, such as mesclun or baby spinach.

No need to soak lentils

While most legumes need to be soaked for a few hours before they are cooked, lentils do not require this step. Simply rinse and cook for 25-30 minutes for perfect lentils every time.


Dry lentils needs to be boiled. The correct way to boil green, black or brown lentils is to combine three cups of liquid (water or broth) for each cup of lentils.


Lentils placed in already boiling water will be easier to digest than those that were brought to a boil with the water. To breakdown some of the non-digestible fibre in lentils (the stuff that causes gas), add a bit of seaweed, such as kombu, to the cooking liquid. When the water returns to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer and cover. Boil for 25-30 minutes.


Red lentils require less water and a shorter boiling time. Combine 1 cup of red lentils with 2 cups of water, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.


These cooking times can be slightly adjusted depending upon the final use. If you are going to be serving lentils in a salad or soup and desire a firmer texture, remove them from the stove top when they have achieved this consistency—typically 5 minutes earlier than their usual cooking time.


If you are making dal, lentil soup, or another dish with a mushier consistency, achieving this texture may take an additional 10-15 minutes.

Add olives for flavour

To add another layer of flavour to this salad, toss in a few Kalamata olives in the last step when you add the feta cheese. Or, capers will work well here too.

Healthy Bite

Canada is the global leader in lentils! We produce and export more tons of lentils than any other country globally

Lentil history is extensive – there are records of lentils being part of the diet 13,000 years ago!

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