Lentils are one of the best plant-based protein sources around. I mean, they contain 50 grams per cup. That’s hard to beat. At first, figuring out how to use them can be overwhelming. But Nisha Vora, the chef and author behind Rainbow Plant Life, decided to sum up the best—and easiest!—ways to add the humble legume to your diet.
“I eat lentils almost every single day—sometimes twice a day, TBH,” she she wrote in an Instagram post. “When your diet includes a slice or three of every cake/brownie/pancake recipe you test, you need to balance it out with some heart-healthy, fiber-rich, protein-packed foods like lentils.”
At this point, Vora is a pro: She says she cooks a batch of two of lentils every week. If you want to learn how to use them yourself, here are some of the top ways she recommends doing so.
How to Use Lentils, According to a Healthy Food Blogger
1. Add Them to Your Grain Bowls
Grain bowls are the perfect easy lunch or dinner. Vora says she starts with a grain base (quinoa, millet, brown rice, etc.) then tops it with cooked lentils and some veggies, like lightly-dressed greens or sautéed greens, roasted sweet potatoes, winter squash, or steamed broccoli. Really, whatever you’re into. “Then jazz it up with condiments (tahini, hummus, hot sauce), a healthy fat source (avocado, toasted nuts or seeds, olives), and any other toppings (cashew parmesan, gomasio, flaky sea salt).”
2. Toss Them in a Stew or Soup
If you’re already planning on whipping up a warm and cozy soup or stew to help you get through these cold winter days, grab some lentils to add heartiness and flavor to the mix. “Stir cooked lentils into any soup or stew you’re making to add a protein punch,” she says.
3. Spread Lentils on Your Flatbread
One of the best flatbread toppings of all time is—you guessed it—none other than lentils. “Mash up lentils with hummus, then spread it onto a flatbread and top with greens for an easy lunch,” she says. It’s basically a healthier, high-protein pizza.
4. Make a Lentil Hummus
It’s hard to imagine hummus without chickpeas, but lentils make for a great substitute. The different kinds allow you to create different flavors to dip your carrots and celery into. “Use lentils instead of chickpeas in your next hummus recipe,” Vora says. “I adore chickpeas, but sometimes you need variety.”
5. Top Your Roasted Veggies
If you want to make a grain-free meal, Vora recommends grilling or roasting a hearty veggie—like portobello mushrooms, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or cauliflower—and topping it with lentils. “You can also add some high-fat condiments of your choice—like olives, roasted nuts or seeds, or guacamole—and devour,” she says.