If you’re looking for a healthy, versatile and delicious ingredient to add to your meals, then look no further than lentils.
These tiny legumes are packed with protein and fiber, making them an excellent addition to any meal.
Unfortunately, some people don’t have access to lentils or just don’t like them.
That’s why I’m here!
In this article, I’ll be sharing the 8 best substitutes for lentils that will help you create delicious dishes without sacrificing nutrition or taste.
From quinoa and couscous to tempeh and black beans, there’s something for everyone in this list of creative alternatives.
So let’s get started!
What Are Lentils?
Lentils are a type of legume that is native to the Middle East and India.
They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, including green, brown, black, red/orange, yellow/golden and even purple.
Lentils are high in protein and fiber as well as essential vitamins and minerals such as iron and folate.
They also contain complex carbohydrates which provide sustained energy throughout the day.
Lentils can be used in soups or stews for added flavor and texture or cooked on their own with spices for an easy side dish.
They can also be ground into flour to make breads or pastas.
Lentils are incredibly versatile; they can be boiled, steamed, sautéed or roasted depending on your preference.
The 8 Best Substitutes For Lentils
Lentils are a versatile and nutritious legume, but they can be hard to find in some places.
If you’re looking for an alternative, here are ten substitutes that will still give you the same benefits:
1 – Beans
Beans are a type of legume, which is a plant family that includes lentils, peas, and peanuts.
They have been a staple in diets around the world for centuries and come in many varieties including black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, navy beans and more.
- How & When To Replace Lentils With Beans: If you find yourself out of lentils but have some different types of beans on hand they can be used as a great substitute. Start by selecting the right type of bean – depending on what dish you are making there will be different types that work better than others. For example if you’re making chili then kidney or black beans would work well whereas for soups white or navy beans might be better. Then cook the beans according to the instructions on their packaging (generally soaking overnight before cooking). The cooking time will vary depending on the type of bean so make sure to check this before starting your recipe!
- Common Uses for Beans: Beans are extremely versatile and can be used in many dishes from main courses such as chilli con carne to side dishes like refried beans or hummus. They can also be added to salads or pureed into dips such as guacamole. Some common uses include adding them to soups and stews for extra protein and flavor or using them as an alternative to meat in vegetarian dishes such as tacos or burritos.
2 – Peas
Peas are a type of legume that come in many varieties, including green peas, snow peas, and split peas.
They are small round seeds that grow in pods on vines and have a sweet flavor.
- How & When To Replace Lentils With Peas: Peas can be used as a replacement for lentils in soups, stews, salads, and casseroles. The texture will be slightly different but the flavor will still be delicious. When replacing lentils with peas, it is important to note that they require less cooking time than lentils so you should adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Common Uses For Peas: Fresh or frozen green peas can be cooked quickly and served as a side dish or added to soups and stews. Snow peas are popularly used in stir-fries while split peas make excellent hearty soups when cooked with vegetables and herbs. Dried yellow split peas are often used to make dal dishes which pair well with rice or naan breads.
3 – Chickpeas
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a type of legume that is native to the Middle East.
They have a nutty flavor and creamy texture when cooked.
Chickpeas come in two varieties – canned and dried.
The canned variety is already cooked and ready to eat while the dried chickpeas need to be soaked overnight before cooking.
- How & When To Replace Lentils With Chickpeas: Lentils can usually be replaced with chickpeas in most recipes without any major changes in flavor or texture. If you’re making a soup or stew, add the chickpeas at the same time as you would add lentils. For salads or sides, it’s best to cook them separately so they don’t become too mushy when combined with other ingredients.
- Common Uses for Chickpeas: Chickpeas can be used in many different dishes such as soups, stews, curries, salads, dips, sandwiches and more! They are especially popular in Mediterranean cuisine where they are often used in hummus or falafel dishes. They can also be roasted for a crunchy snack or blended into flour for baking purposes.
4 – Tofu
Tofu is a plant-based protein made from soybeans.
It is low in calories and fat, but high in protein and fiber. Tofu has a mild flavor that makes it easy to incorporate into many dishes.
- How & When To Replace Lentils With Tofu: Lentils are typically used as an ingredient in salads, soups, stews, curries, or side dishes. They can be replaced with tofu by adding cubes of firm or extra-firm tofu to the dish at the beginning of cooking for added texture and flavor. The tofu should be cooked until it is lightly browned before serving.
- Common Uses For Tofu: In addition to being used as a replacement for lentils in salads and other dishes, tofu can also be used as an egg substitute when baking cakes or muffins. It can also be blended into smoothies for added protein and nutrition or crumbled into scrambled eggs for a vegan alternative to omelets. Additionally, tofu can be cubed and marinated then grilled or stir-fried with vegetables for a flavorful meal option.
5 – Peanuts
Peanuts are a type of legume, but they are commonly referred to as nuts.
They grow underground and have a hard shell that must be removed before eating.
Peanuts have a mild nutty flavor with a slightly sweet aftertaste.
- How & When To Replace Lentils With Peanuts: Peanuts can be used in place of lentils in many dishes, such as soups and stews. To replace lentils, simply add the same amount of peanuts to your dish at the beginning of cooking or baking. The peanuts will cook just like the lentils and absorb some of the flavors from other ingredients in the dish. If you are using raw peanuts, make sure to soak them overnight before adding them to your dish so they soften up and become more flavorful.
- Common Uses for Peanuts: Peanuts can be enjoyed on their own as a snack or used in recipes such as peanut butter cookies or peanut sauce for noodles. Roasted peanuts can also be added to salads or blended into smoothies for extra protein and flavor. Ground peanuts can also be used as an alternative flour when baking muffins or breads, making it perfect for those who cannot tolerate gluten-containing grains!
6 – Soybeans
Soybeans are a type of legume that is native to East Asia, and they are one of the most widely consumed foods in the world.
They are high in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Soybeans can be eaten fresh or dried, but most commonly they are processed into products such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso paste, soy milk and other dairy-free milks.
- How & When To Replace Lentils With Soybeans: If you’re out of lentils or looking for an alternative to them in your recipes, soybeans can be used as a substitute. The best way to replace lentils with soybeans is by using cooked soybeans instead of dry lentils. Cooked soybeans have a texture similar to cooked lentils so they will work well in recipes like soups or stews where you want the beans to hold their shape. You may need to adjust cooking times slightly when substituting cooked soybeans for dry lentils since the cook time will vary depending on how long the beans were soaked before cooking them.
- Common Uses For Soybeans: Soybean products can be used in many different ways including making vegan cheeses or meat substitutes like tofu burgers and tempeh bacon. They can also be added to salads or stir fries for extra protein and flavor. Whole cooked soybeans can also be enjoyed as a side dish with seasonings such as garlic powder or cumin; they make an excellent addition to any meal!
7 – Kamut
Kamut is an ancient grain that is related to wheat.
It has a buttery, nutty flavor and a chewy texture when cooked.
The grains are larger than wheat berries, and they have more protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- How & When To Replace: Kamut can be used as a substitute for other grains such as rice or quinoa in recipes. It can also be used in place of lentils in soups and stews. For the best results when replacing lentils with kamut, it will need to be soaked overnight before cooking. This helps to soften the grains so that they cook faster and more evenly with other ingredients.
- Common Uses: Kamut is most often found as whole kernels or flakes which can be used for cereals or porridge-like dishes. The flour from kamut can be used to make breads, pastas, muffins, pancakes, crackers or cookies; however it should not exceed 25% of the total flour content due its strong flavor. Kamut is also popularly served as pilafs side dishes made with vegetables like mushrooms or onions for added flavor.
8 – Quinoa
Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds.
It is closely related to amaranth, and it has been cultivated in the Andes Mountains of South America since at least 3,000 BC.
Quinoa is high in protein and fiber, and it contains all nine essential amino acids.
- How & When To Replace Lentils With Quinoa: If you’re out of lentils or looking for an alternative to them, quinoa can be a good substitute. Since quinoa cooks faster than lentils, you’ll need to adjust your cooking times accordingly when using it as a replacement. You can also use quinoa instead of lentils in salads or soups; just remember that the texture will be different than if you were using lentils.
- Common Uses: Quinoa can be used in place of rice or other grains in many recipes. It can also be used as a breakfast cereal with milk or yogurt, added to soups and stews, served as a side dish with vegetables or meat dishes, made into veggie burgers or patties, added to salads for extra protein and crunchy texture, and enjoyed cold as part of an antipasto platter.
In conclusion, lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and can be used in a variety of dishes.
If you don’t have lentils on hand, there are many other ingredients that can be used as a good substitute.
Some of the best substitutes for lentils are beans, peas, chickpeas, tofu, peanuts, soybeans, kamut, and quinoa. All of these ingredients are high in protein and can be used to add flavor and texture to dishes.
The 8 Best Substitutes For Lentils
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.