Lentils

Vegetarians are no strangers to this tiny, lens-shaped legume. It has long been used as a meat substitute and is featured prominently in Middle-Eastern and Indian cuisine. Lentils are high in fiber and protein and are packed with nutrition. There are three main varieties – brown, reddish orange and yellow. Brown lentils, or European Lentils, are the most popular variety and is the main ingredient in Indian Dal, a spicy lentil soup. They can also be used to spruce up salads and stews. Check out our guide to this astonishing legume for delicious recipes and recommendations.

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Loaded Pita Nachos with Lentil Chili and Feta Queso

Rating: Unrated
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In this recipe for plant-based nachos, pita chips are drizzled with a feta queso and then laden with lentil chili, harissa-spiked pickled cabbage, and a dollop of creamy labneh. Make the chips, queso, and cabbage ahead of time to help this dish come together easily, or use store-bought pita chips, if desired. The tangy feta queso gets its smooth body from the addition of red lentils and is a versatile ingredient on its own, says Cassie Piuma of Sarma in Somerville, Massachusetts: "We use this queso in mac and cheese and sub it in as a sauce for eggplant parm or moussaka."

Tadka Dal with Roti

Rating: Unrated
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Briefly heating spices and dried chiles in oil or ghee allows their flavors to bloom, creating a flavorful tadka that serves as the backbone of this dish. It also adds a crispy, spicy finish to the creamy mixture of mung beans, lentils, and pigeon peas.

Mason Jar Salads – Lentil and Herbs

The secret to this bright, crunchy salad-in-a-jar is to toss the cooked lentils with the vinaigrette while they’re still warm. Slideshow: More Lentils 
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Lentil Soup with Apple and Bacon

Rating: Unrated
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This pleasantly sweet-and-tangy lentil soup from chef Vivian Howard’s cookbook Deep Run Roots gets a little wake-up from the addition of diced Granny Smith apple right before serving. Howard also likes to swirl in fresh buttermilk to brighten up the rich lentils and bacon. Slideshow: More Lentils Recipes 

Fried Spiced Red Lentils

Rating: Unrated
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F&W’s Kay Chun makes this dead-simple and addictive snack by pan-frying lentils and tossing them with salt, pepper and paprika. Slideshow:  More Lentil Recipes