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What To Serve With Lentils [17 BEST Side Dishes]

Lentils are super versatile, so you can serve them in all sorts of ways! I use them in soups, salads, and stews. They have a subtle earthy flavor and go well with herbs such as thyme or rosemary, vegetables like carrots, celery, or tomatoes, and proteins such as pork, chicken, or fish.

Can’t decide what to serve with your lentils? Look no further. This article reveals 17 delicious side dishes that will take your lentils to the next level.

The best dishes to serve with lentils are roasted vegetables, grilled chicken, pan seared salmon, and creamy polenta. For more meatless options, try portobello mushrooms or garlicky eggplant. For a lentil curry or soup side, go with coconut rice, grilled flatbread, or cornbread.

Sides and proteins to serve with lentils

Lentils are a nice, healthier alternative to something like rice or pasta. And because they’re relatively plain, you can serve them with pretty much anything, but here are my favorite options.

Roasted vegetables

This colorful medley of roasted vegetables is a feast for the eyes and your tastebuds.

Eggplant, bell peppers, zucchinis, and onions are tossed in olive oil and a blend of herbs, then roasted until they’re tender and caramelized. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables and you also get some smokiness from the slightly charred edges.

Mix them into a steaming hot bowl of lentil dish for a healthy meal.

Why we love this recipe: it’s really easy to customize.

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Mediterranean roasted vegetables
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Moroccan vegetable medley
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Roasted root vegetables

Garlic shrimp

Elevate your lentils into a date-night worthy meal with some perfectly seared shrimp.

You’ll need to keep an eye on them while they’re cooking because they can quickly turn rubbery. And it’s best to use a high smoking oil (like avocado oil) so you get that beautiful sear.

Psst… serve your shrimp over lentil risotto for a fun twist on a classic Italian pairing. 

Why we love this recipe: they’ll give you a restaurant quality meal in your own home.

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Garlic butter shrimp
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Bacon-wrapped scallops
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Pineapple shrimp

Grilled flatbread

If you’re looking for an introduction to baking your own bread – consider this a sign.

You can get it on the table in an hour, and you have a nice fluffy inside with a crisp outside. The char marks from the grill impart a delicious smoky flavor too

It’s also easy to switch up the ingredients. You can mix garlic, olives, or your favorite herbs into the dough.

Why we love this recipe: it’s super versatile.

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Grilled chicken

Infuse your lentils with a smoky kick by serving them with this grilled chipotle chicken.

The spicy chipotle marinade is also infused with garlic, lime, and a hint of honey for balance. You can cook the chicken however you like, but I find grilling it works best. The marinade stays in place and you get an extra touch of smoky flavor.

Serve with a yogurt dip for anyone who needs a edge taken off the spice.

Why we love this recipe: it transforms a plain chicken breast into something delicious.

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Chipotle marinated grilled chicken
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Yogurt marinated chicken skewers

Cauliflower steaks

These cauliflower steaks are a fantastic option to serve with lentils. 

The homemade shawarma spice blend adds a nice warm flavor to the naturally nutty cauliflower, and the recipe also includes a herby tahini sauce that rounds out the whole dish.

Serve these steaks over a bed of cooked lentils for a healthy, meat-free dinner meal. 

Why we love this recipe: it’s something different most people won’t have tried before.

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Shawarma-spiced cauliflower steaks with herb tahini sauce
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Grilled cauliflower steaks
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Garlic broccoli steaks

Creamy polenta

Lentils are often used as a base, but they also make an excellent topping for polenta. Especially a saucy dish like a lentil ragu, because the polenta can absorb all the sauce.

The lentils’ prominent earthy flavor is an excellent contrast to the polenta’s rich, creamy goodness. 

Pro-tip: you can use any milk you like, but for maximum creaminess, use whole milk. 

Why we love this recipe: it makes uses of a lesser known, budget friendly ingredient.

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Creamy polenta
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Herb and garlic mashed potatoes

Tahini eggplant 

Eggplants are like sponges.

They have a soft and tender texture, and will soak up any flavors you put on them.

And no – you don’t need to salt the eggplants to draw all the moisture out before cooking them.

This is a myth, and just creates extra fuss!

Why we love this recipe: one serving only has 158 calories.

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Pan-seared salmon

Salmon and puy lentils are a classic French pairing.

And it’s easy to see why.

The oily, rich salmon pairs wonderfully with the earthy lentils. The French always like to keep things simple in the kitchen, so this salmon is dressed with lemon, garlic, and a pinch of dill.

Why we love this recipe: it’s easy but gourmet.

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Buttermilk cornbread

A hefty slice of buttermilk cornbread is perfect with a piping-hot bowl of lentil soup.  

This version is moist and buttery, with an irresistible sweet-savory bite. 

It’s just what you need to soak up all the goodness from your soup’s broth. 

Psst… you can use any baking vessel for this recipe, but if you want those crispy edges, use a cast-iron skillet. 

Why we love this recipe: it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

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Coconut rice

Planning to turn your lentils into a heartwarming curry? 

Remember to whip up a batch of coconut rice for a starchy accompaniment! 

This Thai-inspired version uses coconut milk and coconut water for maximum flavor.The creaminess will help mellow out the heat and spices in your lentil curry. 

Why we love this recipe: it works well with brown or white rice.

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Dishes you can make with lentils

Lentils can also be turned into the main attraction by using them as an ingredient. Salad bowls are my go-to, but lentils are also perfect for replacing meat in dishes like shepherds pie.

Lentil curry

Warm up with a bowl of comforting lentil curry. This dish is rich in spices and simmered to perfection, allowing the lentils to absorb all the aromatic flavors. And the butter adds a creamy texture, making this curry irresistibly smooth.

Pair it with rice or naan for a hearty, satisfying meal. And make enough for leftovers because it tastes just as delicious the next day.

Why we love this recipe: it’s a cozy dish for any season.

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Indian butter lentils
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Lentil Buddha bowl

Buddha bowls are healthy bowls made up of small portions of different foods, normally served cold (but hot ones are becoming more common).

There’s usually a variety of vegetables, a grain, and then some protein like tofu or chicken. 

This Buddha bowl recipe focuses on winter produce, with broccoli, sweet potatoes, and of course, lentils!

Why we love this recipe: it’s ideal even for busy weeknights.

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Lentils shepherd’s pie

This isn’t technically a side, but I wanted to include it anyway!

Lentils are a fabulous alternative to minced meat, making them great for dishes like shepherd’s pie

And with a buttery, cheesy sweet potato mash on top – you’re in for a treat.

Why we love this recipe: it’s guilt-free comfort food.

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Lentil stuffed portobellos

Ease yourself into meatless Mondays with a tasty portobello mushroom.

The mushrooms have delightful meaty texture, and they’re filled with deep umami flavors – making them a perfect plant-based substitute.

And this unique cashew and lentil stuffing will have everyone asking for the recipe!

Why we love this recipe: they’re great for starters or mains

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Lentil soup

Lentil soup is a classic winter warmer.

But this recipe gives it a Mexican twist. It’s meant to be a vegetarian version of chicken tortilla soup, but I think that downplays how delicious this is!

Especially once you’ve topped it with some creamy avocado and yogurt. YUM.

Why we love this recipe: it’s an easy way to get more vegetables into your diet.

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Lentil and pomegranate salad

From a winter lentil bowl to a summery one, this vibrant salad will bring a fresh twist to your lentil game.

The pomegranate seeds add a burst of juicy sweetness that contrasts beautifully with the earthiness of the lentils. Then everything is tossed with a light lime-based dressing to add some zest.

Serve it chilled for a refreshing side on a warm day.

Why we love this recipe: it’s a colorful and nutritious addition to any table.

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Lentil fritters

Crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside, these lentil fritters are a treat. And they’re baked, so you don’t need to feel guilty about eating a few in one sitting.

The patties are also a great way to sneak in some extra veggies. Dip them in a tangy yogurt sauce or your favorite chutney for an extra flavor kick.

Why we love this recipe: it’s a fun and inventive way to enjoy lentils.

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Read Next: The Best Way To Reheat Lentils

What To Serve With Lentils [16 Side Dishes]

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your lentils.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, British, Indian, Middle Eastern
Keyword: lentil side dishes, what to serve with lentils
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 116kcal


  • 1 portion Lentil shepherds pie
  • 1 portion Cauliflower steaks
  • 1 portion Pan seared salmon
  • 1 portion Coconut rice
  • 1 portion Lamb lollipops
  • 1 portion Grilled flatbread … and more


  • Prepare your lentils according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: shawarma-spiced cauliflower steaks, roasted portobellos, garlic butter-seared scallops, buttermilk skillet cornbread, peanut tofu buddha bowl, garlicky roasted eggplant, lamb “lollipops” with chermoula, creamy polenta, lentils shepherd’s pie, coconut rice, and grilled flatbread.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


Serving: 100g | Calories: 116kcal

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