If you’re wondering what to serve with your lentils, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I list 39 of the most popular side dishes for lentils.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best dishes to serve with lentils are cauliflower steaks, lamb “lollipops” with chermoula, pan seared salmon, and creamy polenta. For more meatless options, try portobello mushrooms or garlicky roasted eggplant. For a lentil curry or soup side, go with coconut rice, grilled flatbread, or cornbread.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Lentils are great for replacing other boring starches like rice or potatoes as a side dish for fancy centrepieces.
My favorite ‘main’ to serve with lentils are cauliflower steaks. But any kind of fish or meat will do.
Shawarma-spiced 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.
Shawarma-spiced cauliflower steaks with herb tahini sauce
Fire up the grill
Grilled cauliflower steaks
Make it different
Garlic broccoli steaks
Garlic butter-seared scallops
Elevate your lentils into a date-night worthy meal with some perfectly seared scallops.
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 scallops 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.
Lamb “lollipops” with chermoula
Chermoula is a game-changer when it comes to lamb chops.
This famous North African sauce is made of warming spices and fresh green herbs like parsley and cilantro, infusing the meat with fresh, bright flavors.
Enjoy these zesty chops over a spiced lentil salad for the ultimate African-inspired feast.
And if you’re not feeling lamb, chermoula goes great with fish too.
Why we love this recipe: it’s highly detailed and even shares tips on breaking down a rack of lamb.
Garlicky roasted 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.
Pan-seared salmon with lemon sauce
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.
Lentils are a wonderful vegetarian source of protein, and you can turn them into a delicious comfort meal by serving them with your favorite cozy starch.
Saucy lentils work best with these side so there’s something to soak up all any leftover sauce!
Buttermilk skillet 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.
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.
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.
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.
Dishes made 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.
Peanut tofu 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.
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.
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
Mexican 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.
The best side dishes to serve with lentils
- 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
- Grilled flatbread
- Lentil soup
- Pan seared salmon
What To Serve With Lentils. [39 Ideas]
- 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!