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The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Lentils

Have you ever cooked red lentils before?

These little lens-shaped legumes are not only an excellent source of plant protein and fiber but also very versatile in the kitchen.

When cooked, they become delightfully creamy and can be used in a range of recipes like curries, soups, and stews.

However, if you’re out of red lentils or simply want to experiment with other ingredients, there are plenty of options available that make great substitutes.

Check out the five best substitutes for red lentils to shake up your meals.

What’s Red Lentil?

The red lentil is a small, reddish-brown colored legume that is widely used in the cuisine of many cultures across the world.

Its popularity is believed to have originated in the Middle East or India, where it has been an important crop for centuries.

Red lentil has a mild nutty flavor with a slightly earthy aroma; their texture changes upon cooking, becoming soft and creamy.

It can be used in soups, curries, and stews or as an alternative to rice.

It can also be cooked on its own with herbs and spices for a light side dish, ground into flour for baking, or fried and made into patties.

Red lentil makes a versatile and nutritious addition to any meal.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Lentils

If you’re looking for a substitute to use instead of red lentils, you have several options.

Here are the five best substitutes for red lentils:

1 – Yellow Lentils

The yellow lentil is a variety of the Lens culinaris plant that is high in protein and fiber.

They have an earthy, nutty flavor and a tender but slightly chewy texture when cooked.

For those looking to switch up their usual recipe that calls for red lentils, yellow lentils make an excellent substitution.

Unlike the red variety, which can become soft once cooked, yellow lentils will hold their shape better and can also stand up to longer cooking times.

When substituting yellow lentils for red ones, you’ll likely want to add another cup of liquid as they require more liquid and cooking time than the red variety.

2 – Green Lentils

Green lentils are a nutritious, protein-packed legume that offers a vibrant flavor and an al dente texture.

These green treasures are larger than red lentils and have a slightly earthier flavor profile.

Makes them great in curries and soups, but they also work well in salads as they can hold their shape while still absorbing seasonings and marinades.

To substitute green lentils for red lentils, simply add more liquid to the dish to make up for the differences in cooking time between the two varieties.

Green lentils also tend to work better with strong flavors like garlic, curry powder, and cumin—all of which will help to enhance their earthy notes.

3 – Split Peas

Split peas are probably one of the most underrated pulses out there.

Although they can sometimes be seen as boring, their earthy and slightly sweet flavor combined with their creamy yet firm texture can really bring a dish together.

If you’re looking for a substitute for red lentils, split peas are definitely it.

They require less cooking time – about an hour to become soft – making them ideal for adding to soups and stews or even turning into tasty dips.

Best of all, they benefit from the addition of lots of herbs and spices, making every meal you prepare more enjoyable and flavourful.

4 – Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a versatile, delicious vegetable with a unique taste and texture.

The mild flavor is accentuated when it is roasted or fried, allowing for a wide range of meal options.

Cauliflower is also very nutritious; it has high levels of vitamins, minerals, and even protein.

In addition to providing this nutrition to your plate, it can also be used as an alternative to red lentils.

By grating the cauliflower into small pieces, you can create an enjoyable ‘grain-like’ texture that makes it perfect for a variety of dishes.

With the right seasoning and flavors, cauliflower can make any dish – like salads or pilafs – come alive.

5 – Peanuts

Peanuts are an incredibly popular snack, known for their distinctive taste and crunchy texture.

While usually eaten raw or roasted with salt, peanuts are also commonly used in a variety of dishes.

Their flavor profile is earthy and nutty, while their texture is slightly salty and crunchy when roasted.

Peanuts can be a great substitute for red lentils in any dal dish.

You’ll get the same protein punch without the expensive price tag of buying traditional red lentils.

Simply cook or fry them beforehand before adding them to your recipe – it’s easy, delicious, and budget-friendly.


In conclusion, there are several great substitutes for red lentils if you’re looking to switch up your usual recipes.

Yellow and green lentils offer more texture and flavor than the traditional red variety, while split peas make a great addition to soups and stews.

Cauliflower is a great alternative for those looking for something lighter with a unique texture, while peanuts can provide the same protein punch without being as expensive.

Try out any of these alternatives for a delicious and nutritious meal.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Lentils

The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Lentils
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Yellow Lentils
  • Green Lentils
  • Split Peas
  • Cauliflower
  • Peanuts


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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