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Substitutes for Red Lentils

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Red lentils are edible legumes that are popular in several Asian and Mediterranean locations due to their high nutritious content and ease of incorporation into a wide range of cuisines. They cook fast and are a popular vegan and vegetarian ingredient, adding a mellow, delightful taste to several dishes.

Lentils Nutrition Facts

Red lentils are often found at grocery shops, although not in all areas. As a result, if your local grocer does not have this lentil type, you should consider utilizing an alternative. It’s also feasible that you’d want to substitute another component in its stead.

Whatever your reason for requiring a substitution, there are various choices to consider when looking for a substitute for red lentils in recipes. Continue reading these articles to learn more about these choices and how to utilize them to get the greatest outcomes in your recipes.

What are Red Lentils?

Lentils are a kind of legume that is edible. They are a lens-shaped annual plant with lens-shaped seeds. The seeds grow in pods about 40 cm (16 in) tall, each with two seeds. Canada and India produce the vast bulk of the world’s food crops, accounting for 58% of total output.

Red lentils, in particular, are known as masoor dal, and are a common component in vegan and vegetarian cuisines. They are rich in dietary fiber, plant-based protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Red lentils are a kind of quick-cooking legume. They have a mild taste and dissolve when cooked; unlike brown or green lentils, they do not retain their form. They go well in soups, dahl, curries, dips, and other foods.

Uses of Red Lentils in Recipes

Red lentils are a delicious kind of lentil that may be used in a number of dishes. Red lentils cook quicker than other lentils and have a mushy texture when cooked. As a consequence, it excels in thickening soups.

Soups, salads, purees, stews, and other foods may all benefit from the addition of red lentils. They have a mild taste that complements heavier dishes. Red lentils are also often used in the following recipes:

  • Vegan red lentil curry
  • Indian red lentil Dahl
  • Greek red lentil soup
  • Red lentil pasta sauce
  • Spicy red pasta with lentils
  • Lentil bolognese
  • Spaghetti with lentils and marinara
  • Curried lentils in tomato sauce
  • Lentil ragu
  • Sicilian lentil pasta sauce
  • Skirt steak with lentil salad
  • Red lentil chicken soup
  • Red lentil rice
  • Smoky red lentil stew
  • Red lentil sweet potato stew

Substitutes for Red Lentils

Red lentils may be found in a variety of recipes such as sauces, soups, and stews. They are particularly popular in Asian and Mediterranean regions and may be utilized in a number of ways. When searching for red lentil alternatives, seek for choices that flavor, texture, and consistency are comparable to red lentils.

Our suggestions for red lentil substitutes include the following:

Yellow Lentils

Yellow lentils are the most comparable to red lentils and may therefore be substituted in recipes. The taste and texture differences between red and yellow lentils are minor. Yellow lentils also offer a creamy texture to soups and stews. They are also thick when cooked, similar to red lentils.

The color and amount of time it takes to cook yellow lentils, which is longer than red lentils, are two main differences between the two. Another difference is the flavor of yellow lentils, which are less sweet than red lentils.


Peas are the greatest non-lentil substitute for red lentils. The majority of split peas have a flavor similar to red lentils. They both belong to the same bean family, thus they have many similarities that make them an acceptable substitute for red lentils in recipes.

The taste difference between pea soup and red lentil soup is almost undetectable. Lentils, on the other hand, take significantly less time to cook than peas. Both have the same nutritional value in terms of protein. Peas are a fantastic option for a healthy alternative since they contain less calories than lentils.


Beans function in the same manner as lentils do. As a consequence, beans are a good alternative for a red lentil replacement that is comparable in taste, consistency, and texture.

Soups, salads, casseroles, and other foods may be substituted with beans such as Navy, Pinto, Garbanzo, fava, and lima. These choices are available in a range of sizes, shapes, and colors.

Red lentils are little, split lentils, while beans are generally bigger and entire. This is one of the most noticeable distinctions between beans and red lentils when trying to create a substitute.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I substitute regular lentils for red lentils?

Red lentils may be substituted with other lentils, but the texture and taste will be different. Red lentils, which also break apart when cooked, make a superior soup alternative than French green lentils, which may be used in salads and as a side dish.

What is the difference between red lentils and regular lentils?

Green lentils come in two variations, whilst red lentils come in several variants. Green lentils have a more earthy taste than red lentils. Green lentils stay firm after cooking and do not dissolve, but red lentils disintegrate after prolonged cooking periods.

Which color lentils are the healthiest?

Black lentils are the healthiest lentils; they are the most nutritious lentil variation and take around 25 minutes to cook. A half cup of uncooked black lentils has 26 grams of protein, 18 grams of fiber, 100 milligrams of calcium, 8 milligrams of iron, and 960 milligrams of potassium, according to the USDA.


Red lentils are a culinary mainstay in many Asian and Mediterranean dishes, and they provide a mellow taste to the dishes in which they are used. If you don’t like lentils or don’t have any to use in your recipes, try one or more of the alternatives we’ve mentioned.

These alternatives may imitate some of the benefits of red lentils in recipes when used in the proper substitute manner. So, nothing should prevent you from enjoying your red lentil dishes; just use a replacement if necessary.


Can you substitute yellow split peas for red lentils?

In recipes, they may be used interchangeably. It is crucial to note, however, that when cooked, a lentil keeps more rigidity than a split pea. This may change the texture of meals like soups.

Can I sub brown for red lentils?

Lentils (Red)

It takes around 20 minutes to cook them, and when the skin of the red lentil separates, it swiftly breaks down, becoming mushy. When working with daal or sauces that need thickening, this is precisely what you want, and it is more or less interchangeable with the brown and green ones.

What is the closest to lentils?

Peas and Beans are the closest match.

Other forms of legumes, such as peas and beans, are the closest alternatives for lentils. Split peas have a somewhat more “earthy” taste than lentils, but when cooked, they have the same form and texture. Most beans have a similar texture and cooking method as well.

Can you replace red lentils with green ones?

All varieties of lentils may normally be used interchangeably, but their texture and, of course, color may differ. Orange, red, and green lentils will become mushier than puy lentils, which retain their form and texture nicely.

What is a good substitute for lentils in a recipe?

Beans are nutritionally equivalent to lentils. According to the University of Michigan Health System, they are abundant in protein, dietary fiber, iron, folate, and antioxidants. Garbanzo or chickpeas, black, navy, pinto, lima, and fava beans are all excellent options.

Are red lentils the same as split peas?

Split peas, like lentils, belong to the legume family. Split peas, on the other hand, are dried field peas. After drying, the pea’s outer peel is removed and the pea is split in two. Lentils, on the other hand, are the seeds of a tiny annual plant that grow in pods.

Do brown lentils cook like red lentils?

Brown and green lentils need a bit longer to cook than red lentils due to their size – more like 30-40 minutes to get cooked. They also retain their form when cooked, making them ideal for use when you want the shape of the lentils to be seen in the final meal, such as when sprinkled over a salad.

Do red and yellow lentils taste the same?

Yellow lentils have a mild, earthy taste and a delicate, creamy texture when cooked. Red lentils have a somewhat sweet, nutty taste and a soft, mushy texture when cooked. In Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, they are often used to produce dal, a thick lentil stew.

Do brown lentils and red lentils cook the same?

Red lentils have a sweet and nutty taste, making them a great replacement for grains like quinoa and buckwheat. They cook in approximately the same amount of time as brown lentils and are ready in about 15-20 minutes.

Is there a shortage of red lentils?

Clancey claims that the world has run out of red lentils and that no major resupply is in the works. He forecasts 5.77 million tonnes of primary producer output in 2021-22, which is less than the five-year average of 5.85 million tonnes.

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