It's no secret I'm a huge fan of all different types of beans and legumes. At this point, I know that at any moment, hummus and bean soup is most likely coursing through my veins. Nevertheless, I don't complain. Besides being extremely delicious and satisfying, beans and legumes, such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and black beans, among others, are excellent sources of plant-based protein, fiber, folate, iron, B6, potassium, and phosphorous. What a gift for your body!

One of my favorite past times is enjoying a big, warm bowl of lentils mixed with brown rice, a tahini sauce, and some roasted veggies. Comfort food at its finest! I'm sure we can all agree that mixing lentils with rice is a gourmet meal on its own. However, lentils can be enjoyed in so many other ways! I'm a huge fan of diversifying our meals to prevent boredom and to keep the fun going. Therefore, here are 4 unique ways to enjoy lentils, beyond mixing them with your rice. Your friends will be jealous of your cool plant-based school lunches, I can promise you!

1. Lentil Burrito

I know we're all used to stuffing our favorite Mexican dish with black beans, fish, beef, and kinds of delicious toppings. However, it's easy to switch it up by simply using lentils instead! You'll get the protein and the fiber, along with a delicious, chewy texture you will love. Just grab your favorite tortillas, add your cooked lentils, and then add whatever your heart desires to create a complete, nutrition-filled meal that will add happiness to your day. I love guac, chopped red cabbage, salsa, and greens, but you do you! Have fun and be creative. 

2. Lentil Bolognese

Pasta and meat sauce is getting an upgrade! To enjoy your favorite dish in a delicious, new way, all you need to do is prepare a sauce that has the same texture and look as meat sauce...but is completely vegan! How? Thank your darling friends, lentils. This bolognese recipe combines red lentils, tomato sauce, and a bunch of seasonings, spices, and veggies to make the perfect topper for your pasta or veggie noodles. Italian night at home is sounding so good right now! 

#Spoontip: To make a completely vegan bowl, top your bolognese with nutritional yeast for "cheesiness", or use parmesan cheese to keep it vegetarian.

3. Lentil Soup

Cutlery, spoon, human and person | HD photo by Becca Tapert (@beccatapert) on Unsplash

Unsplash on unsplash

Mmmm...I know it's summer and it's still as hot as ever outside, but even with the warm weather, I can't help but always a crave a bowl of lentil soup! It's the perfect way to use up a lot of veggies you have in your fridge with a blend of super yummy spices for a pop of flavor you won't be able to resist all year round. This recipe gives you a basic foundation, but as always, cooking is meant to be fun, experimental, and to your liking! Feel free to add additional kicks, such as herbs, grains, or cheeses, to make a lentil soup of your dreams. Drooling at the thought!

4. Lentil Toast

Add some protein to your morning avocado toast! This is my favorite recipe of the four by far, because there truly isn't a wrong way of doing it. Take your favorite bread or crackers, top them with mashed avocado, and then you can add your cooked lentils on top with some salt, pepper, olive oil, and tomatoes. You can even smash the lentils with the avo to make a quick lentil guac that spreads deliciously on your toast! However way you choose to do it will be amazing...because truly, there's no bad way to toast. Especially when lentils are involved. 

Inspired? Time to get into your kitchen, pop open a can of lentils, and see where your imagination takes you! And of course, don't forget to share with others. We are not responsible if they end up finishing your entire meal after you offer them a bite.