What Meat Goes Well with Lentils?

Lentils, a versatile and nutritious legume, pair exceptionally well with a variety of meats, each offering unique flavor profiles and culinary experiences. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you choose the perfect meat accompaniment for your lentil dishes:


Beef, with its robust and savory flavor, is a classic pairing for lentils. The rich taste of beef complements the earthy notes of lentils, creating a hearty and satisfying meal. Consider using ground beef for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, or opt for a flavorful cut like chuck roast for a slow-cooked stew that will warm you up on a cold winter’s day.


Pork, with its slightly sweet and fatty flavor, adds a touch of richness and depth to lentil dishes. Bacon, in particular, is a popular choice, as its smoky and salty notes enhance the overall flavor profile. Ground pork or diced pork shoulder are also excellent options, providing a succulent and flavorful addition to your lentil creations.


Lamb, with its distinctive and slightly gamey flavor, offers a unique and sophisticated twist to lentil dishes. The aromatic and herbaceous notes of lamb complement the earthy flavors of lentils, creating a complex and satisfying meal. Consider using ground lamb for a flavorful twist on traditional lentil soup, or try roasting a leg of lamb and serving it with a lentil pilaf.


Duck, with its rich and fatty flavor, adds a luxurious touch to lentil dishes. The dark meat of duck pairs particularly well with lentils, providing a decadent and satisfying meal. Consider using duck confit or shredded duck meat to elevate your lentil dishes to a gourmet level.

Other Meats

While beef, pork, lamb, and duck are classic pairings for lentils, there are many other meats that can also complement this versatile legume. Consider experimenting with ground turkey or chicken for a leaner option, or try using venison or bison for a more gamey flavor. The possibilities are endless!

Tips for Pairing Meat with Lentils

  • Consider the flavor profile: Choose a meat that complements the flavor of the lentils you are using. For example, beef pairs well with brown lentils, while pork complements green lentils.
  • Balance the textures: Lentils are soft and tender, so pair them with a meat that has a bit of texture, such as ground beef or diced pork.
  • Don’t overcook the meat: Overcooked meat will become tough and chewy, so be sure to cook it to the proper temperature.
  • Season generously: Lentils can handle bold flavors, so don’t be afraid to season them well with herbs, spices, and salt and pepper.

Lentils are a versatile and nutritious legume that can be paired with a wide variety of meats to create delicious and satisfying meals. Whether you prefer the classic combination of beef and lentils, the rich flavors of pork and lentils, or the unique twist of lamb and lentils, there’s a meat pairing out there to suit every taste. So next time you’re looking for a hearty and flavorful meal, reach for a bag of lentils and experiment with different meats to create a culinary masterpiece.

Who needs Meat when you have LENTILS?


What do lentils pair well with?

If you have a few root vegetables hanging out in your fridge, those are also great with lentils, like in this warm lentil and root vegetable salad with parsnips and carrots. Lentils are particularly nice with cheese, as in this grilled halloumi and lentil salad.

Can you eat meat with lentils?

Burgers, meatballs, meatloaves and sausages can be made more sustainable, nutritious and cost-effective, but most importantly, delicious, when meat gets blended with pulses such as whole cooked lentils.

What are the best lentils for meat?

The best lentils to use as a beef substitute are brown and green, as they have a milder flavor than red lentils, which means they are more willing to soak up different flavors and adapt to being used as a substitute.

Are lentils healthier than beef?

Pound for pound, raw lentils have more protein than steak. While not as protein-dense once cooked, they pack even more iron than meat, in addition to other vitamins and minerals. Fast to cook, easy to store and exalted enough to be buried with the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, these seeds have sustained empires.

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