An exciting new way to enjoy this nutritious legume! This roasted lentil recipe uses a delicious spice mix to turn lentils into crunchy, smoky flavor bombs – a perfect topper for salad, pasta or bowl meals.
I am quite the lentil pusher on this site, because they’re awesome. Healthy, versatile, and willing to adapt to whatever dish and whatever spices you want to throw their way.
And the roasted lentil method opens up a whole new world of fun for us!
What happens when you roast lentils?
Well let’s take a peek, real close up.
They dry up, they get a little crunchy (but still soft inside) and they absorb the flavors you added to them. They are a lot like their cousins roasted chickpeas, just tiny versions. So more sprinkle-able, if that is a word.
All of which means they have a completely different purpose to regular boiled lentils. So many new possibilities!
Please note I am talking about green lentils here, though brown or black should work reasonably well too. What you don’t want to use are split lentils (red or yellow) which go too soft when they cook and lose their shape.
The Spice Mix
All you need to roast the lentils would be 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and some salt and pepper, but this recipe includes a spice mix that is much more interesting.
We have smoked paprika, fennel seeds and an Italian herb mix going on here as well as a couple of cloves of garlic. We’re going to add oil and smash it all up in that pestle and mortar.
There is something kind of sausage-y and meaty about this combination of flavors, which makes these roasted lentils a nice touch in vegetarian and vegan recipes that just need a hit of umami where meat might have otherwise featured.
How to roast lentils – in pictures
As always, a full printable recipe card is coming your way but for the visual peeps among you, just take a quick look at how it comes together.
How to use your roasted lentils
The fun part!
I absolutely love to use these as a salad topper, especially over a really fresh crisp salad. With creamy dressing and some avocado, you get a lovely contrast with the crispy crunchy bits.
Here are some other ideas:
- tossed into a simple bowl of pasta
- as part of a Buddha or Bliss bowl
- alongside roasted vegetables
- as a baked potato topper
- in tacos (alongside some roasted sweet potato?)
- anywhere you might have wanted to put some crunchy bacon crumbles
Be sure to let me know how these turn out for you and what you used them for, I can’t wait to discover more ways to use these little sprinkles of goodness!
Smoky Roasted Lentils
- 1.5 cups (300 g) cooked green lentils*, warm or cold, either is fine
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning or herb mix
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C / 180C fan
- Place the garlic, fennel seeds, smoked paprika and Italian seasoning into a mortar. Add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and use a pestle to grind everything together until the garlic is crushed and the fennel seeds are broken up a little. Add the rest of the oil and mix through.
- Add the spice mix to the lentils and mix through to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Scatter the lentils on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use the biggest baking sheet you have to minimize overlap and give the lentils lots of space.
- Place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until they are browned and crisped to your liking. (And how delicious does your kitchen smell right now?)
- Serve immediately, though any leftovers can be stored in the fridge and then reheated in the oven to restore some of their crisp factor.