Innovative Ways to Put Lentils on the Menu

Lentils are high in protein and a minimally processed whole food plant protein option and culinary innovators from across sectors are looking to ways to get more lentils on their menus.

Top 5 Reasons Chefs Love Lentils:

  1. Versatility – Lentils fit across menu categories and day parts, from soups and stews, to center of the plate stars, and even shine at breakfast. The possibilities with lentils are endless when it comes to menu innovation.
  2. Flavor Sponge – Lentils on their own are quite neutral in flavor, but as they cook and are held they soak up all of the delicious flavors of your dishes from cooking aromatics to sauces working hard to carry the robust flavor and excitement of a dish.
  3. Food Cost – Lentils are among the most affordable protein and plant protein options available to operators in some cases reducing overall cost of dishes from 26-50% when replacing a portion of common animal protein or carbohydrate dish components.
  4. Satiating – The combination of lentils being high in protein and high in fiber creates a satiating effect, keeping the consumer full for longer and curbing hunger. Consumers will be filled up and satisfied when adding lentils to a dish.
  5. On-Trend – Lentils align perfectly with many of the largest and emerging consumer trends in food including Better-For-You, Better-For-The-Planet, Plant-Forward, and the ever growing Power Bowl platform trend. Take a peek at our virtual trends tour presentation here.


The Appeal of Power Bowls:

  • Balanced & Plant-Forward – Bowls are in their composition balanced, drawing on a wholesome base of lentils and whole grains and topped with a double serving of produce, bowls are a perfect platform to get more plants on the plate (or bowl).
  • Customizable – Consumers love to make their food their own and bowls are great vehicle to allow the consumer switch out different aspects like sauces and toppings to customize their bowl.
  • Portable – With to-go and take-out meals becoming more and more essential to foodservice, bowls are perfectly built to be taken on the go and consumed at leisure.
  • Safe Experimentation – Bowls allow for safe experimentation by the consumer, introducing perhaps a new ingredient and flavor, while pairing it with familiar and loved aspects to draw the consumer in for trial.
  • Globally Inspired – Bowls set the operator up for inspired and innovative LTO’s inspired by global cuisine. Take inspiration from different regions of the world and tie in regionally relevant produce, sauces, spices, and flavors to create endless bowl possibilities.


The Appeal of Blends with Lentils (combination of animal and plant protein):

  • Extends animal protein – blending lentils with animal protein makes your meat go further
  • Reduces cost – combining 1/3 lentils with animal protein can reduce production cost of a burger for example by 26%
  • More balanced nutritionally – increased fiber, reduced calories, reduction in saturated and total fats, and reduction in cholesterol
  • Improves sustainability – by adding 1/3 lentils into traditional 100% U.S. beef burger patty, for example, reduces the carbon footprint, water footprint, and land-use footprint of that burger by 33%
  • Appeals to the flexitarian consumer – flexitarians represent approximately 1/3 of consumers in the U.S., a much larger consumer pool than are interested in plant-based vegan products


Lentils are commonly known cooked in their tender state, but playing with texture can contribute to some fun out-of-the-box concepts highlighting lentils. Try oven roasting or frying your lentils to play with texture and create some of these innovative concepts: