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Food Pantry


Lentils are small-sized legumes that pack a huge kick of nutrition! Each serving contains fiber, protein, carbs, and minerals. This often overlooked legume is extremely versatile and can be used in many dishes. They’re delicious whole in soups, salads, stews, sauces but also work well pureed.
Lentils often come dry in bags, but unlike many other dry beans, their small size means you don't have to pre-soak them overnight to cook them. You can just toss them in a soup or boil them and they're ready to go! This saves you time and can result in a tasty meal.

Sausage and Lentil Soup


  • 1 pound Hot Italian Sausage (or smoked sausage, sliced)

  • ¾ pound dried lentils, rinsed and drained (1 ¾ cup)

  • 1 cup diced ham (or drained and rinsed canned pork)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped (3/4 cup)

  • 1 or 2 medium carrots, diced (3/4 cup) 

  • 1  or 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 28 ounces beef broth

  • 28 ounces chicken broth

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach



  1. (If using ground sausage) Place sausage in a large pot. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown.

  2. Combine all ingredients except spinach in a 5-quart slow cooker.

  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or until lentils are tender.

  4. Add spinach, cover and let stand for 5 minutes or until spinach wilts. Remove and discard bay leaves. Makes about 12 cups.


You can also make this in a large pot . Bring all ingredients to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1-2 hours or until lentils are tender.


Lentil Tacos

  • Makes: 6 servings (2 tacos per serving)                 

  • Preparation Time:  8 minutes                              

  • Cooking Time:  30 minutes


  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 cup dried lentils

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 12 (6 inch) corn tortillas

  • 1 cup salsa

  • 4 ounces cheese, shredded (1 cup shredded)

  • 2 cups shredded lettuce



  1. Wash the lettuce.

  2. Collect, dice, shred, and measure all ingredients before starting to prepare the recipe. Rinse the lentils.

  3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add tortillas to the skillet one at a time. Heat briefly on both sides over medium heat until warm and soft.  Wrap in 2 layers of foil, put on a plate, and cover with another plate to keep warm.

  4. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium high heat.

  5. Add the onion, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes until it becomes soft. Stir while cooking.

  6. Add the lentils, garlic powder, and taco seasoning, and stir to mix.

  7. Add the water and tomato sauce, and stir to mix.

  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low, and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Check and stir the mixture every 5 minutes to be sure the liquid is simmering and not boiling. If the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to low. If there is no liquid, add a ½ cup more water, stir thoroughly and cover.

  9. Uncover, and cook for 5 more minutes until the mixture thickens, stirring every few minutes. (Optional: Mash the lentils somewhat with the back of a fork.)

  10. Add ¼ cup of the split pea mixture, salsa, cheese, and lettuce to each tortilla.

  11. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours. Eat within 3 to 5 days.


TIP: Be creative! Serve as lentil tostadas or with tortilla chips as a party dip.

Recipe from Missouri Extension Office

Client Choice USDA food distributed in Bolivar & Humansville. 

Open Tuesdays, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM and Thursdays, Saturdays 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

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