How to Make Lentils Into a Meat Substitute

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If you're looking for a meat substitute in one of your favorite recipes, look no further than lentils. They're most effective in any recipe that would normally call for ground meat, as they have a similar size and texture. Green or brown lentils are ideal, as they hold their shape better than red lentils when cooked. Like meat, lentils are high in protein -- which is important for anyone following a vegan diet -- but they're also low in calories and fat.

Things You'll Need

  • Dried green or brown lentils
  • Sieve or colander
  • Vegetable broth or vegan beef-style broth
  • Saucepan
  • Before starting to cook your lentils, rinse them well in cold water and pick them over to remove any dirt, debris or shriveled lentils that might be lurking in your pack. Drain the water off the lentils using a sieve or a colander.

  • Cook your lentils in vegetable broth or a vegan beef-style broth. The latter will give them an extra meaty flavor. Use a ratio of 1:2 lentil to broth, so for every cup of lentils you're cooking, use 2 cups of broth. Allow them to simmer in the broth for 35 to 45 minutes, until tender.

  • The lentils should have absorbed all the cooking liquid, but if they're still watery drain them off. You can now use them in any dish where you would normally use ground meat, such as tacos or shepherd's pie. Once cooked, 1 cup of dried lentils will be the equivalent of roughly 1 pound of ground meat.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can't find green or brown lentils, de Puy lentils will also work as a meat substitute. As they're smaller, reduce the cooking time to 20 to 25 minutes.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
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