How to substitute lentils for ground beef

How to Substitute Lentils for Ground Beef

Be It Ever So Humble shows you how to substitute lentils for ground beef in recipes. This is a great way to cut your grocery bill!

Have any of you tried this before? I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips!

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Comments

  1. Tracy S. says

    I’m curious on how well this works. Maybe use lentils as a filler in my all-meat and potatoes house?

    • says

      The lentil substitution works really well in recipes that have strong flavors, like tacos and sloppy joes. You could also try going half-and-half at first, or even just a quarter, to ease your family into it.

  2. says

    When I was growing up my mom would take browned hamburger and stretch it to “Hamburger plus”. She would brown 10 lbs of burger and add in cooked lentils, cooked wheat berries, cooked barley and cooked soybeans to double the amount of “meat”. She would then freeze this in meal size portions to make preparing supper a snap. I appreciate the wonderful wisdom and frugal living that my mom has passed on. Of course I married a very MEAT and potato kind of man and so incorporating my childhood meals has been a slow process, but he eats a wider variety now than he ever has! :) Adding in lentils and other grains is a great way to stretch the meat dollar while adding in quality nutrients, protein and fiber.

    • Tiffany says

      In what portions do you cook all these ingredients together. I’m new to cooking and I’m not good at just throwing things together just yet. Do you have measurements? I would like to try this to help with my grocery bill and eating healthier. Thank you

  3. ClareC. says

    I haven’t substituted lentils for meat before but we enjoy eating lentils. I just made sweet and sour lentils over rice last night and my family really enjoyed it. I have found the secret to serving successful meatless meals in my house is to to amp up the side dishes and make them a little more interesting than usual. Then everyone seems to see the meal as a special one and don’t even notice that we aren’t having meat.

  4. Karen says

    My husband doesn’t like “bean-y” type dishes, but I always make tacos half ground beef/half lentils. I’d be happy with all lentils, but I’m satisfied stretching the meat rather than completely replacing it and keeping him happy at the same time. During Lent, when we don’t eat meat on Fridays, I often sub in all lentils or beans for a vegetarian version of my usual chili, Mexican lasagna, tacos, (really anything that already has beans in it; I just put in more and leave out the meat.)

  5. Heather says

    I make a lentil stew in the crockpot that all the kids like. It’s not meatless, but it sure has a lot of lentils. No need to hide them if they are well-prepared.

    1 lb lentils, carrots, onion, bell pepper, rosemary, salt, pepper, water or broth, garlic, hot peppers if desired.
    Add 1/2 lb of cooked Italian sausage and 8 oz. tomato sauce at the end.

    For really great lentil soups, find some Indian recipes!! No meat needed in those, because they are so well-flavored. There are Indian cookbooks at the library, or plenty online. Or find an Indian restaurant that does a lunch buffet so you can try a bunch of different stuff and get inspired to cook your own.
    To go meatless, it is more successful to try cuisines (like Indian) where they have centuries of practice at eating less or no meat. Traditional American cuisine is heavy on the meat, and so if you just take it out, you’re more likely to miss it.

    • Sarah in Alaska says

      Where is the like button!

      A curried lentil soup I found in a vegan cookbook has totally changed my opinions on lentils. Growing up, Mom’s lentil soup was crunchy and I didn’t like it much, but the soup I found is tasty and easy.

      Indian Curried Lentil Soup by Cherise Grifoni, with my twists
      Ingredients:
      1 onion, diced
      1 carrot, sliced
      2 whole cloves (I just give a couple shakes of ground cloves)
      2 tablespoons vegan margarine (I add a little oil to the pan instead)
      1 teaspoon tumeric
      1 teaspoon cumin
      1 cup yellow or green lentils, uncooked
      2 3/4 cups vegetable broth (I sometimes use chicken broth, which is not vegan :)
      2 large tomatoes, chopped (I use 1 15 oz can)
      1 teaspoon salt (skip this if you use canned tomatoes)
      1 teaspoon lemon juice (lime juice is fun too)
      1/4 teaspoon black pepper

      1. In a big stock pot on high heat, brown the onion for about 3 minutes in the oil. Add the carrot and cloves, letting them absorb the flavor.

      2. Add the tumeric and cumin, toasting them for 2 minutes. Keep stirring to prevent sticking.

      3. Lower the heat to medium-low, adding all ingredients aside from the lemon juice and black pepper. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Check lentils to make sure they’re all cooked before you take the soup off the heat.

      4. Season with lemon juice and black pepper. Serve

      I’ve also frozen this soup just fine.

  6. Amy H. says

    I’ve never made lentils before. Do they cook like a rice where all the liquid is absorbed, or more like a noodle where you drain the water after it’s done?

    • Julie D says

      You cook them like rice – I even cook mine in the rice cooker! (2:1 ratio of water to lentils.)

  7. sammy says

    Indians cook lenthils in every meal,its called dhal curry,They taste delicious and goes well with naan and rice.A great money saver and full of protein.

  8. Lorie H says

    I’ve used lentils in place of hamburger in my spaghetti sauce & it’s delicious! You’ll want to cook the lentils separately though, then add them to the sauce. Simmer on low for at least an hour or a few hours on low in the crockpot. I do notice that the sauce tend to be more watery, so you may want to leave the lid off in the last hour of cooking and/or add more tomato paste to thicken. I actually prefer to make my sauce the day before I plan on serving it, refrigerate overnight, & reheat. Delish!

  9. says

    I haven’t had lentils since college, about 20 years ago. One month when things were extremely tight, maybe I’d missed a couple shifts at work or maybe I’d over shoe-shopped, I can’t remember, I made a big pot of lentil soup to eat for the week. The recipe made sooo much soup and while my first couple bowls were really good, I got sick of it quickly. But, it fed me on a half of a shoe string and I still had a good sized bowl left over to freeze….Perhaps I’ll have to give lentils another chance.

  10. LB says

    What a great idea. We are just starting to eat lentils, and I think I could probably substitute some of the meat for lentils and dh would be fine with it. I am thinking if you add some beef stock or bouillon to the water it would make it taste “meatier”. Just this week I was trying to figure out ways to stretch our meats/proteins to be able to add more seafood to our menu. (trying to eat better). This is a good start.