Lentils Recipe:
Sweet and Sour Lentils

If you are looking for an easy lentils recipe, try this one!

lentils recipe

Served hot with rice, it is a complete vegetarian meal. Served cold, it is a perfect picnic dish.

I like to take this to potlucks.

Check that you have these staples at home

  • in the cupboard

    • brown lentils
    • unsweetened apple juice
    • vegetable oil
    • garlic
    • tamari
    • rice vinegar

  • in the fridge or freezer

    • ginger root
    • onions

Buy these fresh ingredients

  • carrots
  • red bell pepper
  • zucchini
  • tomato

Get out your equipment

  • Essential

    • a saucepan
    • a skillet
    • a cutting board and sharp knife
    • measuring cups and spoons

  • Nice to have but not necessary

    • a metal strainer for rinsing the lentils
    • a grater for grating the ginger (if not, mince the ginger with a knife)
    • a vegetable brush and/or a vegetable peeler, for the carrots
    • a garlic press (if not, mince the garlic)

    The lentils recipe

    1 1/2 cups/375 mL brown lentils, sorted and rinsed

    2 cups/500 mL unsweetened apple juice

    2 tsp/10 mL grated ginger root

    2 cups/500 mL water

    2 tsp/10 mL vegetable oil

    1 cup/250 mL chopped onion

    1 cup/250 mL peeled and diced carrot

    3 garlic cloves, pressed

    1 bell pepper, seeded and diced

    1 small zucchini, diced

    1 tomato, chopped

    2 Tbsp/30 mL tamari or soy sauce

    2 Tbsp/30 mL rice vinegar

    Place the lentils, apple juice, ginger and water in a saucepan.
    Bring to a boil.
    Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender (at least 30 minutes).
    Keep an eye on the pan and add a bit of water if necessary to prevent the lentils from sticking or burning.

    Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet.
    Sauté the onions and carrots until the onions begin to soften (about 5 minutes.)

    Add the garlic, pepper, zucchini and tomato to the skillet.

    Cover. Cook over low heat until everything is just tender (about 10 minutes).

    Add the tamari and rice vinegar. Stir to combine.

    When the lentils are ready, combine them with the vegetables.
    Serve hot over rice, or chill and serve cold.


    • Instead of a red pepper, use a green bell pepper - or yellow, or orange.

    • Use any summer squash in place of the zucchini.

    • Use soy sauce instead of tamari.

    Ideas for making this recipe your own

    • Try using another vinegar in place of the rice vinegar.

    • Experiment with different juices in place of the apple juice - or how about trying white wine?


    • To sort lentils, lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and pick out any small stones or other debris. To rinse lentils, put them in a strainer and run cool water over them.

    • There are lots of varieties of lentils - brown, green, red, orange, black and white. Brown are the easiest to find, and the least expensive. Each variety has a different cooking time. Feel free to substitute another variety in this recipe, but adjust the cooking time accordingly.

    • If you use young, organic carrots, you may not need to peel them. Just give them a good scrub with a vegetable brush.

    Menu suggestion

    Going on a picnic? For a tasty vegetarian picnic, chill Sweet and Sour Lentils and serve them with these dishes:

    If you enjoy this lentils recipe, you may also like these other lentil recipes: