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This hearty, protein-packed vegetarian dish is a great addition to a holiday table, and comforting and nutritious any day of the year. Skip the optional yogurt and it’s vegan. Leftovers can be eaten cold from the fridge, at room temp, or heated up. And it can be an entree or a side dish – super versatile!

My mom is not shy about telling me when something is “not her favorite thing I’ve ever made.” This lentil recipe was one of her favorite things I’ve ever made. And so, I make it a lot!

Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots in a yellow serving dish

Vegetarian Lentil Recipe

When the word meatless comes up, the need for a source of protein is not far behind. Often my answer is beans, beans, beans. Thankfully they are plentiful, cheap, and so wildly varied.

One of my go-to beans is lentils, often starring in a soup, but here sharing the spotlight with some carrots and dried fruit. Lentils are amazing because the cook fairly quickly and require no soaking. Gotta love that in a bean.

Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots in a metal pan.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Onion – any color is fine
  • Garlic
  • Carrots – You can use multi-colored carrots instead of plain orange, though their colors do fade in the cooking, so the drama you will get excited about when they are raw won’t quite follow through to the finished dish.
  • Ground coriander – adds a bright slightly citrusy note.
  • Ground cumin – this is optional but adds a lovely earthy flavor.
  • Lentils – I much prefer small Italian or French lentils, which have a firmer and a lovely flavor
  • Vegetable broth
  • Dried apricots – or use dried pears or another dried fruit of your choice.
  • Plain Greek yogurt to serve – optional; skip this if you want a vegan dish, or find a plant based yogurt to sub in
Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots in a yellow serving dish o a wooden surface with a little bowl of yogurt.

Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots: Protein-packed lentils brightened with some spices and seasonings shine in this vegetarian or vegan recipe.

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Tips

  • The timing of cooking the lentils may vary with the type and age of the dried lentils.
  • If the lentils are not cooked until tender when pretty much absorbed add a bit more broth or water.
  • Add a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves when you stir in the apricots at the end.
  • Garnishing this dish with a spring or two of fresh herbs really perks it up visually.

How to Make Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots

  1. Saute the onion and garlic: Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots and spices: Stir until everything is blended.
  3. Cook the lentils: Add the lentils and vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally,for about 25 minutes until the lentils are tender
  4. Finish the dish and serve: Add the apricots. Serve, hot, warm, or at room temperature. Dollop on a bit of yogurt if desired.
Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots being stirred with wooden spoon in pan.

What to Serve with Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots

You can serve with plain yogurt (give it a sprinkle of ground cumin or coriander for prettiness if you like), or a little drizzle of good olive oil at the end is also a very nice thing.

Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots in yellow serving dish with small bowl of yogurt.

More Bean Recipes:

Other bean dishes we’ve known and loved (not all vegetarian).

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Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 People
Protein-packed lentils brightened with some spices and seasonings shine in this vegetarian or vegan recipe.

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pound carrots peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ½ cup lentils preferably small Italian or French ones
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup dried apricots or dried pears diced
  • Plain Greek yogurt to serve (optional)

Instructions 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the carrots, ground coriander, cumin (if using) salt and pepper and sauté for one minute until the carrots are nicely coated with the seasoned oil.
  • Add the lentils and vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally and leaving the pan partially covered, for about 25 minutes until the lentils are tender (the timing may vary with the type and age of the dried lentils), and the liquid is pretty much absorbed (if towards the end the mixture looks dry, add a bit more broth or water).
  • Add the apricots, taste for seasoning, and cook for 1 minute more, until the apricots soften a bit.  Serve, hot, warm, or at room temperature.  Dollop on a bit of yogurt if desired.

Notes

  • The timing of cooking the lentils may vary with the type and age of the dried lentils.
  • If the lentils are not cooked until tender when pretty much absorbed add a bit more broth or water.
  • Add a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves when you stir in the apricots at the end.
  • Garnishing this dish with a spring or two of fresh herbs really perks it up visually.

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 448mg, Potassium: 610mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 13424IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 51mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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