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Comforting Red Lentil Mash (Vegan, Gluten-Free, High Protein & Iron)

red lentil mash

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know that I love comfort food.  After struggling with my health and weight almost my entire life, falling into almost every yo-yo diet possible (in case you’re wondering the cabbage soup and grapefruit diet don’t really work – trust me) and finally having the courage to change my lifestyle altogether (and losing almost 70 pounds in the process!), I vowed to never fall into restriction diet gimmicks or give up the things I love baking and making in the kitchen. 

Because restriction doesn’t have to be necessary in a healthy lifestyle. In fact, it should have no place here at all.

And that is exactly how I got started with this blog in the first place. Comfort food reinvented.

Food that tastes and makes you feel great.

red lentil mash

I am not sure exactly what I find sooo comforting about this Red Lentil Mash. Maybe it’s the fact that this dish is warming, savory, lightly spiced, creamy and kind of reminds me of the mashed potatoes and veggies that seem to only appear around Christmas time. It is something I made by fluke and have been enjoying as an easy side for dinner almost every night of the week since.

 And a powerhouse of a side this Red Lentil Mash is.

17 grams of protein.

20 grams of fiber.

30% of your daily iron intake

Tons of delicious nutrients and minerals to boot.

And inexpensive. Lentils are a staple in this I’m-on-a-budget-student-household. One entire bag of red lentils will keep you full and satisfied for many meals and will only set you back a couple of bucks.

lentil mash is

Like most of my recipes, this Red Lentil Mash is thrown together in a cinch. Rinse and boil your red lentils with a couple of dried herbs and nutritional yeast. Once your lentils have absorbed all the water, add the coconut oil, additionally season, stir and mash until your savory and comforting Red Lentil Mash is formed.

comforting red lentil

It’s really that easy. And in case your wondering Red Lentil Mash is super difficult to photograph. If you’re not sold by the photos, I promise you’ll be sold by the taste. In my experience, sometimes the most comforting foods are the least photogenic! 

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Comforting Red Lentil Mash

  • Author: Ceara
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x


This comforting red lentil mash is comfort food redefined. It is warming, savory, lightly spiced, creamy and kind of reminds me of the mashed potatoes and veggies that seem to only appear around Christmas time. It also has a great nutritional profile with 30% of your daily iron, 20 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of protein per serving! Enjoy this as an easy, simple side along a healthy, home-cooked meal.


  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 3/43 cups water
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika
  • 1 tsp onion and garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional but recommenced)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Thoroughly rinse red lentils and pick out any pebbles found in lentils.
  2. Add lentils, water (only 2 3/4 cups), spices and nutritional yeast to a medium size pot.
  3. Bring lentils to a boil over medium high heat. Once the lentils are boiling give the lentils a stir, reduce heat and simmer over medium heat until all the water is absorbed. If needed, slowly add additional 1/4 cup of water. You want the lentils to be soft enough to mash but not in any way shape or form soupy (this is not lentil soup!).
  4. Once all the water is absorbed, with a wooden spoon or masher, mix in coconut oil while mashing and mixing the lentils until desired consistency is formed. The warmth of the lentils will met the coconut oil. The lentils should easily fall apart when mixed.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper and additional spices if desired.
  6. Leave to sit for 5 minutes in a covered pot. The lentils will thicken up upon sitting.
  7. Serve as a nutrient packed side with dinner or lunch. Enjoy!


Feel free to substitute your own favorite dried herbs. Use these spices as a suggestion and season your comforting red lentil mash to taste!

  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Side
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 6
  • Calories: 252
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Sodium: 37mg
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Protein: 17g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

ceara s kitchen

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  7. Why won’t any mashed lentil recipes give us just a little clue as to how long to cook the lentils? I know we need to check on them, but when do we need to check on them? After 10 minutes? 20? 30?

  8. I LOVE THIS RECIPE! i just tried it today and it’s so versatile.

  9. I had to come check this out….oh my word…so healthy and so delicious!! I know this tastes the bomb and I definitely need to try this! I love, love lentils and love the spices you added. Great recipe, can’t wait to try this. I bet it’s amazing on toast too, yum!!

  10. I made this tonight….OMG SO SO SO YUMMY! New favorite lentil dish!! I think I’ll bring it as a side to my family’s Thanksgiving πŸ™‚ Super simple too! I split the recipe in half, added so diced tomatoes and used a tsp Italian seasoning instead of the basil and oregano and added about a tsp salt as well. Also used green lentils so it didn’t look quite as pretty as yours hahaha But looks don’t matter when the taste is great!! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. SO happy you loved it and thanks for letting me know πŸ™‚ It’s one of my fave lentil dishes too! I love your addition of diced tomatoes and italian seasoning – I’ll have to try that next time! πŸ˜€

  11. COMFORT FOOD is my favorite thing in the world! Exactly… food that tastes and makes you feel great!!!! What a lovely red lentil mash…I must top this on bread…mmmm or tons of shiitake gravy!!!

  12. I love how easy this red lentil mash is, plus the protein!!!! Oh ya!! This is a great idea, and congrats on your weight loss and lifestyle change! Amazing!!! πŸ™‚

  13. I knew lentils had a lot of iron but that is a lot of fiber, too! I throw some in for protein in a vegetable soup I make, but just on their own, like you did here, sounds great, too! This would make a good filling for a burrito, as well! Great stuff!

  14. This really does look and sound so comforting! It has been cool and rainy here the whole week and I’ve been craving a dish exactly like this! I love red lentils so much and they are so pretty! This lentil mash is so up my alley and I see it be a staple in my diet this winter πŸ™‚

  15. Ceara, I am enjoying your delicious recipes for a healthy way to manage my weight. I love lentils and this recipe is an addtion to my lentil repertoire. Thank you for sharing.

  16. It looks yummy. What is the serving size, 1/3 of a cup? What are rage total calories per serving? I’m confused on the provided numbers. Checking on ‘my fitness pal’ a cup of lentils provides 18 g of protein and 16 g of fiber so I’m confused how the protein is so high from 1/3 of a cup.

    1. Hi Andrew, thanks for stopping by! When you put the recipe into the following “recipe analysis” to count the nutrition and calories (http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php) 1/6 of the recipe = approximately 250 calories! It’s most accurate to calculate the recipe using dried lentils because when cooked the lentils double in size! Approximately, each serving is around one heaping cup.

      Here are the detailed nutrition facts just in case you were wondering!

      Nutrition Facts:
      Serving Size 178 g
      Amount Per Serving
      Calories 253 Calories from Fat 28
      % Daily Value*
      Total Fat 3.1g5%
      Saturated Fat 2.1g10%
      Cholesterol 0mg0%
      Sodium 8mg0%
      Potassium 663mg19%
      Total Carbohydrates 39.5g13%
      Dietary Fiber 20.1g81%
      Sugars 1.3g
      Protein 17.4g
      Vitamin A 3% β€’ Vitamin C 5%
      Calcium 5% β€’ Iron 29%
      Nutrition Grade A

      Hope this helps! Hope you enjoy the recipe πŸ™‚

  17. I love how you state comfort food reinvented, Ceara! I love your way of thinking. This lentil mash sounds like the perfect combination of healthiness and comfort food! I’ve never actually baked with lentils, so i definitely have to change that! And I’ve never seen nutritional yeast before either, I have to check that out! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Gayle! I think you’ll love lentils if you try them πŸ™‚ Let me know if you give them a shot! I just started cooking with Nutritional Yeast recently (had no idea what it was before either!) and they are basically these little flakes that dissolve when cooking with them. They give a wonderful cheesy taste to food with tons of nutrients without a lot of calories! πŸ™‚

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