Lentils and Onions // Sides // Recipes

by Megan Crist

Lentils and Onions make a delectable side to any meal. Garnish with cilantro or parsley for an easy presentation upgrade to a main course. Food photography, food styling, and prop styling by Megan Crist.

This one of the most basic sides in my cooking arsenal and so delicious that I often eat it on its own for lunch. Efficiency made possible by prep day.

One day each week, usually Sunday since I go to the farmers market on Saturday, I batch prep veggies and grains for the week-ish. I roast almost all of my vegetables. I will leave small amounts raw for salads or other specific purposes, but I generally prep a sheet pan of every veggie that comes home with me. Some serve two purposes. Like broccoli: I roast the florets and shred the stalks for slaw or dumpling filling. I know sometimes it’s hard to understand the value of do-ahead work, because how does it save you time, if it’s time you would spend doing it on another day anyway. Valid, yes. But, for example, caramelized onions take about 45 minutes. If I were to spend that long each time I wanted to make something with onions..? Nobody has time for that. So, I usually buy a bag of yellow onions and roast a whole tray or two, leaving one raw to dice for salads and other applications. This way I get that kind of flavor without spending 45 minutes 5 days per week making stovetop onions. Likewise, I usually cook some lentils, rice, etc. on prep day as well.

Lentils and onions make a unique flavorful and protein packed vegetarian side. Food photography, food styling, and prop styling by Megan Crist.

So, if you have pre-cooked lentils and roasted onions, this surprisingly flavorful dish only takes about five minutes to assemble.


1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 cup pre-boiled lentils

1/2 cup roasted onions

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (a generous squeeze of lemon)


Heat the sesame oil in a skillet on medium heat. 

Add roasted onions and pre-cooked lentils.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add maple syrup and a generous squeeze of lemon. 

Cumin is optional, but recommended. 

It takes about 3-5 minutes to warm through and meld the flavors together. Garnish with parsley to make it pretty.