Marinate & Munch! Pickled Lentils Made Easy (Seriously Addictive)

I’ve been obsessed with pickled lentils lately. They’re tangy, flavorful, and a fantastic pantry staple. This recipe uses minimal ingredients and requires barely any effort. They’re perfect for snacking, adding crunch to salads, or serving on a cheese board.

Pickled lentils taken on a spoon from the jar.

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I’m always on the hunt for easy and flavorful ways to spruce up my meals. Enter pickled lentils aka marinated lentils! Their unique flavor and versatility have become a favorite in my kitchen.

This recipe showcases how simple it is to transform humble brown lentils into a tangy delight through quick marination. It’s super simple, uses ingredients I already have on hand, and takes hardly any time to whip up.

The best part? The pickled lentils themselves! They’re delicious on their own as a snack, perfect as a side dish, mixed into salads for an extra flavor, or wrapped up for a tangy snack.

Ingredients

Ingredients to make pickled lentils on a marble surface.

Lentils: Use canned brown lentils for ultimate convenience, or cook your own brown lentils from scratch for more control over texture. If using canned, rinse and drain thoroughly before pickling.

Acidity and Sweetness: Both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar work well here. White vinegar provides a clean, sharp tang, while apple cider vinegar offers a slightly mellow sweetness. The balance of salt and sugar is also key.

Aromatics: Bay leaves, whole black pepper, and garlic cloves add depth of flavor to the pickling brine.

Spice and Color: Chili pepper offers a kick of heat, while red onion and bell pepper add vibrant color and a touch of sweetness.

See the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and quantities.

Step-by-step Instructions

Pickling brine in a saucepan.

Step 1: Combine white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, bay leaves, black pepper, and garlic. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain and collect the liquid.

Lentils and veggies in a jar.

Step 2: In a clean 1-quart mason jar, combine the drained and rinsed lentils, red onion, and bell pepper. 

Brine poured into the jar.

Step 3: Pour the cooled and strained pickling brine over the lentils and vegetables, ensuring everything is submerged.

Lentils sitting in the brine for 2 days.

Step 4: Seal the jar tightly with a lid. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, ideally 2-3 days, to allow the flavors to develop.

Expert Tips

  • Allow the lentils to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. This resting time is crucial for the lentils to absorb the pickling flavors fully.
  • Where possible, cook dried lentils and use them for pickling. This will help control the texture of the lentils. Cook them until al-dente so that they don’t turn mushy when marinated.
  • Allow your lentils to cool completely to room temperature before adding them to the jar.
  • Marinated lentils can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

How To Use Pickled Lentils

Salads and Bowls: Sprinkle them over salads, or use them to enhance your grain and Buddha bowls with a tangy kick.

Wraps, Sandwiches, and Tacos: Pickled lentils make a flavorful filling for wraps, sandwiches, and tacos. They pair well with hummus, roasted vegetables, grilled meats, and fish.

Side Dishes and Appetizers: Serve it as a side dish alongside grilled meats, fish, or tofu. Combine them with spreads like ricotta or goat cheese to make bruschetta or crostini.

Charcuterie Boards: Include them on charcuterie or cheese boards to pair with cheeses and cured meats.

Pickled lentils side view from the jar.

More Brown Lentil Recipes

  1. For a Tex-Mex twist, use the brown lentils to create a delicious filling for Chicken Lentil Enchiladas. The lentils add a hearty element to the enchiladas.
  2. Use brown lentils to make flavorful Cauliflower Lentil Tacos. It’s a delicious way to enjoy the lentils in a new format.
  3. Try this Lentil Buddha Bowl with Roasted Veggies for a wholesome and balanced meal. It’s a convenient way to enjoy a variety of flavors in one satisfying bowl.

If you tried this Pickled Lentils Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

Pickled lentils on a spoon.

Pickled Lentils

Spruce up your meals with pickled lentils. This easy and flavorful recipe will add a tangy twist to salads, snacks, and cheese boards.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: All
Servings: 6 to 8
Author: Shilpa

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Mason jar

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can brown lentils drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 chili sliced
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper thinly sliced (optional)

Instructions

  • Make the pickling brine: Combine white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain and collect the liquid.
  • Assemble and pickle: In a clean 1-quart mason jar, combine the drained and rinsed lentils, red onion, and bell pepper. Pour the cooled and strained pickling brine over the lentils and vegetables, ensuring everything is submerged. Seal the jar tightly with a lid.
  • Refrigerate: After marination, refrigerate the lentils for at least 24 hours, ideally 2-3 days, to allow the flavors to develop. They will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

  • Allow the lentils to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. This resting time is crucial for the lentils to absorb the pickling flavors fully.
  • Where possible, cook dried lentils and use them for pickling. This will help control the texture of the lentils. Cook them until al-dente so that they don’t turn mushy when marinated.

Nutrition

Calories: 28kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1.168mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 387IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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