Overhead picture of vegan lentil recipe with caramelized onions and pistachios over cooked kale in small casserole dish.
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5 from 3 votes

Vegan lentil recipe with caramelized onions & pistachios

My favorite way to cook delicate French lentils du Puy is with caramelized onions and toasted pistachios on a bed of sautéed kale. The sweetness of the onions and salty richness of the nuts combines beautifully with the tinny lentils. On top of garlicky sautéed kale, it becomes a filling and simple meal that is loaded with good-for-you things like fiber, iron, and protein.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Keyword: gluten free, meatless
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 240kcal
Author: Cadry Nelson


For the lentils

For the sautéed kale

  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bunch curly kale removed from ribs and roughly chopped
  • Up to 1 Tablespoon water
  • salt to taste


To make the lentils

  • In a small soup pot, bring the lentils, water, and half of a bouillon cube (if using) to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low and cover the pot. Continue cooking for 25 to 30 minutes. Taste the lentils. The texture should still have a little bite to it without being hard. Once the lentils are ready, most of the water should be absorbed, but if necessary, drain the lentils.
  • While the lentils are cooking, bring a separate medium-sized skillet to a medium high heat. Add extra virgin olive oil to the skillet. Once the oil is glistening, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes until the onion gets some nice brown color. Then turn the heat to low and continue cooking the onions for 20 minutes, until they are very soft.
  • Near the end of their cooking time, add the agave syrup to the onions and combine. Add the chopped pistachios to the warm skillet and warm them for a minute or two with the onions.
  • Add the drained lentils and mustard to the skillet and combine. Add salt to taste. Serve lentils on a bed of sautéed kale.

To make sautéed kale

  • Bring a large skillet to a medium heat. Add oil to the skillet and allow it to warm. Once the oil is glistening, add garlic to the pan. Saute for a couple of minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add chopped kale to the pan. Move the kale with a spatula around the pan.* It will wilt as it comes into contact with the heat from the skillet. If the kale is looking dry, add water to the skillet, one teaspoon at a time, creating steam which will help the kale to wilt. The kale will only need to cook for about five minutes in total until it has completely softened. Add salt to taste.


*If you happen to have an extra large bunch of kale and are having difficulty moving it around the skillet, cover the kale for a minute or so with a lid. It will quickly shrink under cover.


Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 627mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1475IU | Vitamin C: 21.1mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 4.1mg