16 Complete Protein Pairings with Lentils

Summary:

  • Lentil is high in protein - about 17.9 grams per cup.
  • However, lentil provides only 8 of the 9 essential amino acids sufficiently - it is a little low on methionine.[1]
  • Lentil pairs well with chia seeds, sesame seeds, wild rice, hemp seeds or nori to create a complete protein profile. [2] More lentil pairings and detailed analysis below.

A complete protein is a protein source that "contains adequate proportions of the nine essential amino acids" that our body can not produce on its own.

World Health Organization [2], National Academy Press [3]

We analyzed the amino acid composition of lentils, and found both vegan and vegetarian pairings with lentils that creates a complete protein profile. Read on to discover new combinations of foods to enjoy!

Details on how we calculate complete protein profiles.

image of lentils source

Amount of Protein in Lentils

A great source of protein, a single cup of lentils contains 17.9 grams of protein, or about 36% of recommended daily values. [1]

To get the adequate amount of protein with lentils alone, you will need 2.8 cups of lentils (550 grams) for an average female, or 3.4 cups of lentils for males. [4] That's about 643 calories.

Full nutritional profile for lentils
USDA Source: Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt

Macronutrients in 1 cup (198g) of lentils:

% of RDV Amount
Calories
11.5% 230 kCal
Carbohydrates
0% -
Total fat
1.2% 0.8 grams
Protein
35.7% 17.9 grams

Essential Amino Acids in Lentils

Lentil contains abundant amounts of 8 out of the nine essential amino acids. Proportionally, lentil is a little short on methionine.[1]

To have adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids with lentil alone, you will have to eat 5.6 cups of lentils (1117 grams) for an average person. [2]

That's about 103% more lentil to compensate for the lack of methionine, compared to the protein requirement alone.

The amount of each essential amino acid in 1 cup (198g) of lentils:

Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [1] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
35.7% 17.86g
Histidine
79.8% 0.503g
Isoleucine
89.8% 0.772g
Leucine
68.5% 1.295g
Lysine
72.9% 1.247g
Methionine
17.7% 0.152g
Phenylalanine
59.1% 0.881g
Threonine
71.1% 0.64g
Tryptophan
61.7% 0.16g
Valine
82.1% 0.887g

More Complete Protein with Lentils

Top vegan pairings with lentils include:
  1. Chia Seeds
  2. Sesame Seeds
  3. Wild Rice
  4. Hemp Seeds
  5. Nori
  6. White Rice
  7. Cornmeal
  8. Pumpkin Seeds
  9. Quinoa
  10. Carrots
  11. Brown Rice
  12. Tortilla
Although dairy and eggs are generally considered complete proteins, some types of vegetarian food pair more efficiently with lentils. These include:
  1. Mayonnaise
  2. Sour Cream
  3. Egg
  4. Yogurt

Vegan 1. Chia Seeds and Lentils


image of chia seeds
image of lentils

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, chia seed is high in methionine, which is complementary to lentil.

A ratio of 0.4 cup of lentils (73g) and 0.5 ounce of chia seeds (15g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.21:1 of chia seed to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for chia seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, chia seeds, dried

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup lentils and 0.5 oz chia seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [5] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
18.3% 9.2g
Histidine
42.5% 0.27g
Isoleucine
47.6% 0.41g
Leucine
36.5% 0.69g
Lysine
35.7% 0.61g
Methionine
17.1% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
32.4% 0.48g
Threonine
38.4% 0.35g
Tryptophan
48.7% 0.13g
Valine
43.9% 0.47g

Vegan 2. Sesame Seeds and Lentils


image of sesame seeds
image of lentils

Sesame seed is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of lentil.

For example, 0.4 cup of lentils (76g) and 1.9 tablespoons of sesame seeds (18g) make a complete amino acids profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:0.24 to 1:13 for lentil to sesame seed by weight.

Full nutritional profile for sesame seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, roasted and toasted

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup lentils and 1.9 tbsp sesame seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [6] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
19.8% 9.9g
Histidine
44.9% 0.28g
Isoleucine
49.8% 0.43g
Leucine
38.7% 0.73g
Lysine
33.8% 0.58g
Methionine
18.5% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
33.6% 0.5g
Threonine
41.4% 0.37g
Tryptophan
49.4% 0.13g
Valine
47.3% 0.51g

Vegan 3. Wild Rice and Lentils


image of wild rice
image of lentils

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, wild rice is high in methionine, which is complementary to lentil.

A ratio of 0.4 cup of lentils (71g) and 0.5 cup of wild rice (87g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 1.2:1 of wild rice to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for wild rice
USDA Source: Wild rice, cooked

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup lentils and 0.5 cup wild rice :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [7] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
19.7% 9.9g
Histidine
42.9% 0.27g
Isoleucine
49% 0.42g
Leucine
37.2% 0.7g
Lysine
34.7% 0.59g
Methionine
18.4% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
32.6% 0.49g
Threonine
37.7% 0.34g
Tryptophan
38.5% 0.1g
Valine
48.1% 0.52g

Vegan 4. Hemp Seeds and Lentils


image of hemp seeds
image of lentils

Hemp seed is a great source of protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of lentil.

For example, 0.4 cup of lentils (71g) and 1.1 tablespoons of hemp seeds (11g) make a complete amino acids profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:0.16 to 1:14 for lentil to hemp seed by weight.

Full nutritional profile for hemp seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, hemp seed, hulled

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup lentils and 1.1 tbsp hemp seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [8] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
19.8% 9.9g
Histidine
45.7% 0.29g
Isoleucine
48.8% 0.42g
Leucine
37.3% 0.7g
Lysine
34.4% 0.59g
Methionine
18.5% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
32% 0.48g
Threonine
41.2% 0.37g
Tryptophan
37.9% 0.1g
Valine
47.8% 0.52g

Vegan 5. Nori and Lentils


image of nori
image of lentils

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, nori is high in methionine, which is complementary to lentil.

A ratio of 0.3 cup of lentils (55g) and 27.5 sheets of nori (71g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 1.3:1 of nori to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for nori
USDA Source: Seaweed, laver, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup lentils and 27.5 sheet nori :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [9] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
18.2% 9.1g
Histidine
38.1% 0.24g
Isoleucine
46.5% 0.4g
Leucine
38% 0.72g
Lysine
29.5% 0.51g
Methionine
17% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
29.5% 0.44g
Threonine
38.2% 0.34g
Tryptophan
29% 0.08g
Valine
49.4% 0.53g

Vegan 6. White Rice and Lentils


image of white rice
image of lentils

White rice is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of lentil.

For example, 0.3 cup of lentils (54g) and 1.1 cups of white rice (204g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 4:1 of white rice to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for white rice
USDA Source: Rice, white, medium-grain, enriched, cooked

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup lentils and 1.1 cup white rice :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [10] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
19.4% 9.7g
Histidine
39.7% 0.25g
Isoleucine
48.7% 0.42g
Leucine
39.8% 0.75g
Lysine
30% 0.51g
Methionine
18% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
33.4% 0.5g
Threonine
38.4% 0.35g
Tryptophan
38.7% 0.1g
Valine
49.6% 0.54g

Vegan 7. Cornmeal and Lentils


image of cornmeal
image of lentils

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, cornmeal is high in methionine, which is complementary to lentil.

A ratio of 0.3 cup of lentils (51g) and 0.4 cup of cornmeal (47g) creates a complete protein profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:0.9 to 1:9 for lentil to cornmeal by weight.

Full nutritional profile for cornmeal
USDA Source: Cornmeal, yellow (Navajo)

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup lentils and 0.4 cup cornmeal :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [11] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
18.5% 9.2g
Histidine
40.4% 0.25g
Isoleucine
43.4% 0.37g
Leucine
49.5% 0.94g
Lysine
27.1% 0.46g
Methionine
17.2% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
31% 0.46g
Threonine
34.4% 0.31g
Tryptophan
25% 0.06g
Valine
42.7% 0.46g

Vegan 8. Pumpkin Seeds and Lentils


image of pumpkin seeds
image of lentils

Pumpkin seed is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of lentil.

For example, 3.3 tablespoons of lentils (41g) and 0.4 cup of pumpkin seeds (23g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.6:1 of pumpkin seed to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for pumpkin seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt

Table of amino acids of 3.3 tbsp lentils and 0.4 cup pumpkin seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [12] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.1% 8g
Histidine
35.7% 0.22g
Isoleucine
44.5% 0.38g
Leucine
33.6% 0.64g
Lysine
34% 0.58g
Methionine
15% 0.13g
Phenylalanine
26.7% 0.4g
Threonine
32.4% 0.29g
Tryptophan
42.1% 0.11g
Valine
49.2% 0.53g

Vegan 9. Quinoa and Lentils


image of quinoa
image of lentils

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, quinoa is high in methionine, which is complementary to lentil.

A ratio of 0.3 cup of lentils (52g) and 0.8 cup of quinoa (139g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 2.7:1 of quinoa to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for quinoa
USDA Source: Quinoa, cooked

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup lentils and 0.8 cup quinoa :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [13] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
21.6% 10.8g
Histidine
49% 0.31g
Isoleucine
49% 0.42g
Leucine
37.2% 0.7g
Lysine
38.6% 0.66g
Methionine
20.1% 0.17g
Phenylalanine
32.8% 0.49g
Threonine
38.9% 0.35g
Tryptophan
44% 0.11g
Valine
45.4% 0.49g

Vegan 10. Carrots and Lentils


image of carrots
image of lentils

Carrot is low in protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of lentil.

For example, 1.3 tablespoons of lentils (16g) and 2.9 carrots (209g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 13:1 of carrot to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for carrots
USDA Source: Carrots, raw

Table of amino acids of 1.3 tbsp lentils and 2.9 large carrots :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [14] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
6.7% 3.4g
Histidine
19.6% 0.12g
Isoleucine
25.8% 0.22g
Leucine
16.7% 0.32g
Lysine
18.1% 0.31g
Methionine
6.3% 0.05g
Phenylalanine
13.2% 0.2g
Threonine
50% 0.45g
Tryptophan
14.5% 0.04g
Valine
19.9% 0.21g

Vegan 11. Brown Rice and Lentils


image of brown rice
image of lentils

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, brown rice is high in methionine, which is complementary to lentil.

A ratio of 3.7 tablespoons of lentils (46g) and 1.1 cups of brown rice (220g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 5:1 of brown rice to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for brown rice
USDA Source: Rice, brown, long-grain, cooked (Includes foods for USDA's Food Distribution Program)

Table of amino acids of 3.7 tbsp lentils and 1.1 cup brown rice :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [15] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
20.3% 10.2g
Histidine
41.6% 0.26g
Isoleucine
48.7% 0.42g
Leucine
40.8% 0.77g
Lysine
29.7% 0.51g
Methionine
19% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
33.4% 0.5g
Threonine
39.7% 0.36g
Tryptophan
42.1% 0.11g
Valine
49.8% 0.54g

Vegan 12. Tortilla and Lentils


image of tortilla
image of lentils

Tortilla is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of lentil.

For example, 3.3 tablespoons of lentils (41g) and 3.9 tortilla (95g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 2.3:1 of tortilla to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for tortilla
USDA Source: Tortillas, ready-to-bake or -fry, corn

Table of amino acids of 3.3 tbsp lentils and 3.9 tortilla tortilla :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [16] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
18.2% 9.1g
Histidine
43.3% 0.27g
Isoleucine
41.6% 0.36g
Leucine
49.9% 0.94g
Lysine
24.2% 0.41g
Methionine
17% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
30.4% 0.45g
Threonine
37.7% 0.34g
Tryptophan
28.2% 0.07g
Valine
42.9% 0.46g

Vegetarian 13. Mayonnaise and Lentils


image of mayonnaise
image of lentils

Low in protein, mayonnaise is high in methionine, which is complementary to lentil.

A ratio of 0.3 cup of lentils (68g) and 1.1 cups of mayonnaise (236g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 3:1 of mayonnaise to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for mayonnaise
USDA Source: Salad dressing, mayonnaise, regular

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup lentils and 1.1 cup mayonnaise :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [17] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.8% 8.4g
Histidine
37.3% 0.23g
Isoleucine
48.8% 0.42g
Leucine
35.5% 0.67g
Lysine
35.1% 0.6g
Methionine
15.7% 0.14g
Phenylalanine
29.4% 0.44g
Threonine
38.9% 0.35g
Tryptophan
36.7% 0.1g
Valine
44.5% 0.48g

Vegetarian 14. Sour Cream and Lentils


image of sour cream
image of lentils

Sour cream is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of lentil.

For example, 0.3 cup of lentils (62g) and 0.6 cup of sour cream (108g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 1.7:1 of sour cream to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for sour cream
USDA Source: Cream, sour, cultured

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup lentils and 0.6 cup sour cream :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [18] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.4% 8.2g
Histidine
40.7% 0.26g
Isoleucine
48.5% 0.42g
Leucine
39.8% 0.75g
Lysine
40.1% 0.69g
Methionine
15.3% 0.13g
Phenylalanine
29.8% 0.44g
Threonine
39.2% 0.35g
Tryptophan
36.7% 0.1g
Valine
45.1% 0.49g

Vegetarian 15. Egg and Lentils


image of egg
image of lentils

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, egg is high in methionine, which is complementary to lentil.

A ratio of 0.3 cup of lentils (66g) and 0.5 egg (25g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.38:1 of egg to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for egg
USDA Source: Egg, whole, raw, fresh

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup lentils and 0.5 large egg :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [19] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
18.2% 9.1g
Histidine
38.9% 0.24g
Isoleucine
49.4% 0.42g
Leucine
37.2% 0.7g
Lysine
37.6% 0.64g
Methionine
17% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
31.1% 0.46g
Threonine
39.1% 0.35g
Tryptophan
36.6% 0.1g
Valine
47.2% 0.51g

Vegetarian 16. Yogurt and Lentils


image of yogurt
image of lentils

Yogurt is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of lentil.

For example, 0.3 cup of lentils (62g) and 0.4 cup of yogurt (90g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 1.5:1 of yogurt to lentil will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for yogurt
USDA Source: Yogurt, plain, whole milk

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup lentils and 0.4 cup yogurt :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [20] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
17.4% 8.7g
Histidine
37.3% 0.24g
Isoleucine
48% 0.41g
Leucine
38.2% 0.72g
Lysine
39.2% 0.67g
Methionine
16.3% 0.14g
Phenylalanine
30% 0.45g
Threonine
36.5% 0.33g
Tryptophan
26.3% 0.07g
Valine
49.7% 0.54g


Complete Protein Pairings

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