Costco Indian Madras Lentils - Tasty but Misleading?

Costco-Tasty-Bites-Madras-Lentils

Tasty Bite Indian Madras Lentils at Costco

Costco sells an 8 pack of Tasty Bite Indian Madras Lentils for $13.49. 

The madras lentils can be found in the pantry and dried goods area of the Costco warehouse and oftentimes will be near items such as the pasta marinara sauce505 hatch chile, and the dehydrated hash browns.

Costco-Madras-Lentils-Indian

Each individual pack contains 10 ounces of lentils, beans and spices in a tomato based sauce. The Costco Madras Lentils are organic, vegetarian, non-GMO, and imported from India. 

Costco's Madras Lentils are Imported from India!

Originally, I loved that these were imported from India even though the dish could easily be made here in America, because it added a certain level of authenticity to the product. 

You’ll see later in the review, that this isn’t as Indian as a dish as I expected.

What are Madras Lentils?

The packaging doesn’t do much to describe what exactly madras lentils are. The box states that these are Lentils, red beans, and spices simmered in a creamy tomato sauce. 

To me, it kind of sounds like an Indian flavored vegetarian chili. 

Madras-Lentils-at-Costco

Madras Lentils are actually a dish from Northern India that is essentially a lentil and kidney bean curry. 

The lentils and beans are simmered in butter and cream to make the tomato flavored curry. Many would consider madras lentils to be a comfort food.

Costco Cost Comparison - Madras Lentils

How Much are Costco's Madras Lentils?

Costco retails the Indian Madras Lentils for $13.49, but during their warehouse savings events, you can occasionally find the Lentils for the price of $9.29. 

This is a monstrous savings of $4.20 or 31%. 

Costco vs The Competition

At retail, each 10 ounce pouch costs $1.69 and when on sale that drops down to $1.16. At Target, their Good and Gather brand of Madras Lentils sells for $2.69 and at Safeway/Tom Thumb this Tasty Bite Madras Lentil pack sells for $4.59. 

Costco comes out ahead again, and at $1.16 a pack these Madras Lentils are an absolute steal.

Madras Lentils - Tasty Tips

This is a new item for me, and I’m sure it’s going to be for a lot of people. I actually have never even heard of Madras lentils before I saw them in Costco. 

Madras-Lentils-from-Costco

I obviously had no idea what they were, how to use them, or what to eat them with. 

Luckily the box does provide quite a bit of information on how to properly use this lentil and kidney bean curry.

Making Chili with these Lentils

Tasty Bite’s main recommendation is to transform the madras lentils into a more Americanized chili as they put it. 

Madras-Lentils-from-Costco-Tasty-Tips

You can add classic chili ingredients such as garlic, onions, ground beef or ground turkey, and shredded cheese. You can even serve this over a bed of rice. 

Other Madras Lentils Recipe Ideas

Another option suggested by Tasty Bite is to add the lentils over a baked potato and top with sour cream, cheese, and chives. 

They also recommend eating the lentils in a lettuce wrap or in a taco shell. For both of those options, I would probably add in some ground beef or chicken breast for additional protein.

Costco Indian Madras Lentils - Taste Test

I normally don’t do this with many Costco products, but I did opt to heat these Tasty Bite Madras Lentils in the microwave. 

I feel most items that come in a pouch can be microwaved with minimal difference compared to a stove top heating. 

Costco-Madras-Lentils
Costco-Madras-Lentils-with-Tomatos

Madras lentils are a new food item for me, and I did the safe thing and ate the lentil curry over a bed of rice. 

If it’s good enough to be pictured on the box, it’s good enough to be my first experience with the food. Who wore it better?

What do the Madras Lentils Taste Like?

From my very first bite, the madras lentils reminded me of an American chili. There were beans and a tomato based sauce, which is exactly what a chili is. 

If I didn’t already know, I wouldn’t have known that these were Indian Madras Lentils instead of a classic chili. 

Madras-Lentils-Chili

Even looking at the ingredients list, it doesn’t look any different than what you would find in a chili.

It’s the typical beans combined with a tomato paste, seasoned with salt, cumin, chili pepper powder and dried ginger. Ginger may be the only non-traditional chili ingredient.

Are Madras Lentils Good?

While it did taste like chili which was not what I was expecting, it still tasted pretty darn good. It’s a great option to keep in your pantry for a quick and easy meal. 

The lentils were flavorful and overall the chili was tasty. It truly is a versatile item that can be used as a topping or a centerpiece for a meal.

Are Madras Lentils just rebranded American Chili?

If going from taste, I’m going to have to say yes. It tastes just as a can of chili would, with one difference being the lack of meat. Another slight difference is the type of beans being used. 

American chili is made with pinto, black, or kidney beans, while Madras lentils are made with lentils and red kidney beans. Is that enough of a differentiator to not call this chili? 

Madras Lentils Taste Test

I would bet if I topped some hot dogs with these Costco Madras lentils and served them as chili dogs at a party, that a large portion of people would be none the wiser.

Madras-Lentils-Costco-Chili-Dog
Anybody want a chili dog?

I’m not the sharpest lightbulb in the toolshed, but it’s looking to me that Tasty Bites just took some chili and gave it a fancy and unique name. 

It’s not bad chili, and actually more tasty than most canned chilis. I just don’t like to be deceived and that is the feeling that I’m left with now after eating this item.

Costco Indian Madras Lentils - Cooking/Heating Instructions

Costco-Madras-Lentils-Heating-Instructions

There are two options to cook these Madras Lentils from Costco. You can heat them in the microwave or on the stove top.

Microwave:
Tear pouch 2” to vent and heat on high for 1 minute (microwave oven times may vary). The box actually says ovens times may vary, but I’m going to go ahead and change that to microwave oven.  

Stovetop:
Pour contents into a pan; heat on low for 4 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally. 

Both methods of cooking the lentils seem pretty easy and straightforward. Normally I’m against the microwave option for most Costco foods, but I think the microwave is going to be acceptable in this case. 

We just need to heat the Madras Lentils and there is no concern for crispiness; so I think the microwave will get the job done adequately.

Madras Lentils Costco - Nutritional Information

How many calories in Madras Lentils?

One serving of Tasty Bite Madras Lentils from Costco is half a pouch or two-thirds of a cup. Each serving contains 140 calories with 6 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of protein. 

An entire pouch consists of 290 calories with 11 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbs, and 11 grams of protein. 

Madras-Lentils-Nutritional-Information-Costco

Nutritional Profile Analysis

There is a surprisingly low amount of calories per pouch. It’s a pretty simple meal that includes lentils, kidney beans, and tomato paste, but I did expect there to be more than 290 calories per pouch.

The fat/carb/protein ratio is ok, and this might be a tasty and filling diet food. 

High Sodium

The only issue seems to be the high sodium count. There are 940 mg of sodium per package which is 41% of the recommended daily value. 

This is an awfully high amount and is something to be cognizant about when eating these Madras Lentils from Costco.

Costco Madras Lentils Review
Costco-Tasty-Bites-Madras-Lentils

Product Name: Tasty Bite Indian Madras Lentils

Product Description:
Price: $13.49 Retail / $9.29 Sale
Quantity: 8 Pouches
Location Within Costco: Pantry and Dry Goods Area
Price Per Pouch: $1.69 / $1.16

Summary

I’ve always been intrigued by Tasty Bite’s Madras Lentils at Costco, but unfortunately, it’s your typical American chili.

I would never have guessed that this was an Indian food product. This is especially disappointing because the lentil “curry” is imported from India!

I do feel a little misled about the product, but regardless, its priced right, the bites are tasty, and its fairly healthy for you. The madras lentils hit all checkboxes but it just isn’t any different from chili.

Overall
7.2/10
7.2/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10
  • Convenience - 9/10
    9/10
  • Taste - 7/10
    7/10
  • Nutrition - 9/10
    9/10
  • CFDB Score - 3/10
    3/10

Pros

  • Great price
  • Delicious lentil chili
  • Easy to prepare

Cons

  • Taste just like American chili

Final Thoughts

I was actually quite excited to try Costco’s Madras Lentils as there was a lot of potential there. The Madras lentils were relatively healthy, could sit in the pantry for a year, and could become a quick and easy meal when I was in a pinch. 

Unfortunately, I just don’t see the difference between this item marketed as an Indian dish and the typical can of chili that is sold in the same aisle. Realistically, I was expecting at worst a unique tasting Indian inspired curry, but instead just got some traditional American chili. 

I feel bamboozled and for that reason, I won’t be purchasing Tasty Bites’ Madras Lentils again. 

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