A Complete Guide to Cooking With Lentils
Whether you've decided to go vegan or you just love a good dahl (and who doesn't?), learning how to cook with lentils opens up the door to a plethora of delicious plant-based foods and meals. Unfortunately, lentils have gotten a reputation for being somewhat challenging to cook with... many of us hear about things like rinsing and soaking and sprouting, and we get understandably intimidated. But actually, cooking with lentils is super simple, once you know what you're doing. Here's a quick step-by-step guide to cooking lentils, and five classic recipes to use them in.
COOKING LENTILS: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
- Place lentils into a strainer, and rinse under tepid water. As you're rinsing the lentils, finger through them to ensure you remove any straggling dirt or debris.
- Pour 3 cups of water or broth into a pan and heat on the stove at medium-high heat. We STRONGLY recommend using broth, as your lentils will be infused with the delicious flavors of the stock. Add 1 cup of lentils and bring to a boil.
- Once the liquid is boiling, turn down the heat to low to allow the liquid to simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender. This will take 15-20 minutes for whole lentils, and 5-7 minutes for split lentils.
- Once the lentils are tender and the water has boiled away, turn off the heat and keep the lentils covered for about 5-10 minutes to allow them to continue absorbing the steam, just like you would rice.
- Now it's time for the finishing touch: Salt the lentils to taste. When making lentils (unlike cooking pasta) salting happens at the end, not the beginning.
You'll notice we didn't say anything about soaking—unlike with most legumes, there's no need to soak lentils!
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES
Lentils and curry go together like peas and carrots... must be a legume thing. (via Pinch of Yum)
Stuffed with lentils, Pecorino-Romano cheese, cremini mushrooms, and brown rice, this dish isn't just filling, it's absolutely protein packed. (via The Kitchn)
Meat lover? We feel you. But we guarantee you'll leave these meatless balls of yum just as much as your usual go-to variety. (via Vegetarian Ventures)
Kid-approved and veg-friendly, these sloppy joes may be even tastier than the original. (via Minimalist Baker)
Curries are warming, comforting, and perfect for fall and winter evenings. This coconut- and lentil-based version adds "healthy" to that list. (via Minimalist Baker)