How to Cook Lentils

Lentils are a kind of legumes with different varieties. They are a favorite ingredient for soups, stews, and side dishes. They may also be eaten as a main entrée. Lentils are high in protein, making them a great substitute for meat.

Preparing Lentils

  1. Spread lentils in a dry towel or flat surface. Remove any debris, small stones, or dirt you might find.
  2. Rinse in cold water and drain. Lentils do not need to be soaked in water.

Cooking Lentils

You’ll need 1 cup of dried lentils, 1 ½ cups of water or broth/stock, an onion, garlic, herbs (optional), salt, and a cooking pot.

  1. Pour 1 ½ cups of water or broth into a pot and boil it in medium to high heat.
  2. Add the cup of lentils when the water boils. You may add onions, garlic cloves, and fresh herbs if you like. Do not add salt while cooking, as this tends to harden the lentils. Any acidic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar or tomatoes must also be added after cooking.
  3. Boil in medium to high heat for 3-5 minutes then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. The cooking time for lentils varies depending on the type. To make sure that you do not overcook the lentils, start tasting after 15-20 minutes. It should be tender but not mushy. Cook for another 5 minutes if you want it to be a bit more tender.
  5. Plate and serve. Enjoy!

Tips in Cooking Lentils

  • Older types of lentils will cook for a longer period of time than fresher ones. If buying ones which are packed, check any the cooking instructions included with it.
  • The ratio for cooking lentils is 1 ½ cup liquid per 1 cup lentils. Adding too much liquid will result in a soggy dish.
  • You may use any kind of broth/stock you want – vegetable, chicken, or beef stock.
  • There are different types of lentils, with different cooking times. Make sure that when you cook lentils, you do not cook different types in one pot.