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How to Cook Lentils: A Simple and Delicious Guide

Lentils are one of the most versatile and nutritious legumes you can eat. They are rich in protein, fiber, iron, folate, and antioxidants, and they can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation. Lentils are also very affordable and easy to store, making them a great pantry staple. But how do you cook lentils properly? In this article, Trendbbq will show you how to cook lentils in two different ways: on the stovetop and in the Instant Pot. We will also give you some tips on how to season and use lentils in various dishes.

1. What are lentils?

Lentils are small, lens-shaped edible legumes that belong to the botanical family Fabaceae. They are a staple food in many parts of the world and have been cultivated for thousands of years. Lentils are known for their high protein and fiber content, making them a nutritious and versatile ingredient in various cuisines. They come in different colors, sizes, and varieties, each with its own unique flavor and culinary uses.

2. Types of lentils?

Here are some common types of lentils:

  • Brown Lentils: These are the most common type of lentils. They have a mild, earthy flavor and hold their shape well when cooked. Brown lentils are often used in soups, stews, and salads.
  • Green Lentils: Green lentils are slightly larger and have a peppery flavor. They also retain their shape when cooked, making them suitable for salads and side dishes.
  • French Green Lentils (Puy Lentils): These are a type of green lentil grown in the Puy region of France. They are small and have a unique, nutty flavor. Puy lentils are prized for their firm texture and are often used in salads and as a side dish.
  • Red Lentils: Red lentils are smaller and cook faster than brown or green lentils. They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and tend to break down when cooked, making them ideal for soups, curries, and stews.
  • Black Lentils (Beluga Lentils): These lentils are small and black, resembling beluga caviar, which is how they got their name. They have a rich, earthy flavor and hold their shape well. Black lentils are often used in salads and as a side dish.
  • Yellow Lentils: Yellow lentils, also known as split yellow lentils, are hulled and split brown lentils. They have a mild, nutty flavor and cook rapidly. They are commonly used in Indian cuisine for dishes like dals (lentil-based curries).
  • Laird Lentils: These large, green lentils are primarily grown in Canada. They have a mild flavor and hold their shape well when cooked, making them suitable for salads and side dishes.
  • Brown or Green Lentil Varieties: Within the brown and green lentil categories, you can find various regional and specialized varieties, each with its unique flavor and characteristics.
Types of lentils
Types of lentils

3. How to Cook Lentils on the Stove

  • Wash your lentils in clean water before boiling them to eliminate any dust or impurities.
  • Cook on a stovetop, using 3 cups of liquid (water, broth, etc.) to 1 cup of dry lentils in a large saucepan.
  • Add seasonings such as garlic, bay leaves, or herbs, but don’t add salt yet.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Refer to the table below for the cooking times for different types of lentils.
  • Strain the lentils and return them to the pan. Salt to taste and enjoy.
Type of LentilCooking Time
Red or Yellow15-20 minutes
Black20-25 minutes
Brown or Green20-30 minutes

4. How to Cook Lentils in the Instant Pot

  • Rinse your lentils with fresh water before cooking to remove any dust or debris.
  • Cook in the Instant Pot, using 2 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of dry lentils in the inner pot.
  • Season as you like with garlic, bay leaves, or herbs.
  • Rotate the pressure valve into the sealing position and set the cooker to high pressure. Refer to the table below for the cooking times for different types of lentils in the Instant Pot.
  • After the timer has expired, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, and then switch the pressure valve to the venting position to release any remaining pressure.
  • Open the lid and stir the lentils. There will be some extra liquid, but the lentils will absorb it as you stir and serve.
Type of LentilCooking Time
Red or Yellow5 minutes
Black10 minutes
Brown or Green15 minutes

5. How to Use Lentils in Your Meals

Lentils, a versatile ingredient, can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. Here are some suggestions for incorporating cooked lentils into your meals:

  • Enhance the protein content and texture of your soups, stews, curries, or chili by adding cooked lentils.
  • Create a satisfying salad by combining lentils with greens, vegetables, cheese, nuts, and your favorite dressing.
  • Prepare vegan burgers or meatballs by mashing lentils with spices and oats.
  • For a hearty side dish, mix lentils with rice, quinoa, couscous, or other grains.
  • Whip up a creamy hummus dip by blending lentils with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and a pinch of salt.

Lentils are a delicious and nutritious food that you can easily cook at home. Whether you use the stovetop or the Instant Pot method, you can have perfectly cooked lentils in no time. You can also use lentils in various recipes to add more flavor and nutrition to your meals. Try cooking lentils today and enjoy their benefits.

>>> See more: How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans: Tips and Tricks

6. FAQs

6.1. Do I need to soak lentils before cooking them?

No, unlike some other legumes, lentils do not require soaking. You can cook them directly without soaking.

6.2. What’s the ratio of water to lentils for cooking?

A common ratio is 2:1, meaning two cups of water for every one cup of lentils. However, this ratio can vary depending on the type of lentils and your desired consistency.

6.3. How long does it take to cook lentils?

Cooking times vary by the type of lentils. Red lentils cook in about 15-20 minutes, while green or brown lentils can take 20-30 minutes. Check the package instructions or taste for desired tenderness.

6.4. How do I prevent lentils from turning mushy?

To maintain lentils’ texture, avoid overcooking. Red lentils tend to become mushy quickly, so be vigilant. For firmer lentils, use brown or green varieties.

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Emily TayLor

Hello, Emily TayLor Here. I’m a content Writer. I’m Writing About Life, Food, Finance and Related Contents on Website.
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