How to Cook Lentils

If you know how to cook lentils, you can prepare a healthy, inexpensive and tasty vegetarian meal in no time!

Benefits of Lentils

  • Lentils are one of the most nutritious foods ever! They are packed with fiber, protein, iron and Vitamin B1.

  • Unlike most other legumes, lentils don't have to be soaked before you cook them. This makes them a good choice when you need a quick meal.

  • Lentils are inexpensive.

  • Lentils store well. Stored in an airtight container in a cool dry, dark place, they will keep for at least a year.

Types of Lentils

There are more varieties of lentils than I imagined! There are black lentils, yellow lentils, pink, red, green, white and brown lentils!

I have used only brown lentils (which are also called green lentils - go figure!) and red lentils. Have you tried some of the other varieties? I'd love to hear how you like them!

How To Cook Lentils

  • Measure out the amount you need and put them on a plate.

  • Sort the lentils, removing any pebbles, other debris, or discolored lentils.

  • Put the lentils in a strainer or colander with small holes. Rinse them under cool running water.

  • Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. You'll need at least 3 cups/750 mL of water for every 1 cup/250 mL of lentils.

  • Gently add the lentils to the boiling water.

  • When the water returns to the boil, lower the heat.

  • Simmer until the lentils are cooked.

Lentil Cooking Time

  • Lentils toughen with age. The older they are, the longer they take to cook. As far as I can tell, there is no way to tell how old they are by looking at them. This means that you can't know in advance how long your lentils will take to cook! It's always a good idea to give yourself lots of time when cooking lentils.

  • Red lentils will take at least 20 minutes.

  • Green lentils will take at least 30 minutes.

Testing Lentils for Doneness

  • Scoop out a few lentils, allow them to cool for a moment, and put them in your mouth and give them a chew to test their consistency.

  • You may want fairly firm lentils for a salad. You may want very mushy lentils for a casserole. It's up to you!

Now that you know how to cook lentils, you can eat them plain, with rice - or use them in delicious lentil recipes.

Here are some of my favorites.

Lentil Entrée Recipes

Simple Lentil Soup Recipes