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How To Cook Lentils: 5 Best Recipes

6 mins read
Image by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash



Adding a lentil recipe as one of the side dishes is the heart of any meal. Regular brown or green lentils make an excellent choice. Cooking lentils at home is super easy. Learn how to cook lentils perfectly. Lentils fall among the many best vegetarian recipes with a mild earthy flavor.

Below is a list of ways on how to cook lentils in unique styles. Try these recipes and make your regular lentils luscious.

How To Cook Lentils: Easy Dal Recipe

Recipe 1

This recipe is widely enjoyed with basmati rice, chapati or flatbread dipping.

Ingredients Needed

  • Water
  • Lentils (whole or split)
  • Saucepan
  • Ghee or oil
  • Dried red chilies
  • Cumin seeds
  • Garlic
  • Cloves
  • Cilantro
  • Curry leaves
  • Ground turmeric
  • Onion

Method

  1. Wash and clean 1 cup lentils with care to get rid of any dust particles or small debris and soak for about 30 minutes
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan. Add two red chilies including chopped onions and minced garlic to it.
  3. Cook the added ingredients well for about 5 minutes until the onions become reddish-brown
  4. Add the soaked lentils to the pan. Always use a saucepan that is bigger than the number of lentils used. Remember that once the lentils are cooked they will double or triple in size.
  5. Also, add ground turmeric and salt as per taste to your lentils.
  6. Pour 3 cups of water into the pan and bring it to boil
  7. Once the water is boiled, cover it tightly using a lid and reduce the heat
  8. Cook the lentils for about 15 to 20 minutes (for whole grains) or 5 to 7 minutes (for split red lentils)
  9. Keep ensuring that the lentils do not stick to the bottom of the pan
  10. Once your lentils are tender, they are good to go
  11. Turn off the simmer and heat ghee or oil separately in a frying pan
  12. Add dried red chilies, garlic, clove, cumin seeds, and curry leaves to the pan and toast in low flame
  13. Pour the cooked spices into the warm lentils
  14. Mix them well
  15. Garnish with cilantro
  16. Serve hot

How To Cook Lentils: Soup Recipe

Lentil soup
Photo by Rick Eisenmenger from Flickr / All rights reserved

Recipe 2

This recipe is widely enjoyed with cornbread, popovers and salad

Ingredients Needed

  • Yellow onion
  • Fennel bulb
  • Carrot
  • Clove
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Lentils (brown or green)
  • Tomatoes
  • Vegetable broth
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • Paprika
  • Oregano
  • Spinach
  • Large pot
  • Pepper
  • Cilantro

Method

  1. Begin with peeling and chopping. Dice 1 medium yellow onion, 1 bulb of fennel, peel 2 large carrots and grate 1 garlic. Set aside
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium flame in a large pot.
  3. Once the oil is heated, saute the previously chopped, cut, and grated vegetables in the pot for about 6 to 7 minutes.
  4. Soon the onions will turn reddish-brown. Now add the carrots, roasted tomatoes, 1 quarter of vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, and another tablespoon of paprika to the pot
  5. Cook all the above-mentioned ingredients for about 22 to 25 minutes until the lentils become tender
  6. Stir and add 3 cups of chopped spinach and grated garlic to it.
  7. Stir for another 5 minutes
  8. You can also season with additional salt and pepper
  9. Garnish with cilantro before serving

How To Cook Lentils: Lentil Tacos

Lentil tacos
Photo by Tasty Yummies from Flickr / All rights reserved

Recipe 3

This recipe is gluten dairy-free

Ingredients Needed

  • Lentils (green)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Red onion
  • Corn tortillas
  • Salsa
  • Feta crumbles
  • Cilantro
  • Vegetable broth
  • Brown rice
  • Smoked paprika
  • Fennel seeds
  • Black pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Granulated garlic powder
  • Pressure cooker

Method

  1. Add 4 cups of vegetable broth, 2 cups of brown rice, 2 cups of green lentils, 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds, 2 teaspoons of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the pressure cooker
  2. Place the pressure cooker on the simmer and turn on the heat
  3. Stir all the added ingredients with care and lock the lid
  4. Cook your lentils at high pressure for about 15 minute
  5. After about 2 pressure beeps, turn off the heat and wait for its natural release
  6. Open the lid and add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the dish
  7. Stir well and add any additional required salt
  8. Warm 8 corn tortillas
  9. Now load your tortillas with smoky lentils, 1 head of romaine chopped lettuce, 1 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes, 1/2 red onion, 1 cup of salsa, 1/2 cup of feta crumbles
  10. Garnish with cilantro leaves

How To Cook Lentils: Lentil Nachos

Lentil nachos
Photo by Natasha Bhogal from Unsplash / Image may be subject to copyright

Recipe 4

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free

Ingredients Needed

  • Vegetable broth
  • Brown rice
  • Free lentils
  • Smoked paprika
  • Fennel seeds
  • Black pepper
  • Raw cashews
  • Green chillies
  • Yellow mustard
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chillie powder
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Kosher salt
  • Pressure cooker
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Cilantro
  • Hot sauce
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Pickled onions
  • Pickled radishes
  • Green onions
  • Corn chips
  • Tomatoes

Method

  1. Add 4 cups of vegetable broth, 2 cups of brown rice, 2 cups of green lentils, 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds, 2 teaspoons of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the pressure cooker
  2. Place the pressure cooker on the simmer and turn on the heat
  3. Stir all the added ingredients with care and lock the lid
  4. Cook your lentils at high pressure for about 15 minute
  5. After about 2 pressure beeps, turn off the heat and wait for its natural release
  6. Open the lid and add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the dish
  7. Stir well
  8. Check for salt and keep aside
  9. Boil 1 cup of raw cashews for about 10 to 15 minutes
  10. Drain them and blend until highly creamy
  11. Also add some green chilies, 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard, half teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, kosher salt, and water to it before blending
  12. Now, take a minimum of 2 cups of the lentils cooked previously to a bowl
  13. Add a quarter of the creamy homemade cheese
  14. Mix with 1 small tomato, 2 green onions, and 4 cups of corn chips
  15. Garnish with hot sauce and cilantro
  16.  You can also use pickled onions, jalapenos, and radishes

How To Cook Lentils: Creamy Lentil Soup

Creamy Lentil Soup
Photo by Robert Judge from Flickr / Some rights reserved

Recipe 5

Ingredients Needed

  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Cumin powder
  • Lentils
  • Potato
  • Carrot
  • Vegetable broth
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Milk
  • Cream

Method

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot.
  2. Add 1 cup of chopped onion and 1 minced garlic to it.
  3. Saute them for about 5 minutes
  4. Add a quarter cup of chopped parsley to the pot
  5. Stir and add half a tablespoon of cumin powder to the parsley for about 2 minutes
  6. Now add 1 cup of lentils to the mixture along with 2 chopped potatoes, carrots and 4 cups of vegetable broth
  7. Add half a tablespoon of salt and black pepper to it with an additional cup of milk
  8. You can also put extra cream as a topping

Types Of Lentils

1. Brown Lentils

Brown lentils
Photo by Jules from Flickr / Some rights reserved

Brown lentils fall among the most common variety ranging from dark black to khaki brown. Brown lentils have a high concentration of fiber. They have a mild and earthy flavor providing an exquisite taste to your dal recipe.

Belonging to the legume family, brown lentils are edible and particularly used with soups and salads. They are a substitute for meat-based protein and work excellently with veggie burgers. Among all the lentils, this variety holds its shape well after it is fully cooked.

2. Green Lentils

Green Lentils
Photo by jypsygen from Flickr / Some rights reserved

Green lentils are comparatively bigger. Thus, their cooking time is more than brown ones. They taste peppery and have a harder outer layer.

Green lentils are seeds extracted from lentil pods. They also belong to the legume family ranging from pale green to ones with blue spots. Having a hard outer layer, green lentils are a cheap and perfect alternative to lentils de puy. They have a glossy exterior perfect for stews being rich in essential proteins and vitamins

3. Red Lentils

Red Lentils
Photo by Theresa Carpenter from Flickr / Some rights reserved

Cooking lentils is not much difficult but finding the right variety among various types of lentils seems quite of a task. Red lentils vary from orange to yellow lentils making an exquisite side dish cuisine.

These types of lentils are very famous in North Indian cuisine and are enjoyed enormously as dal. Yellow lentils are popularly consumed as a thick stew with bay leaf.

4. Black Beluga Lentils

Black Belunga Lentils
Photo by you can count on me from Flickr / All rights reserved 

Black lentils have a soft texture with a beautiful earthy flavor. These cooked lentils are a great base for salads and look like caviar. They are very similar to french green lentils.

Their cook time is about 20 minutes. People who love lentils and also need protein must consume these black lentils.

5. Lentils De Puy

Puy Lentils
Photo by Jules from Flickr / Some rights reserved

These are french lentils grown on the volcanic soil of a special region in France. These french lentils have a rich peppery flavor and are eaten as a course side dish cuisine.

French lentils are a great base for meat or fish and can be easily featured as a side dish cuisine. Raw french lentils must be sealed in a perfectly airtight container.

Check out our website for more interesting recipes

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