How to Cook Lentils: Cooking Different Varieties

Lentils make wonderful soups, side dishes, salads, and even cutlets, but these legumes are not very popular here. Do you know why? Often we simply do not know how to cook lentils properly. Although in fact there is nothing complicated about it.

How to cook lentils – 5 basic rules

Lentils come in different kinds: red, yellow, green, brown, and even black. Depending on the color it is cooked in different ways. However, there are some general rules for the preparation of lentils:

  • Before cooking, lentils should be rinsed well under running water.
  • Green and brown lentils should be soaked before cooking, yellow, red, and black lentils do not need to be soaked.
  • There should be twice as much water as the beans. That is, for 1 cup of lentils there should be 2 cups of water.
  • You should salt lentils at the end of cooking – if you salt them at once, it will take 5-10 minutes longer to cook them and they may get hard.
  • Cook lentils on medium heat at first, and then on low heat after they boil.

It is not necessary to cover the lentils with a lid, but you should remove the foam and stir them from time to time – the beans can stick to the bottom.

How to cook lentils depending on their color

Different colored lentils take different amounts of time to cook, and some types need to be soaked beforehand so that the lentils are not stiff.

How to cook green lentils and how long

Green lentils retain their shape well, so you get whole beans after boiling.

Soak green lentils in cold water for 1-2 hours. Drain and rinse under running water. After boiling bring the lentils to a boil for about 40 minutes.

Use green lentils for side dishes and in salads.

How to cook brown lentils and how long

Brown lentils take a little longer to cook than green lentils.

Pour cold water over the beans and leave for 40-60 minutes. Then rinse under running water, pour clean water, and bring to a boil. Boil it for about 30 minutes.

Brown lentils are used to make soups, stews, and casseroles.

Cook red and yellow lentils for how long?

Red and yellow lentils do not need to be soaked.

Rinse the lentils, add water, and let them come to a boil. After boiling, cook the beans for 10-15 minutes.

Yellow and red lentils are used to make mashed potatoes, porridge, and puree soups.

How to cook black lentils and how long

Black lentils are not as popular as other types, but they are great because they cook quickly and hold their shape well.

Black lentils don’t need to soak either – rinse the beans, fill them with water, and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Black lentils are good in salads or as a side dish.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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