Believe it or not, lentils are easy to make, and they are healthy. Lentils make a great side dish or even a main dish. Best of all, they are inexpensive to make and ready in about 30 minutes.
If you are looking for an easy, healthy, and protein packed side or meal to make, lentils are perfect. Lentils can be made normally in 30 minutes or less!
Types of Lentils
When you are learning how to cook lentils, whether you are wanting to know how to cook lentils on the stove or in an instant pot, you need to start by deciding which lentil recipe you want to make and what type of lentils you’ll need.
There are a surprising number of lentils you can make. Did you know there are 5 types of lentils?
- Brown Lentils
These you can make on the stove top in about 15-20 minutes. You will want to use 3 cups of liquid to 1 cup of dried brown lentils. Make sure to grab a big enough pan as these will double or triple in volume as they are cooked. These tend to have a mild earthy flavor.
- Green Lentils
Green lentils are the ones with the highest cooking time. These will need to cook upwards of 45 minutes in order to cook completely. Green lentils will also be brought to a boil and then covered while simmering for 25-30 minutes.
Though even when they are done, they will be a bit harder outside then most, making these great for salads or to mix into other side dishes. These lentils do tend to be a little spicier and give off a peppery taste.
- Red and Yellow Lentils
These are made similar to brown lentils. You need to use 3 cups of liquid to 1 cup of lentils. Bring them to a boil and then turn down the heat and let them simmer covered until they are tender. They should only have to simmer for 15- 20 minutes as well.
Red and Yellow lentils also have an earthy flavor, but also lined with a sweeter flavor as well. They also are some of the softer lentils so they can break down quickly when cooked.
- Black Beluga Lentils
For these you are going to boil the water ahead of time, once the water is boiled, add in the black lentils and cook them uncovered for 20 minutes. When they are done, drain the water and then rinse them and then drain the water again.
Black lentils are the earthiest flavor of the lentils. They are also the most nutrient dense. Beluga lentils pair wonderfully with fish or chicken.
- Puy Lentils
For puy lentils, you will do the same as the brown, red, and yellow lentils. Rinse the lentils, and then transfer them into a pan that can fit one cup of lentils and 3 cups of liquid. They will expand so make sure to use a large pan. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover them to let the puy simmer for 40-45 minutes or until they are tender.
Puy lentils have a very similar rich peppery flavor like the green lentils. However, these take a little longer to cook than green lentils.
How to Cook Lentils
For most lentils they all have generally the same type of technique to make them. You will want to rinse the lentils before cooking them. I like to use a cheesecloth to make them easy to wash and I don’t lose any to the drain.
Then, transfer them to the pan either with cool or boil water (whichever the recipe calls for) then, reduce the heat and let the lentils simmer until they are tender.
Popular Recipes for Lentils
You can use lentils in quite a few recipes. Here are a few lentil recipe suggestions!
These are just a few ideas! Take one of your favorite recipes and add some lentils and give it a shot. They are a great way to add some healthy protein!
How to Store Dried Lentils
Storing lentils is no different than any of your other dried pantry goods. You need to make sure they are in an airtight container and stored in a cool dry place. Lentils do well kept in a pantry or cupboard.
How to Store Cooked Lentils
To store cooked lentils you will want to place them in an airtight container and then store them in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
To reheat them, the microwave will do just fine! Just know, the red lentils might become a little mushier as the days go on.
Lentils Recipe Ingredients
Here’s a list of what you need:
- Dried lentils
- Chicken stock
- Ground black pepper
- Bay leaves
We use chicken stock when cooking lentils. Stock gives it a richer flavor. You can use chicken broth instead.
For vegetarian lentils, use plain water, vegetable stock, or vegetable broth.
How to Cook Lentils
- Finely chop onion, carrots, and celery.
- Melt butter in a medium-sized pot.
- Add the vegetables to the pot and sauté until lightly browned.
- Add bay leaves, salt, and pepper.
- Add chicken stock and lentils.
- Cook on medium-low heat until the lentils are done, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Love beans? Try these recipes!
- Barbecue Baked Beans
- Calico Beans
- Charro Beans
- How to Cook Black Beans
- Instant Pot Refried Beans
- Red Beans and Rice
Favorite Beginner Recipes and How to Articles
- Cooking Carrots on the Stove
- How to Boil Eggs on the Stove
- How to Cook Oatmeal
- How to Freeze Onions
- How to Make Beef Jerky
- How to Make Coleslaw
- How to Make Potato Soup
Easy Lentils Recipe
- 8 ounces dried lentils
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 bay leaves
- ground black pepper to taste
- salt to taste
Finely chop onion, carrots, and celery.
Melt butter in a medium-sized pot.
Add the vegetables to the pot and sauté until lightly browned.
Add bay leaves, salt, and pepper.
Add chicken stock and lentils.
Cook on medium-low heat until the lentils are done, about 20 to 25 minutes.