How To Cook Lentils? Types of Lentils 

How To Cook Lentils

They are the world’s oldest cultivated legumes, so it’s no surprise that lentils are eaten all over the world – from India to the Middle East, Europe and America. But how can you cook lentils? 

How to cook lentils? 

  1. The cooking time of dried lentils depends on the type of lentils.
  2. The green 35-45 minutes.
  3. The black 25-35 minutes.
  4. The brown 35-45 minutes.
  5. The red and yellow lentils 15 minutes, when added to soup 25-35 minutes.

Lentils are usually used in soups and stews. Green and brown lentils hold their shape fairly well if not overcooked and can be added to salads and other dishes. The varieties that are tender after cooking are mainly used to thicken stews and soups or made into purees.

Wash lentils

A few simple steps are required before the lentils are cooked and further processed.  

First, spread the lentils in a single layer on a white kitchen towel or light-colored work surface. Check for dirt, small stones and damaged lentils and throw them away. 

After checking the lentils, place them in a strainer and rinse thoroughly under cold water. 

When the rinsing is done they are ready to be cooked. The lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking. 

How to cook lentils?

Before cooking advice can be given, it must first be clear which lentils we want to cook. There are different types with different applications and different cooking times. Here we first discuss the cooking times and then the properties of the different types of lentils.  

Green lentils

To cook green lentils, take the ratio of 1 cup lentils to 2½ cups water. Bring the water and lentils to a boil and simmer for 35-45 minutes. Don’t forget to season the cooking water with some herbs for a tastier end product. 

Black (Beluga) lentils

To cook black lentils, take the ratio of 2¼ cups of water to 1 cup of lentils. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes until tender. 

brown lentils

Take the ratio of 1 cup of dry brown lentils to 2½ to 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 35-45 minutes. If used in a soup or stew, add them to the soup with about 40 minutes of cooking time left before the soup is done. 

Red lentils

These red lentils cook quickly, usually in about 15-30 minutes. When using them in a soup or stew, simply add them to the pan with 15-30 minutes of cooking time left. If you’re not using them in a soup, bring 1½ cups of water and 1 cup of dry lentils to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  

yellow lentils

Yellow lentils cook quickly, usually in about 15-30 minutes. When using them in a soup or stew, simply add them to the pan with 15-30 minutes of cooking time left. If you’re not using them in a soup, bring 1½ cups of water and 1 cup of dry lentils to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. 

As you probably know, these are the cooking times of dried lentils. You can also buy canned lentils in a jar. Of course, you must then follow the processing instructions on the jar.  

Types of Lentils

Five types of lentils are discussed here, including the taste, texture and in which you can use them. The lentils all have their own taste and application.  

green lentils

Green lentils are very similar to brown lentils, but they have a more robust and slightly peppery flavor and come in different sizes. Green lentils can range in color from pale or mottled green to a slate green with hints of blue and black.  

Like brown lentils, green lentils hold their shape well. This, combined with their strong flavor, makes green lentils ideal for salads or side dishes. 

Black Beluga lentils 

When cooked, black beluga lentils are shiny, small and black – they look a bit like caviar: hence their name. 

Thanks to their rich, earthy taste, smooth texture and beautiful appearance, these lentils make an excellent base for salads or as a feature with any kind of protein. 

brown lentils

Brown lentils are the most common — any bag in the grocery store that says “lentils” with no other description is probably full of brown lentils. This variety can range in color from khaki brown to dark green and has a mild, earthy flavor. 

The strain holds its shape well during cooking, making it ideal for use in warm salads, stews, soups and casseroles. Brown lentils also work well in veggie burgers or veggie meatloaf. 

Red and yellow lentils

This variety of lentils ranges in color from golden yellow to orange and red. They are also the only variety sold “split,” meaning they are made into smaller lentils. Common in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, these slightly sweet and nutty lentils are key to classic dishes such as Indian dhal. 

Due to their “split” nature, this variety of lentils falls apart when cooked, making them ideal for use in soups or stews. 

In summary and clear in a table, it looks like this:  

Kind Appearance tastes Texture Application
green   Small and dark green  Earthy, slightly starchy/peppery flavor  Firm, bouncy texture that won’t fall apart even when cooked  Salads and side dishes 
Black (Beluga)  Small and jet black  Robust, meaty earthy taste  Firm, creamy texture that holds shape  Salads and side dishes 
Brown  Medium, light green or brown  Vegetable, mineral flavor  Relatively firm texture when cooked  Salads, soups, burgers and side dishes 
Red   small, orange  Soft taste with floral accents  Fall apart completely when cooked  Soups, Indian dahl (=indian 
legume dish) 
Yellow  Medium, light golden yellow  Aromatic, slightly nutty flavor  Fall apart completely when cooked  Soups, Indian dahl (=indian 
legume dish) 

How to Season Lentils?

Whether in a salad or soup or as a base for a main course, lentils make a hearty and healthy addition to any meal. If it’s not possible to use a recipe, it’s easy to make a lentil-based dish without a lot of work. 

Because of their rather delicate, earthy taste, lentils go well with a variety of dishes and in almost any type of cuisine. The best time to add flavor to lentils is during cooking.  

Speaking of cooking lentils, you can also add a garden herb stock cube to the water. This gives a lot of flavor to the lentils.  

Don’t be afraid to get creative. Adding half an onion (peeled), a few cloves of crushed garlic, a bundle of spices such as turmeric and coriander or a bay leaf to the cooking liquid and a pinch of salt gives lentils a lot of flavor, especially when they are the basis for a salad or side dish. 

By now you know a lot about lentils and what you can do with them. Enjoy your meal.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *