Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Cook Lentils


Lentils are a healthy source of protein and dietary fiber, and are also low in fat. You can cook them in soups, make salad out of them and even make lentil casseroles.

Here's how to make a quick but hearty lentil soup that serves four people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Four scallions, chopped
  • One potato, peeled and chopped
  • Three carrots, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach

Directions:

  1. Fry the vegetables in the oil in a large pot for about four minutes, or until onions are soft, stirring occasionally.
  2. Mix in the curry paste and tomato paste.
  3. Add water, stock and lentils. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat. Cover the pot and simmer about 12 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  5. Stir in the spinach [source: Canadian Living].

Here's how to make a basic lentil salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons shallot, finely diced
  • ¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Remove any bad lentils and pebbles. Rinse the lentils.
  2. Put the lentils in a pot and cover them with 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of water.
  3. Bring the lentils to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until tender, about ½ an hour.
  4. Drain the lentils, reserving ½ cup of cooking liquid.
  5. Toss lentils with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar. Let them stand for five minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  6. Stir in the oil, parsley and shallots. If the lentils are difficult to stir, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.

You can dress up this salad by adding:

  • ½ cup cucumber, diced
  • ¼ cup each celery, onion and carrot, finely diced and cooked in olive oil until tender. (You can use this mix instead of the shallots.)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
  • Cilantro, instead of parsley
  • ¼ cup sweet peppers, diced and seasoned with salt [source: Waters]

More to Explore