Lentils – How to Cook Dry Lentils
The good news first: You do not need to soak lentils!
Lentils are very easy to cook, all you have to do is sort them, rinse them, heat water, and leave them in hot water at medium on the stove for about 25-30 minutes or until they are at the desired level of tenderness. I like mine a bit over al dente, but not on the mushy side.
Lentils are one of the best vegan sources of protein and fiber. They are similar to beans in nutritional profile, but are more versatile in that they will pick up the flavor of whatever you cook or season them with.
Lentils generally come in 16 ounce/one pound bags. You can also buy them in bulk. Another reason lentils are great is that they are inexpensive. You can buy any brand, I usually buy a generic brand of green lentils, or a generic brand of whatever kind of lentil the recipe calls for.
When you sort them, pour them onto a flat surface like a plate or cutting board. What you are looking for is little sticks or other debris, or shriveled or burnt looking lentils. Broken lentils are ones that have lost their skin are ok. I’ll keep the little yellow ones on the plate in the photo above.
After you’ve sorted your lentils wash them. You can wash them by filling a bowl up with water, swooshing them around, and repeating, but I usually like to just put them in a colander and spray them with water. I strongly recommend that you wash your lentils because anytime I’ve skipped this step the water I cook them in turns a gross color and it’s clear I have neglected to do something important!
For every cup of dry lentils you use, you will want to add two to three cups of water. If you are cooking a pound, use eight cups of water. Lentils are super easy, because while they will absorb some of the water while cooking, you can easily just strain them to get rid of any excess water you used.
Put them on the stove and cook for a quick 25-30 minutes and you are done. You have yourself some cooked lentils.