Learn How To Cook With Lentils Easily – Easy & Best Way To Cook Lentils For Recipes
Learn how to cook with lentils for recipes using this easy to follow directions and tips. You can cook any variety of lentils and use them in many different recipes. Lentils are natural plant based proteins which can be used in many vegan recipes and vegetarian recipes and lentils are a blessing for those who follow vegetarian or vegan diet or lifestyle.
As a vegetarian, lentils form a staple in my diet and I often cook different lentils for recipes at my home. While growing up, lentils were a staple in my parents home too, and we all often had 2 to 3 types of lentils everyday, which gave us enough protein, fiber, essential vitamins and minerals. The tips and guidelines given in this article will help you to learn how to cook with lentils at your home easily for new recipes.
Lentils form are an important part of balanced diet especially for vegetarians – Lentils Offer protein, Fiber, Vitamins & Minerals
Lentils form an essential part of balanced diet especially if you follow a plant based diet like vegetarianism or veganism where your source of protein and essential nutrients is to be from plant based food sources and including lentils make sure you are not missing out anything in your diet.
There are many different kinds of lentils and each has a different cooking time. Some cooks fast, while some need more cooking time. Those which need longer time to cook should be soaked first.
But all lentils don’t need soaking prior to cooking, only some of them need to be soaked. However it doesn’t hurt even if you soak all kind of lentils including the fast cooking ones and the slow cooking ones.
So let us go on to see the best tips so you can learn how to cook with lentils for your recipes easily.
The best way to cook lentils is to use a pressure cooker. I always use a pressure cooker to cook the lentils for my recipes.
Alternatively, you may also use a crock pot or an instant pot which has many functionalities. You may also cook some fast cooking lentils in a pan or pot directly on stove top, but I usually don’t do it since cooking in pressure cooker is much easier.
So here are my tips on how to cook with lentils easily – best way to cook lentils for recipes
Soak the lentils for few hours
As I mentioned earlier all lentils doesn’t need soaking prior to cooking. But it really does helps with reducing the overall cooking time if you can soak your lentils early in water. ( For example you have to soak the dry red kidney beans or the dry chickpeas, not the ones in can, in water for 5 to 6 hours prior to cooking. But you don’t have to soak the easy cooking yellow or green mung beans commonly known as moong dal)
One easy tip would be to make sure you soak the big sized lentils (the ones like red kidney beans or dry chickpeas) in water for long hours like 5 to 6 hours. You may soak the small sized ones for half an hour to one hour.
You don’t have to soak canned lentils like canned chickpeas or canned kidney beans. You only need to soak the lentils if they are dry lentils. We usually buy dry lentils since we can buy them in bulk for easy storage and money saving, and also it is always good to reduce the amount of canned food for health reasons.
Once the lentils are soaked in water for few hours, they will become much softer and easy to cook. Also some lentils have toxicity when used raw. So always drain out the soaked water before you cook them.
It is advisable to drain the water used for soaking and use fresh water for cooking the lentils.
You need to use the right amount of water to make sure you cook the lentils perfectly without burning the bottom of the cooking vessel.
My general rule of thumb is to use 3 cups of water for 1 cup of lentils if I don’t want much leftover water remaining in the vessel after cooking the lentils.
If I am making a soup or stew which needs water as well, I use 6 cups of water for 1 cup of lentils. This is a general rule and you many need slightly less or more based on many factors like what lentil you are using, your way of cooking, cooking vessel, quantity and style of cooking.
(1 cup of lentils to 3 cups of water : for no gravy recipes
1 cup of lentils to 6 cups of water: for recipes that need gravy)
Usually I always add salt while cooking the lentils and after cooking I add the spices. You can also the spices early, but that is not necessary.
For big sized lentils like chickpeas or kidney beans you can cook them for more time like about 15 minutes in medium heat or about 4 whistles if using the kind of pressure cooker with whistles.
For small sized lentils you just need to cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or 1 to 2 whistles.
If you are using a pressure cooker to cook the lentils, always follow the instructions in the pressure cooker to make sure you are following all guidelines for safety, like using the valve.
( As I mentioned earlier, you may use a modern instant pot which is programmable or slow cooker like crock-pot for cooking lentils)
Wait for the pressure cooker to cool down before you attempt to open it, for safety reasons.
Once the pressure cooker is cool enough to open, you can either drain the water from the cooked lentils so you can add the cooked lentils to salads, rice or any recipes that call for cooked lentils or add salt and spices or sauteed vegetables directly to the cooker for making soup, chili or stew kind of recipes. In that case you don’t have to drain the water from the cooked lentils, which is actually full of nutrients. Even if you drain the water from the cooked lentils, you can save the water and use it as a broth for your other vegetarian recipes.
For more ideas on how to cook with lentils, see the below cookbook which you can buy online from Amazon, you may click on the picture if you wish to buy this cookbook.
In case you are using a pan to cook the lentils over stove top, watching this You Tube video on how to cook with lentils will help you.
Hope you have found this post of how to cook with lentils useful!
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