Are you ready to discover the secrets of cooking lentils to perfection? Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, I’m here to guide you through the process. Lentils are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients. They add a punch of protein to salads, side dishes, and more. So, let’s dive in and learn how to cook lentils like a pro!
Types of Lentils and How to Use Them
Before we start cooking, it’s important to know that not all lentils are created equal. Each variety has its own unique qualities that make it perfect for specific recipes. Let’s take a closer look at the most common types of lentils and how to use them:
Le Puy or French Green Lentils
One of my personal favorites, Le Puy or French Green Lentils, hold their shape beautifully during cooking. They have a firm texture that adds a delightful bite to any dish. These lentils work wonders in lentil salads, pasta sauces, and even curried lentil soup. Trust me, once you try them, you’ll be hooked!
Similar to French Green Lentils, Beluga Lentils are black in color and have a slightly earthier flavor. You can easily swap them for the French variety in most recipes. These lentils cook in about 20 minutes and retain a nice bite. They make a perfect addition to salads or can be enjoyed as a hearty side dish on their own.
Regular Green or Brown Lentils
If you’re planning to make a comforting soup or stew, regular green or brown lentils are the way to go. Unlike the firmer varieties, these lentils soften and become mushy as they cook. They are perfect for adding heartiness to your soups. Simply simmer them in a big pot until they become tender, which usually takes around 30 minutes.
If you’re short on time, look no further than red lentils. These vibrant legumes cook in just 15 minutes, making them ideal for quick and easy meals. As they simmer, they create a creamy texture, perfect for thick curries, stews, or even a delectable Indian dal. You can even blend them into a creamy, hummus-like dip!
Favorite Lentil Recipes
Now that we have explored the different types of lentils, let’s dive into some mouthwatering recipes. One of my go-to methods for seasoning cooked French lentils involves tossing them with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. This creates a nutritious side dish that can also serve as a base for plant-based bowls. The best part? These lentils can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, making them perfect for meal prepping.
Beyond this simple preparation, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use lentils:
- Sauté cooked French green lentils with garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, and black pepper for a hearty filling in vegetarian tacos. For an extra crunch, add a handful of chopped walnuts!
- Swap chickpeas for lentils in a many-veggie soup, adding them to the pot alongside the broth.
- Toss lentils with a simple vegetable pasta to give it an extra protein boost.
- Create a Moroccan-spiced salad by incorporating lentils, like the Roasted and Raw Carrot Salad on page 121 of Love and Lemons Every Day.
- Stuff lentils into vegetables for a protein-packed vegetarian main, like the Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant on page 179 of Love and Lemons Every Day. Alternatively, pile them into a cozy baked sweet potato!
- Get creative with homemade falafel using red lentils. Find my red lentil falafel recipe on page 137 of Love and Lemons Every Day.
Do you have any favorite lentil recipes? Share them with me in the comments below!
More Plant-Based Cooking Basics
If you can’t get enough of the delicious flavors lentils have to offer, why not explore other plant-based cooking components? Here are some exciting options for you to try next:
- Lemon Herb Couscous
- Herbed Farro
- Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
- Cauliflower Rice
- Zucchini Noodles
- Spaghetti Squash
- Crispy Baked Tofu
- Marinated Baked Tempeh
- Cilantro Lime Rice
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your apron and let’s get cooking. Remember, with lentils, the possibilities are endless!
[E-E-A-T]: Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, Experience
[YMYL]: Your Money or Your Life