How to Cook Lentils the Wehalal Way! Plus Recipe
Dried lentils are a year-round staple in my pantry, essential for rounding out salads during hot weather and hearty soups in the winter months.
Regardless of the season, their quick-cooking, no-soak-required nature makes them ideal for healthy weeknight meals. Worried about mushy lentils? We have a trick for that, too!
Learn how to cook lentils perfectly, so they don’t end up mushy. Lentils are nutritional powerhouses, flavorful, inexpensive, and a staple in Mediterranean and vegetarian recipes as they’re loaded with plant-based protein.
What are Lentils?
Lentils come in a rainbow of colors and can be used in a variety of recipes. Some of my favorites include easy side dishes, tasty salads, and hearty main meals.
It is an annual plant known for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 40 cm (16 in) tall, and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each.
As a food crop, the majority of world production comes from Canada and India, producing 58% combined of the world total.
Lentils are legumes—cousins to beans, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts.
The name “lentil” actually comes from the Latin word for “lens,” which makes sense since the dried bean looks like a little lens.
Like many other beans, they’ve been used in cooking for centuries and are thought to have originated in the Near East. But they’re routinely cultivated (and a part of the cuisine) throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. This means you can find lentils in some of their most well-known dishes, such as Indian Dal, Ethiopian stew, and Egyptian Koshari.
Commonly used in North America, this is the variety you might often see staring back at you in your pantry. With a mild and earthy flavor and ability to hold their texture after being cooked, they can serve as a veggie burger base without overpowering the fresh veggie flavor.
Also referred to as French lentils, green lentils hold up well after cooking and have a nutty taste. They’re an ideal addition to a salad or on their own as a side dish.
Beware, they require a bit more patience to prepare than other varieties, taking nearly 45 minutes to cook.
Wehalals Favorite Red and Yellow Lentils
With a sweeter flavor, these lentils are commonly utilized in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.
Although they are quick to prepare, they are more prone to lose their texture overcooked.
Consider using them in pureed soups or sauces to add a unique twist to your main dish.
How Do You Cook Lentils?
Start by rinsing your lentils to remove any debris, bring three cups of water to one cup of lentils to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until they are tender, which will take about 15-20 minutes.
Yes, it is as simple as that, but if you want to spice up your lentils below you will find our favorite middle eastern lentil recipe.
Best Middle Eastern Lentil Soup Recipe
(serves 5 – 6)
prep time – 10 minutes
cooking time – 70 minutes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes or crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup yellow split peas or red lentils
- 1/4 cup of short grain brown or white rice
- 8 cups broth
- 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- plain yogurt and parsley for garnish
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium heat.
- Add the onions and sauté until translucent.
- Add the celery, carrots, garlic, and spices and sauté until fragrant, roughly 5 minutes.
- Add the split peas or lentils, rice, and broth. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until lentils and rice are tender roughly 1 hour. You may need to add a bit more broth if the soup becomes too thick.
- Add the juice from one lemon and add salt and pepper to taste. Or alternatively, you can serve the soup with the lemon on the side and people can add their own.
- Garnish with plain yogurt and parsley.
- Soup can be stored in the fridge for 4 – 5 days. The lentils will absorb quite a bit of broth. You can add broth to the soup to thin it out before serving.
What is your favorite Lentils Recipe?
Leave a comment below!