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How to Cook Lentils | Family Cuisine

Lentils are a healthy, nutrient-packed food that can be cooked in many different ways. They are great for vegetarians and vegans because they are high in protein and fiber. Lentils cook quickly, so they're perfect for

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How to cook boiled lentils

Learn how to cook lentils perfectly every time! Tasty, nutritious, and easy to make, they’re a fantastic way to add protein to salads, side dishes, and more.

Lentils in a pot

Reading: how to cook boiled lentils

Types of Lentils and How to Use Them

Not all varieties of lentils are interchangeable, and each works particularly well in different types of recipes. Here are the varieties you’ll most often see in stores, along with suggestions for how to use them:

Le Puy or French Green Lentils

My favorite type of lentils! These guys hold their shape as they cook, and they have a yummy firm texture. I like to use them in lentil salad and pasta sauce, and their hearty texture is also delicious in my curried lentil soup.

Types of lentils

Beluga Lentils

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These black lentils are very similar to the French green variety. In fact, you could use them interchangeably in most lentil recipes! They cook in about 20 minutes, and they have a nice bite. I turn to them when I want to add lentils to a salad or serve them on their own as hearty side dish.

French green lentils

Regular Green or Brown Lentils

If you’re making a homey soup or stew, either regular green or brown lentils would be an excellent choice. Instead of holding their shape, they soften and become mushy as they cook. I like to add the dried lentils to a big pot of soup and let it simmer until they become tender, about 30 minutes.

Black lentils

Red Lentils

Red (or yellow) lentils cook much more quickly than any other variety. They become soft and tender after simmering for just 15 minutes! As they cook, they melt and dissolve, creating a delicious creamy texture. Consequently, they’re a great choice for adding to thick curries, stews, or an Indian dal. I even blend them into a luscious, hummus-like dip!

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Green lentils

Favorite Lentil Recipes

Below, you’ll find my go-to method for seasoning cooked French lentils. I toss them with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, fresh herbs, and red pepper flakes to make a nutritious side dish or base for plant-based bowls. They keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, so they’re one of my favorite proteins to meal prep and keep on hand in the fridge.

Beyond this simple preparation, there are endless ways to use them. Aside from the lentil recipes I mentioned above, these are a few of my favorites:

  • Sauté cooked French green lentils with garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, and black pepper to use as a hearty filling for vegetarian tacos. You could also add a handful of chopped walnuts for crunch!
  • Swap them for the chickpeas in my many-veggie soup, adding them to the pot at the same time as the broth.
  • Toss them with a simple vegetable pasta for extra protein.
  • Use them in a Morrocan-spiced salad, like the Roasted and Raw Carrot Salad on page 121 of Love and Lemons Every Day.
  • Stuff them into veggies to make a protein-packed vegetarian main dish, like the Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant on page 179 of Love and Lemons Every Day. Alternatively, pile them into a cozy baked sweet potato!
  • Use them in homemade falafel! Find my red lentil falafel recipe on page 137 of Love and Lemons Every Day.

Do you have any favorite lentil recipes? Let me know in the comments!

Red lentils

More Plant-Based Cooking Basics

If you love this recipe, try one of these plant-based cooking components next:

  • Lemon Herb Couscous
  • Herbed Farro
  • Quinoa
  • Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Zucchini Noodles
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Crispy Baked Tofu
  • Marinated Baked Tempeh
  • Cilantro Lime Rice

Read more: how to make cauliflower rice boiled | Family Cuisine

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