Split red lentils are fantastic for soups & salads as well as many other recipes.
Learn how to cook red lentils and you will always have a useful staple that stores well and is very versatile in cooking.
They are quick and easy to cook and prepare unlike many of their counterparts.
Lentils are also great value for money and very nutritious. Their protein makes them especially important for vegetarians and vegans.
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How To Cook Red Lentils
The reason I love to cook with red lentils is that they are so easy to use. Unlike many other kinds of lentils or beans, they don’t need to be soaked – yay! This means you don’t have to remember to take them out and soak them the day before, which I often forget to do. And they don’t need to be cooked for ages either. Two things that make them much more user-friendly than many of the others.
They do have their limitations though, but you can turn those to your advantage. If you cook them too long they go mushy. So if you want them to be firm keep an eye on them. Actually, turning to mush is why I use lentils sometimes. They make great soup thickeners.
How to Cook Red Lentils on the Hob (Stove)
- Prepare your split red lentils for cooking by washing them and checking for any faulty ones. Also, check for any dirt or debris in case there is any and remove it if need be. Simply rinse them off. (they do not need pre-soaking).
- Now add them to a saucepan with water. Use about 1.5 to 2 times the amount of water to the lentils. It doesn’t have to be exact.
- Cover the pan and bring them to the boil.
- Now reduce the temperature down so they are simmering gently.
- Leave to cook for about 10-14 minutes checking and stirring occasionally.
- If you want them to break down leave them to cook longer, if not remove them from the heat.
- Check to see if they are cooked. If they are they will be soft and tender.
I have to confess I rarely use the above method where you cook them separately unless I am adding them to a salad. As for soups and stews, t is much easier simply to add them to the mixture as part of the recipe and leave them (allow that this means they will break down which is what I want).
If you are using them in a slow cooker you can add them at the beginning, allowing that they will go mushy, or you can add them in the last half an hour, adding that time to the final cook if your slow cooker requires it.
How Long Do Red Lentils Take to Cook?
They don’t take long at all. About 10-14 minutes in fact. However, the length of time you take to cook them depends on what you are using them for. If you want them to go mushy simply cook them longer.
Storage for Cooked Lentils
Once cooked you can keep them in the fridge for a few days. If you want to keep them longer you will need to freeze them.
Where Can You Buy Red lentils?
Unlike many other dried whole foods split red lentils are really easy to buy. In the UK most supermarkets sell them or you can get them in health food shops. And if you are lucky enough to live near a market you may find that you can buy them there. If you want larger quantities you can get them online at places like Amazon.