How to Cook Lentils

CoachMel Healthy Eating 20 Comments

Lentils are a favorite food in our house. Loved by all — baby, me and even hubby!

Unfortunately, many people overlook them, perhaps due to an awful-tasting meal in the past, or simply because of their appearance.

But, if you’re after cheap, healthy and delicious meal options, you really should give lentils a go.

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And after reading this, you’ll not be able to excuse yourself by saying, ‘I don’t know how to cook lentils.’

Here are a few reasons to love lentils:

  • They provide slow burning complex carbohydrates, giving you plenty of energy
  • They are so easy to cook — compared to some of the others legumes, lentils are relatively quick and easy to prepare.
  • They are very nutritious — a good source of iron, fibre, vitamin B1, folate, and contain many (but not all) the essential amino acids.
  • They are low in calories, with around 200 calories for one cup.

So, wondering how to cook lentils?

Here are a few suggestions:

#1 Mix cooked lentils with chopped vegetables, then season with fresh herbs and spices to make an easy salad for your lunch-box.

#2 Make lentil soup with red split lentils, onions, and some carrots.

#3 Lentil mousakka/lasagna — use your regular lasagna recipe, but replace the meat with lentils (pre-soaked).

#4 Make lentil burritos — green lentils work well for this one.

#5 Try a lentil curry with chickpeas or other peas/beans.

My favourite way to eat lentils right now, is to serve them with some brown rice, a dollop of natural yoghurt on top, and a green salad. Here’s the lentil recipe I use:

Dhal Curry

Adapted from Delia Online

8 oz (225 g) red lentils
2 level teaspoons ground ginger
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
1 level teaspoon turmeric
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon rice bran oil
1 large onion, peeled and grated
1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
1 level teaspoon Madras curry powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tin of tomatoes
Salt and cracked black pepper


  1. In a saucepan containing 1½ pints of water add one teaspoon each of ginger, cumin and turmeric, then bring it all to the boil. Stir in the lentils, let it come back to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. After that add the diced potato and continue cooking until the lentils have turned mushy (making sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan by giving it a stir now and again).
  3. While that’s cooking, heat up the butter and oil in another pan, and fry the onion and pepper in it (over a fairly high heat) until the onion has browned – then lower the heat and stir in the Madras curry powder (if you like your curries hotter, you can add more), the garlic, the remaining ground ginger and the tomatoes.
  4. Cook for a minute before adding the lentil mixture, then taste, season and cook gently for a further 5-10 minutes (stirring from time to time).

I think this recipe is super-delicious, I hope you enjoy it too!

Have you tried lentils? Do you eat them alone, or combine with other foods?

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Comments 20

  1. Menekse

    We add lentils to curry when we make it at home – my brother eats *so* much because of all his training – these are really great for padding out curries/stews etc. and filling him up! Plus, they really are delicious! Thanks for the ideas, Melanie!

  2. Jurga

    I use lentils to make a salad by adding some grilled and chopped bacon, some chopped tomatoes, cucumber, grilled and skinned pepper, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and a simple dressing made from olive oil and vinegar (I’ve addapted this recipe from Merchant Gourmet website as it was there I first came accross the Black Beluga lentils). 🙂

  3. lipo

    Having a slight Indian background does come in useful sometimes, especially when it comes to the hugely cultured food. From a young age, I have been introduced to lentils, though at start I hated it, it then grew on me and now I have it daily, and love it! It provides the necessary nutrients you need to grow and repair your muscles.
    .-= lipo´s last blog ..Liposuction =-.

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