Green lentils (or any kind of lentils, for that matter) are delicious and highly coveted for several reasons. Because these versatile legumes are high in fiber and protein, they are an essential part of any vegetarian or vegan meal plan.
Another great thing is that they can be incorporated into many other recipes, including soups, stews, and salads, to name a few. As long as you cook green lentils correctly, there’s no limit to the degree of satisfaction you can enjoy from consuming them.
One tricky part of cooking green lentils, however, is figuring out how long to cook them because they’re relatively quick and easy to make. As such, we’ve provided step-by-step directions for cooking green lentils in this article, as well as helpful tips and timing guidelines to get the best results.
Lentils Nutrition Facts
Tips for Cooking Green Lentils
We have compiled some helpful tips, recommendations, and guidelines below, to help you through the cooking process for green lentil recipes, so pay close attention to the following:
Skip the presoaking if you want – Other dried legume varieties and beans often require soaking before the cooking process. You, however, don’t need to soak lentils because they are small and have a tendency to cook rapidly.
Keep a close watch – Once the lentils have reached a boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting possible. To avoid simmering the lentils too much, you may need to switch to a more minor heating element on your stove. Mushy lentils are frequently the result of cooking at too high a temperature (and bouncing them around in the pot too much). It is thus essential to keep an eye on your lentils while cooking to prevent them from rapidly overcooking.
Seasoning ingredients to try – Lentils are known to possess a natural, earthy flavor. Must despite this fact, adding a bay leaf and a piece of kombu seaweed can still go a long way to enhance the flavor of your end result.
Furthermore, the enzymes in the kombu seaweed break down the phytic acid component of lentils, making them much easier to digest (and making you feel less gassy). Kombu also contains vitamins, nutrients, and trace minerals, such as iodine, that will increase the nutritive quality of your meal.
Storage and reheating suggestions – Lentils can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days if covered properly. Leftover lentils can also be frozen for as long as 6 months for a more extended storage duration.
When you’re ready to use them, the lentils should first be defrosted in the refrigerator because they are delicate. You can also choose to microwave them for a few minutes if you’re in a hurry, but make sure to stir them frequently.
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Cooking Time for Green Lentils
The ideal timing guidelines to follow when cooking green lentils have been described in the table below:
|Cooking procedure||Cooking time|
|Cooking green lentils on the stovetop||13 minutes for basic green lentils, 18 minutes for French green lentils|
Stovetop Lentils (1 Serving)
- 1 cup dry lentils (the green variety)
- ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
Optional flavor enhancers
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large clove of garlic (peeled but left whole)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- Pour some water into a medium-to-large saucepan (let it get halfway full), leaving a few inches at the top. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil.
- In the meantime, go over your lentils and remove any debris. You can do this by pouring the green lentils slowly into a fine-mesh strainer while keeping an eye out for any small rocks or other foreign objects. To ensure that you don’t miss anything, use your fingertips to sift gently over the lentils. Afterwards , under running water, rinse your lentils until the water comes out clean. Keep the lentils aside after rinsing them .
- Pour the rinsed lentils into the saucepan as soon as the water reaches a boil. Add the salt and, if using, the garlic and/or bay leaf.
- Adjust the timer to 13 minutes if you’re cooking ordinary green lentils. The timer should be set for 18 minutes if cooking French green lentils.
- Turn down the heat as needed to keep the cooking liquid from bubbling over and overflowing, and to keep a brisk simmer in the meantime. After the timer goes off, take a few lentils out with a fork and test to see if they’re done (be careful however, since they’ll be really hot). When your lentils are pleasantly soft and succulent throughout (they must not be mushy or falling apart) and have a wonderful earthy flavor, you’ll know that they are done (there’s a somewhat metallic-tasting quality to undercooked lentils). If your lentils aren’t done yet, check them every 1 to 2 minutes while you keep cooking them until they are.
- Strain off all of the excess water as soon as the lentils are done cooking. Remove the lentils from the heat and return them to the pot. If you used a bay leaf in your recipe, now is the time to remove it. If you used a garlic clove, break it against the edge of the saucepan with a fork before stirring the crushed bits into the cooked lentils.
- If required, season the lentil with one or two pinches of salt. If you’re going to use these lentils in another recipe, they can be used straight up at this point. If you’re serving the cooked lentils as is, or as part of a salad, drizzle them with 1 or 2 teaspoons of olive oil to keep them from sticking and to provide a rich flavor. Enjoy your meal afterward.
Green lentils taste delicious provided that they are cooked properly, and the best way to do this is to follow the right cooking instructions. Also take note that the entire cooking time for this recipe is 20 minutes, including a prep time of 5 minutes and a cook time of 15 minutes.
If you’d like to see more inspiration for green lentil recipes, then we recommend that you check out this video recipe.