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Lentils

March 8, 2017

 

 

If you have not fallen in love with lentils yet, you need to!  Here's a cooking method to get you started with a little lentil love.  Lentils are used in many different types of cuisine, and best of all:  they are easy, cheap and fast to cook.  Most legumes like take about 8 hours to cook on low in the slow cooker, and for digestive reasons I like them cooked low and slow.  In contrast, lentils cook in 25-30 minutes on the stove top.  

 

Lentils tend to be a little easier to digest than other larger legumes, so they are a good place to start if legumes have bothered you in the past.  I know many people don't soak their lentils, but I recommend an 8-24 hour soak.  Please read here on proper bean preparation.  The principle the larger the bean, the longer the soak can apply to lentils, although I usually do a 24 hour soak and then refrigerate lentils in their soaking liquid until I am ready to cook them during the week.  If you notice any digestive distress, I would suggest sticking with a 24 hour soak.  

 

There are different types of lentils, but I usually use the most economical and easy to find brown lentils.  They retain their shape well and are very versatile.  The method below is for brown lentils.  

 

To Soak

 

In a small- medium pot, mason jar, or other container combine:

  • 1 cup brown lentils

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 tsp. salt

Soak for 4-12 hours

 

To Cook

 

Drain lentils and rinse well, place in pot and add:

  • 3 cups water

  • 3/4-1 tsp. salt, or another desired seasoning

  1. Heat stove to high heat.  

  2. When water just begins to boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until they have achieved the desired texture.  

  3. Drain lentils and enjoy.

 

TIPS

 

  • I like to begin soaking lentils during my 1 hour weekly food preparation, like described above.  After 24 hours, I place a lid on the soaking container and store the lentils, soaking liquid and all, in the fridge until I am ready to cook  them during the week.  Make sure to drain and rinse lentils well before cooking.

  • Soaked lentils will absorb less water when being cooked.  This doesn't matter if you drain the liquid off of your lentils after cooking, but in some dishes, such as a thick lentil soup or my Lentil Taco Salad recipe, you will need to reduce the liquid. I reduce the cooking liquid to 2 1/2 cups in my lentil's used for taco salad, because I want the lentils to absorb all of the flavored cooking liquid.  You will also need to adjust the salt when reducing the liquid.   

  • Some people suggest that scum is impurities rising to the surface, when cooking legumes.  This is incorrect.  Rather, it is the result of legumes being cooked at too high of a temperature.  Legumes take time to break down and become digestible; cooking low and slow is best.  For this reason, I do not recommend pressure cooking any type of legume.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

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