Cooking lentils is a simple and delicious way to add protein, fiber and nutrients to your meals. Brown lentils are a great option for beginners, as they cook quickly and have a mild, earthy flavor that complements a variety of dishes. In this article, we will guide you through the easy steps to cook perfect brown lentils every time. Whether you’re looking for a hearty side dish or a plant-based main course, our recipe will become a go-to in your kitchen.
What are Brown Lentils?
Brown lentils are a nutrient-dense legume that are a great addition to any diet, whether you’re a vegetarian or just looking to add some more plant-based protein to your meals. Lentils originated in the Middle East and have been cultivated for thousands of years. They’re incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and veggie burgers.
Origin and Types of Brown Lentils
Brown lentils are a type of legume that typically come in two forms: whole and split. Whole lentils are small, round, and have a greenish-brown color. Split lentils are smaller and can be used in soups or stews as a thickener. Brown lentils are grown all over the world and can be found in a variety of cuisines. In India, they’re often used in dals, while in the Middle East, they’re used in soups and stews.
- Beluga Lentils: These are small, black lentils that have a rich, earthy flavor and a slight crunch. They hold their shape well, making them ideal for salads.
- Puy Lentils: These are a type of French lentil with a grey-green color and a slightly nutty flavor. They’re often used in salads, as a side dish, or in soups.
- Green Lentils: These have a mild, earthy flavor and are a great all-purpose lentil for soups, stews, and salads.
Brown lentils are part of the legume family and are packed with protein, fiber, and micronutrients like folate and iron. Plus, they’re low in fat and calories, making them an ideal addition to any healthy eating plan.
Why Should You Cook Brown Lentils?
Brown lentils are one of the healthiest pulses that offer remarkable health benefits. If you are looking for a consistent way to stay healthy, it would be wise to incorporate brown lentils into your meals. Here are the reasons why:
High in Fiber, Protein, and Nutrients
Brown lentils are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which aids digestion by regulating bowel movements and reducing constipation. They are also rich in protein content, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. Additionally, brown lentils are an abundant source of essential minerals, such as iron, potassium, and magnesium, essential for enzyme reactions in the body.
Brown lentils are versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes, including soups, stews, salads, and vegetarian meat replacements. Their ease of cooking means you can make them within a short period, which is quite convenient if you have limited time.
Low Cost and Easy to Find
Compared to other protein sources like meat and poultry, brown lentils cost significantly less and are easier to find in most grocery stores. Their extended shelf life also makes them an ideal food for meal prepping and storage.
In summary, the numerous health benefits, versatility, low cost, and easy accessibility of brown lentils are significant reasons why you should consider incorporating them into your meals.
What Do You Need to Cook Brown Lentils?
If you are new to cooking brown lentils or want to learn some useful tips to enhance your cooking skills, this article will guide you through the essential equipment, ingredients, and preparation steps you need to follow to cook brown lentils to perfection. You can enjoy their delicious taste and texture by following the simple instructions below.
Essential Equipment for Cooking Brown Lentils
To cook brown lentils, you need the following equipment:
- A medium-sized saucepan or pot with a lid
- A colander or a strainer
- A wooden spoon or a ladle to stir the lentils
- A measuring cup and measuring spoons to measure the ingredients accurately
Ingredients for Cooking Brown Lentils
The basic ingredients you need to cook brown lentils are:
- 1 cup of brown lentils
- 2 cups of water or broth
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt or to taste
- A pinch of black pepper or other seasonings (optional)
Preparation Steps for Cooking Brown Lentils
Follow the steps below to cook brown lentils:
- Rinse the lentils in a sieve or a colander under cold running water to remove any debris or dirt.
- In a medium-sized saucepan or pot, bring 2 cups of water or broth to a boil over high heat.
- Add the rinsed brown lentils, 1 tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt or to taste to the boiling water or broth.
- Stir the lentils with a wooden spoon or a ladle to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid.
- Simmer the lentils for about 25-30 minutes or until they are tender but not mushy. Check the consistency of the lentils after 20 minutes and add more water or broth if necessary.
- Once the lentils are cooked, turn off the heat and let them sit for a few minutes to absorb the remaining liquid.
- Drain any excess liquid from the lentils using a colander or a strainer.
Tip: You can add other seasonings such as garlic, onion, cumin, or coriander to enhance the flavor of the lentils. You can also use cooked brown lentils in salads, soups, stews, or as a side dish.
How Do You Cook Brown Lentils?
Brown lentils are delicious legumes that is known for its versatility in cooking. The earthy flavor and soft texture of brown lentils make it the perfect ingredient to add in soups, stews, salads, and many more.
- Boiling: Boiling is the easiest technique to cook brown lentils. Simply soak brown lentils for an hour and then put them in boiling water. Let it simmer for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are soft but not mushy.
- Soaking: Soaking brown lentils for a few hours or overnight makes them cook faster and easily. After soaking, drain the water and boil the brown lentils for 20-25 minutes or until they are tender.
- Pressure Cooking: Pressure cooking is a time-efficient technique that cooks brown lentils in a fraction of time. Simply add the soaked brown lentils to pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and let the cooker whistle for 6-7 times. It would take around 15-20 minutes for brown lentils to be done.
- Slow Cooking: Slow cooking is a great technique that makes the lentils tender, juicy, and tastier. Add soaked brown lentils, water, and other desired ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
Tips for cooking perfect brown lentils
- Always rinse the lentils before cooking as it removes any dirt or debris.
- Soak lentils for a few hours or overnight to reduce the cooking time.
- Do not add salt while cooking as it would make brown lentils tough and take longer to cook.
- Use a heavy-bottomed pot or a pressure cooker for cooking.
- Depending on how you want to use them, cook lentils until they are tender or slightly firm.
How Do You Serve Brown Lentils?
If you’re looking to add more fiber, iron, and protein to your diet, brown lentils are a versatile, delicious, and budget-friendly ingredient to try. They cook faster than most legumes, have a slightly nutty and earthy taste, and work well in a variety of recipes. Here are some creative serving ideas and recipes to get you started:
Brown Lentil Salad Ideas
Salads don’t have to be boring, and brown lentils can add a satisfying chewy texture and a rich flavor to any combination of veggies, herbs, and dressings. Here are some ideas to play around with:
- Toss cooked and cooled brown lentils with chopped tomatoes, green onions, parsley, mint, and a lemony vinaigrette for a Mediterranean-inspired salad.
- Mix cooked brown lentils with roasted beets, arugula, goat cheese, and a balsamic glaze for an autumnal salad.
- Combine cooked brown lentils with roasted sweet potatoes, spinach, almonds, feta cheese, and a honey-ginger dressing for a winter salad.
Brown Lentil Soup and Stew Recipes
Nothing beats a warm and hearty bowl of soup or stew on a chilly day, and brown lentils are a perfect base for many flavorful recipes. Here are some examples to try:
- Make a classic lentil soup by simmering brown lentils with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and vegetable broth until tender and creamy. Serve with crusty bread and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.
- Prepare a lentil and vegetable stew by cooking brown lentils with tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, kale, and chili powder until fragrant and thick. Serve with rice or quinoa.
- Create a lentil and sausage soup by sautÃ©ing brown lentils with Italian sausage, onions, garlic, spinach, and paprika until the sausage is browned and the lentils are cooked. Serve with crusty bread and Parmesan cheese.
Brown Lentil Curry and Dip Recipes
If you’re a fan of Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine, you’ll love the way brown lentils can absorb spices and create a creamy and flavorful sauce. Here are some ideas:
- Prepare a lentil and spinach curry by cooking brown lentils with coconut milk, curry powder, cumin, ginger, and spinach until the sauce thickens and the lentils are tender. Serve with naan bread or rice.
- Make a lentil and tahini dip by blending brown lentils with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and olive oil until smooth and creamy. Serve with pita chips or veggies.
- Create a spicy lentil and eggplant dip by roasting eggplant, cooking brown lentils with harissa, coriander, and cumin, and blending everything together with lemon juice and parsley. Serve with pita bread or crackers.
How Do You Store Brown Lentils?
Brown lentils are healthy, versatile, and delicious. You can cook them in many ways, and they’re great in salads, soups, stews, and side dishes. However, to enjoy brown lentils at their best, you need to know how to store them properly.
Storing Uncooked Brown Lentils
Uncooked brown lentils can last for a long time if you store them correctly. Here are some best practices:
- Keep them in an airtight container to prevent moisture and pests from getting in.
- Store them in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources, like the stove or the oven.
- Check for any signs of insect infestation or mold before storing. Discard any lentils that look suspicious or have an off smell.
- Label the container with the date of purchase and the expiration date, which is usually up to two years after the packaging date.
Storing Cooked Brown Lentils
Cooked brown lentils have a shorter shelf-life than raw lentils because they’re more prone to spoilage. Here are some tips to keep them fresh:
- Let them cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container.
- Refrigerate them as soon as possible, preferably within two hours of cooking.
- Label the container with the date of cooking and the expiration date, which is usually up to four days after cooking.
- Freeze them if you won’t use them within four days. To freeze cooked brown lentils, place them in freezer-safe bags or containers, remove the air, and seal tightly. Freeze for up to six months.
- Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before using or heating. Don’t refreeze thawed lentils.
- Avoid reheating cooked brown lentils more than once. Reheating can cause bacteria to grow and spoil the lentils faster.
Brown Lentils and Waste Reduction
Storing brown lentils properly can also help reduce waste and save money. When you store lentils the right way, you can:
- Extend the shelf-life of raw and cooked lentils.
- Avoid throwing away spoiled or contaminated lentils.
- Plan your meals better and use lentils as a healthy and affordable ingredient in many dishes.
- Buy lentils in bulk and store them in containers to reduce packaging waste and save money in the long run.
Thanks for learning how to cook delicious brown lentils with us!
We hope that you have enjoyed following our easy steps on how to prepare and cook brown lentils perfectly every time. We know that you will love the delicious and healthy meal you’ve just created! Feel free to come back to our website for more amazing recipes and cooking tips.
Learn to Cook Delicious Brown Lentils in Easy Steps
Learn how to cook delicious brown lentils in easy steps. Perfectly cooked brown lentils every time and a delicious and healthy meal for the whole family to enjoy!
- 1.5 cups of dry brown lentils
- 4 cups of water
- 1 medium-sized onion (chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Rinse lentils with cold water, then soak in hot water for at least 30 minutes. Once soaked, drain the lentils and set aside.
- In a pot, heat oil and sautÃ© onions and garlic until onions turn translucent. Add the lentils and cover them with 4 cups of water. Add salt, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. Boil the lentils for 20-25 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.
- Once the lentils are cooked, serve and enjoy!