Did you know that red lentils are an incredibly versatile and nutritious food? Packed full of protein, fiber, folate, calcium and other trace minerals, they’re a great component of any vegan or vegetarian diet. Red lentils also cook very quickly—usually in under 20 minutes—making them a great option for those who want to whip up delicious dishes without spending all day in the kitchen! In this blog post we’ll be exploring how to cook red lentils so that you can take advantage of their many benefits. We’ll go into detail about the different varieties available on the market and how you can use each one to make distinct meals your guests will love. Read on as we show you just how easy it is to create amazing meals with these tasty legumes!
- 1 What are red lentils and what do they look like?
- 2 Types of Lentils and How to Use Them
- 3 Red lentil health benefits
- 4 How to cook red lentils? – On Stove top
- 5 How to cook red lentils? – In Pressure Cooker
- 6 How to cook red lentils? – In Instant Pot
- 7 How long to cook red lentils
- 8 Nutritional value of red lentils
- 9 How to Serve Red Lentils
- 10 Recipes that include red lentils
- 11 Red lentil substitutes for other types of legumes
- 12 Conclusion: how to cook red lentils
- 13 FAQs: red lentils
- 13.1 What happens if you overcook red lentils?
- 13.2 What is special about red lentils?
- 13.3 Why are red lentils better?
- 13.4 Are red lentils a superfood?
- 13.5 Can you eat too many red lentils?
- 13.6 Are red lentils good for immune system?
- 13.7 Is red lentils good for liver?
- 13.8 What is the nutrition of red lentils?
- 13.9 How long should you cook red lentils?
- 13.10 Do you drain red lentils after cooking?
- 13.11 Do you need to wash red lentils before cooking?
What are red lentils and what do they look like?
Red lentils are a type of small, round legume that is available in both split and whole forms. Split red lentils have had their outer hull removed, which makes them easier to cook since they don’t need to be soaked like other types of beans or pulses. They range in color from pale yellow-orange to deeper reddish-brown, and they have a soft, creamy texture when cooked.
Types of Lentils and How to Use Them
When it comes to how to cook red lentils, first you need to decide which type is best for your recipe. Red lentils come in three main varieties:
- Whole red lentils: These are the most versatile of the bunch and can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to curries and salads. The whole lentils hold their shape well when cooked, making them great for dishes where you want to maintain some texture.
- Split red lentils: These are the quickest-cooking variety and are often used in puréed soups or curries. As they cook, split red lentils break down, creating a creamy consistency that works well in sauces and soups.
- Red lentil flour: This is a great gluten-free alternative to traditional wheat flours. It can be used in baking as well as creating thick sauces, dips, and batters
Red lentil health benefits
Red lentils are an excellent plant-based source of protein, delivering 8 grams per cooked cup (200 grams). They’re also a good source of dietary fiber and contain B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. Red lentils are naturally low in fat and sodium free.
How to cook red lentils? – On Stove top
The best way to cook red lentils is on the stovetop. First, rinse the lentils in a colander and pick out any stones or debris that may be present. Then, add 1 part rinsed lentils to 3 parts water (or stock). Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the lentils uncovered for 12-18 minutes, stirring occasionally. The lentils will be cooked when they become soft and start to break apart. Once finished cooking, drain any excess liquid and serve hot or cold as desired.
How to cook red lentils? – In Pressure Cooker
You can also use a pressure cooker to prepare your red lentils. Start by placing 1 part rinsed lentils in the pressure cooker with 3 parts water (or stock) and stir to combine. Close and seal the lid, then cook over high heat until the pressure builds up. Once at full pressure, reduce the heat to low and cook for 4 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release before opening the lid. The lentils should be soft, creamy and cooked through. Drain any excess liquid and serve hot or cold as desired.
How to cook red lentils? – In Instant Pot
If you have an Instant Pot, cooking red lentils is a breeze. Start by setting the timer for 6 minutes and adding 1 part rinsed lentils to 3 parts water (or stock). Close the lid and make sure the pressure valve is sealed. When the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally before opening the lid.
How long to cook red lentils
Cooking times for red lentils can vary depending on how you are using them. For soups or stews, simmer the lentils for about 15-20 minutes until they reach a creamy texture. For salads, cook them for about 10 minutes for a firmer bite. If you prefer your lentils to have a softer texture, cook them a few minutes longer.
Nutritional value of red lentils
Red lentils are an excellent source of nutrition. They contain 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of dietary fiber per cooked cup (200 grams). They also deliver folate, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. Plus they’re naturally low in fat and sodium free!
How to Serve Red Lentils
Red lentils are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. They work well in soups, stews, curries, salads and pilafs. Try adding them to tacos or burrito bowls for a delicious plant-based meal. You can also use cooked red lentils as an alternative to ground beef in vegetarian burgers
Recipes that include red lentils
There are a variety of delicious recipes that you can make with red lentils, ranging from traditional dal dishes to curries and stews. Here are some ideas to get you started:
• Dal Makhani—a rich and creamyIndian-style dish featuring cooked red lentils simmered in a spicy tomato sauce
• Curried red lentil soup—a hearty and flavorful soup made with coconut milk, curry powder, cumin, ginger and garlic
• Lentil tacos—a tasty vegetarian dish featuring cooked red lentils seasoned with chili powder, cumin and garlic
• Red lentil & vegetable stew—an easy-to-make stew packed full of vegetables and cooked red lentils
• Red lentil & quinoa burgers—a vegetarian burger patty made from cooked red lentils, quinoa and spices
These are just some of the many delicious dishes that you can make with red lentils. With a few simple ingredients and steps, you’ll have a tasty meal on the table in no time.
Red lentil substitutes for other types of legumes
If you don’t have red lentils on hand, there are a few other legumes that can be used as substitutes. These include green or brown lentils, split peas and black beans. While the flavor may change slightly with different legumes, they will still work in most recipes. For more information about how to cook different types of legumes, check out our guide on how to cook beans and legumes.
Conclusion: how to cook red lentils
Cooking red lentils is easy and requires only a few simple steps. With their high nutritional value and versatile uses, they make an excellent addition to any meal. Whether you’re making dal, soup, tacos or pilaf, there are plenty of delicious recipes that include red lentils. So don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different flavors. You’ll be sure to find a dish that you and your family will love.
FAQs: red lentils
What happens if you overcook red lentils?
Lentils can add so much flavor and nutrients to a meal, but it’s important not to overdo them otherwise you’ll be left with an unpleasant mush. Different types cook at different paces so make sure you do your research before throwing all of the ingredients in – 1 ½ cups of liquid for every cup of lentils should give you that perfect texture!
What is special about red lentils?
Lentils offer an amazing array of health benefits – they are a powerhouse for your heart, packed with fibre to help keep cholesterol in check and folate plus potassium to maintain healthy blood pressure. Plus they provide energising iron and vitamin B1 which helps sustain steady rhythms all over the body!
Why are red lentils better?
Red lentils are an ideal choice for those looking to get their daily dose of vitamins and minerals without worrying about calories. With one bowl containing only 168 calories, it’s a great way to boost your intake of iron, magnesium as well as folate – the essential B vitamin!
Are red lentils a superfood?
Red lentils are truly a powerhouse of nutrition! Not only do they contain high amounts of protein and fibre, essential vitamins and minerals necessary to keep your body functioning at its best can be reaped from this superfood. Add red Lentils into your diet today for some serious health rewards!
Can you eat too many red lentils?
Lentils may be a nutritional powerhouse, but they can also lead to some unpleasant side effects when consumed in large amounts. Their rich fiber content is difficult for the body to digest and can cause cramping and gas if overindulged!
Are red lentils good for immune system?
Lentils are a dietary powerhouse, providing essential nutrients like zinc which strengthens the immune system and magnesium that helps to maintain balanced energy levels. Not only do they pack an immunity-boosting punch – Lentils also help promote good gut bacteria, keeping us feeling healthy from the inside out!
Is red lentils good for liver?
Lentils are a delicious and nutritious choice that can help keep your liver in tip-top shape! With high levels of choline, lentils give the organ what it needs to effectively distribute fat throughout the body. This helps prevent fatty liver which has been linked with various negative health consequences – making lentil consumption essential for proper digestive vitality.
What is the nutrition of red lentils?
Loaded with health benefits, lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition! Not only do they contain fiber and an impressive amount of protein – equivalent to that in steak – but also boast essential minerals like iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and potassium. These superfoods make them the perfect meat substitute for vegans looking for a healthy alternative.
How long should you cook red lentils?
Bring your lentils to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and keep them simmering until they’re beautifully tender. Whole legumes can be cooked in 15-20 minutes; split ones need just 5-7 for full flavor! When you’re done cooking, don’t forget to add salt – too much added before means rough texture later on.
Do you drain red lentils after cooking?
After whipping up a delicious lentil meal, be sure to save any extra cooking liquid for later. To make sure every bite remains fresh and flavorful, pack the cooked dish into an airtight container and pop it in the fridge – leftovers can last up to 3 days!
Do you need to wash red lentils before cooking?
Enjoy a delicious, home-cooked meal with no fuss! Lentils are the perfect choice for busy cooks; just give them a quick rinse and they’re ready to be thrown into your favorite dish. No pre-soaking required – perfection in minutes!
Chef Angelo Landi has been in the culinary industry for over 20 years, and he has spent the last six of those developing the menu for Coal Vines. His favorite pizza on the menu is the Spicey Meatball, which is made with spicy sausage, pepperoni, and calabrese salami. When he’s not in the kitchen cooking up a storm, Chef Angelo enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.