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How to Cook Lentils

Lentils are legumes -- like beans -- and are a traditional food enjoyed by people throughout the world. Here are some recipes to prepare them.


  • Step 1: Wash the lentils Wash the lentils, taking care to remove any debris, small stones, or dirt. Rinse them with cold water, but do not soak them.
  • Step 2: Cook the onion Mince the onion and saute it in olive oil until it is golden brown.
  • Step 3: Add the lentils Add the lentils to the sauteed onions and let them absorb the olive oil.
  • Step 4: Place the lentils in a cooking pot Transfer the lentils and onions to a cooking pot, and then pour boiling water over them.
  • TIP: If you choose to use a slow cooker, set the heat control to low if you will be leaving it all day.
  • Step 5: Cook the lentils Cover the pot and allow the lentils to simmer until they are tender but not mushy. Black, brown, green, orange, and red lentils can vary between 25 minutes and 45 minutes, depending on the age and type. Cook brown and green lentils for 45 minutes and red lentils for 45 minutes; then taste for doneness.
  • TIP: To use a microwave, stir 1 cup of dry brown lentils into 2 1/2 cup of water. Then cover with a lid and cook at 100 percent power for 20 minutes.
  • Step 6: Season the lentils Season the cooked lentils with spices or salt to taste, and serve hot as a soup or stew, over rice, or cold in a salad.
  • FACT: The Greek playwright Aristophanes declared lentils the "sweetest of delicacies."

You Will Need

  • 1 c. lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 3 1/2 c. boiling water
  • Seasoning
  • Microwave oven (optional)
  • 1 c. dry brown lentils (optional)
  • 2 1/2 c. water (optional)

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