How to Cook Red Lentil

Chef Danielle Miele , On March 17, 2023

Lentil are a popular legume high in protein and fiber.

Lentils are a popular legume and are a culinary staple in many cultures. Our basic red lentil recipe features a hearty mix of red lentils, freshly sautéed onion, and aromatic spices. The red lentils are cooked to perfection, creating a rich and creamy texture that pairs perfectly with the bold flavors of ginger, garlic, and cumin. Served over a bed of fluffy rice, this wholesome dish is both satisfying and have a great nutrition profile being a good source of protein, fiber, iron, and other essential nutrients. This red lentil recipe is a great side dish and also acts as a good source of protein for vegetarian and vegan diets. They are also low in fat and calories, making them a healthy addition to any weight loss diet.

Lentil Recipe Cooking Tools

Omelette Recipe

Kitchen Tools Needed for this Omelette Recipe

  • Pot or saucepan: You’ll need a pot or saucepan to cook the lentils. Choose a size that will comfortably hold the amount of lentils you plan to cook.

  • Strainer or colander: Once the red lentils are cooked, you’ll need to drain them. A strainer or colander will allow you to separate the lentils from the cooking liquid.

  • Wooden spoon: A wooden spoon is a useful tool for stirring the lentils as they cook. It won’t scratch the surface of your pot or saucepan, and it won’t conduct heat like a metal spoon.

  • Chef’s knife: You’ll need a sharp chef’s knife to chop any vegetables or herbs that you plan to add to your lentil dish.

  • Cutting board: A cutting board will provide a stable surface for chopping your vegetables and herbs.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: To ensure this red lentil recipe turns out just right, you’ll need to measure your ingredients accurately. A set of measuring cups and spoons will help you do this.

  • Blender or immersion blender (optional): If you’re making a soup or pureed lentil dish, a blender or immersion blender can help you achieve a smooth and creamy texture.

Lentil Recipe Ingredients

Lentil Recipe Ingredients

Red Lentil Recipe Ingredients

  • Red Lentil – 1 Cup

  • White Onion – 1 large diced

  • Olive Oil – 2tbsp

  • Black pepper and salt – To taste

  • Water or vegetable broth, beef broth, or chicken broth – 3 Cups used to boil lentil

Lentil Recipe Cooking Instructions

  1. Rinse the red lentils in a fine mesh colander under cold running water.

  2. Soak the lentils for a few hours. This helps reduce cooking time and makes the lentil easier to digest.

    Lentil in water bath

    Lentil in Water Bath

  3. In a medium-sized pot, combine the lentils with 3 cups of salted water and bring to a boil. In place of water I also like to use vegetable broth, beef broth, or chicken broth depending on which I have on-hand to add a little more flavor to my lentil.

    Lentil in water bath

    Boil the Lentil on high for 8 Min

  4. Reduce heat to low and let the red lentils simmer for about ~15 min, or until tender. Add more water if needed to keep the lentils submerged. Then, drain the lentil in a colander. Set aside.

  5. Heat 2tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add diced onions and sauté until they are soft and golden brown. Then add the lentil to the pan and blend together well. Add the salt and pepper and any other spices you would like to have in your lentil plate. Tomato sauce is also a popular addition to the recipe at this point.

    Lentil in water bath

    Sauté the onion first, then add the lentil.

  6. Combine the lentils and sautéed onions in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.

    Lentil in water bath

    Serve Lentil Recipe

Serve the red lentil recipe over steamed rice with a protein of your choice.

Red Lentil Recipe Cooking Tips

Use the right amount of water: The general rule of thumb when preparing a red lentil recipe is to use 2-3 cups of water for every cup of lentils.

Bring water to a boil first: Before adding the lentils, bring the water to a boil first. This will help the lentils cook evenly. However, this will create a splash. So, gently use a perforated ladle to lay the red lentil in the boiling salted water.

Simmer gently: Once the red lentils are added, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Vigorous boiling can cause the lentils to break apart and become mushy.

Test for doneness: Lentils are done when they are tender but still hold their shape. Start checking for doneness after about ~10 min, and continue cooking until they reach your desired texture for your red lentil recipe.

Chef Danielle Miele

Chef Miele started in the industry as a chef's assistant back in the early 1990s at a New England style seafood shack. After several stints in the industry she earned a formal chef's degree with honors from Le Cordon Bleu. When she is not cooking for her husband and teenage son, she enjoys researching techniques and ingredients from different cultures, with a focus on enhanced flavor and nutrition.