How to Cook Red Lentil
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
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
Red Lentil – 1 Cup
White Onion – 1 large diced
Olive Oil – 2tbsp
Black pepper and salt – To taste
Lentil Recipe Cooking Instructions
Rinse the red lentils in a fine mesh colander under cold running water.
Soak the lentils for a few hours. This helps reduce cooking time and makes the lentil easier to digest.
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.
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.
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.
Combine the lentils and sautéed onions in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.
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.