How to Cook Lentils: A Comprehensive Guide for 2023

You’ve probably heard lentils are super cool right now – the new quinoa. Wait up, what are they exactly? Lentils are small edible legumes. They are a staple food in many cuisines worldwide, known for their nutritional value, versatility, and affordability. Lentils come in various colors, including brown, green, red, black, and yellow, with each variety having a distinct flavor, texture, and preferred uses.

In culinary applications, lentils can be used in various dishes. They are often included in soups, stews, curries, salads, and side dishes.

Lentils can be cooked to various levels of tenderness, ranging from al dente to soft and creamy, depending on the desired recipe and texture. They absorb flavors well and work harmoniously with spices, herbs, and other ingredients.


Lentils are not only nutritious and versatile but also sustainable. They require less water and fewer resources to grow than animal protein sources, making them an environmentally friendly food choice.

Whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, lentils are a fantastic ingredient to explore due to their health benefits, culinary flexibility, and accessibility.

Are Lentils Healthy?

Lentils are rich in plant-based protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a nutritious addition to a balanced diet. They are low in fat and cholesterol-free, making them a healthy alternative to meat and other animal protein sources. Lentils are also a good source of complex carbohydrates, providing sustained energy.

Types of Lentils

Red: These lentils cook quickly and become mushy, making them perfect for soups, curries, and dals. They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a vibrant orange color.

Green: Green lentils are similar to brown lentils but have a slightly peppery flavor and hold their shape even better when cooked. They work well in salads, pilafs, and hearty dishes.

French Lentils (Puy Lentils): These are small and have a dark greenish-blue color. They hold their shape well after cooking and have a robust, earthy flavor. French lentils are ideal for salads, side dishes, and as a bed for proteins.


  • Alison Corey

    Alison is the writer, recipe developer, and photographer behind the plant-based recipe blog Keeping the Peas. A certified Health and Wellness Coach, Alison strives to create healthy, mouth-watering recipes that everyone will enjoy!

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