Lentil beans are arguably the easiest legume to cook from a dried form, if only because they might be the fastest. No presoak is required, but a quick 25 – 30-minute simmer in broth and you've cooked a pot of your own cooked lentil beans. I keep a jar in the refrigerator for easy additions to salads and vegetable dishes, for an extra hit of protein.
My favorite lentils for adding to salad and vegetable dishes are dried green or brown lentils, French lentils, or my new favorite, Umbrian lentils. All hold their shape well and don't become mushy. Yellow and orange lentils are best saved for soups where mushy textures are a plus.
Cooked lentil beans can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.
How to Cook Lentil Beans
- 1 cup dried lentil beans
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 smashed clove of garlic
- Rinse lentils thoroughly, and place in a medium pot. Add the water or broth, the bay leaf, and garlic.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. I prefer a simmer that’s so soft that there’s just a couple of bubbles at a time in the middle of the pot. A soft, slow simmer helps to keep the skins of the beans intact. Simmer for 25 minutes or until just tender. Remove the pot from the heat, and keep covered for another 10 minutes.
- The result is perfect beans every time.