Lentils are a brilliant source of protein and fiber so a much healthier choice than pasta or rice. Not only that, they are super delicious and super satisfying.
I’ve used French style ‘Puy’ lentils in the video but the recipe works equally well with all types of lentils so feel free to explore. You’ll just need to adjust the cooking time for different lentils.
takes: about 30 minutes
makes: about 4 cups
500g (1lb) green or brown lentils, rinsed
2 brown onions, peeled & chopped
2 carrots, chopped, optional
2 sticks celery, chopped, optional
3 – 4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 – 4 tablespoons sherry or rice wine vinegar
1. Place lentils in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover generously.
2. Add onion, carrots & celery (if using), and bring to the boil.
3. Turn the heat down to medium high and simmer rapidly for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. I like them al dente like pasta but its up to you. If the lentils look dry add more water.
4. Drain the lentils well and place in a mixing bowl or back into the saucepan.
5. Stir in 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season with soy sauce, vinegar, and a little salt and pepper if you like.
gluten-free – make sure you use a gluten-free soy sauce such as tamari.
carnivore – lentils love pork products so feel free to serve with proscuitto, jamon or even some cooked bacon.
less veg – the veg add flavour to the lentils but aren’t critical. Feel free to boil lentils on their own if you’re out of veg or short on time.
herby – I often add a couple of bay leaves from the garden to my lentils. A sprig of rosemary or thyme can also add lovely fragrance.
canned alternative – anywhere that calls for canned lentils or beans. Note: 1 can drained = approx 240g / 9oz of cooked lentils.
lasagne – use as a vegetarian alternative to ground or minced beef such as in this (almost) 15 minute veggie lasagne.
chilli – instead of canned lentils in this vegetarian chilli.
rice alternative – in these egg fried lentils.
pasta alternative – serve with your favourite pasta sauce.
Absolutely. I like to make up a big batch to have on hand for quick meals during the week. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or so. Can be frozen for up to 12 months. Lentil freeze really well, similar to frozen peas and so they’re easy to defrost in a warm pan.
Storage Best Practices
Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or so. Can be frozen for up to 12 months. Lentil freeze really well, similar to frozen peas and so they’re easy to defrost in a warm pan.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
lentils, soy, vinegar, onions – pantry.
carrots, celery – keep for months in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Problem Solving Guide
mushy lentils – some lentils fall to mush very easily so you need to keep an eye on them. Next time only cook until they are al dente – so tender but still a little firm. The other option is to seek out French-style green lentils (also sometimes called puy lentils) or Italian castellecircco lentils. Both of these more expensive lentils have the advantage of not falling apart even when over cooked a little.
lentils taking forever to cook – the cooking time will vary greatly depending on the type of lentil and how long they’ve been sitting around for. I’ve also noticed that the less water you have available, the longer they take to cook so be generous with the water. You don’t need as much as you would for pasta but make sure your lentils have space to swim freely.
bland – lentils need generous seasoning which is why we’re using soy and vinegar. Feel free to add more. And don’t forget the salt.
no sherry vinegar? – no problem. Any wine vinegar including balsamic will work here or even lemon juice.
crunchy lentils – just means your lentils are undercooked. You could pop them back in the saucepan with more water or just chalk it as a lesson for next time.
burning on the bottom – not enough water. Quick add some!
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