Best way to cook lentils

The best way to cook lentils is just boiling them briefly in salted-water and then adding a piquant-sauce of some sort as they really have little flavour.

I love lentils for many reasons, but not least is that because they are so small you can prepare a meal in under half an hour with only perhaps ten-minutes of your time are you actively busy; you can get on with something else.

However they are rather dull so I like to add a sauce just as they finish cooking. Would you like spicy-lentils?

Best way to cook lentils.

With all the ketogenic diets about many folk are terrified of the carb in lentils. However, let's get it straight; it is the refined-starches that are the killer. There is so much research confirming that we should be eating more legumes for protein. They are good for you and will not add to your waistline.

It's that bread-roll that you should be watching out for; that is where the danger lies. We all have to learn to bake with 100 percent real flour.

This really is the best way to cook lentils. Enjoy them without guilt.


  1. 2 cups of dried lentils, any colour.
  2. 1 tsp. salt
  3. A couple sprigs of thyme

Pick through your dried-lentils because alas they quite often may have a few small stones, and you could break a tooth. Wash them once or twice to get the dust of the fields off.

Add them and the salt and thyme to a large pot and cover with plenty of water; at least a couple centimetres.

Boil on low-heat for about twenty minutes.

Strain off the water, remove the thyme-stalk, and return the hot lentils to your pot.

The sauce

Here you can let your imagination go wild. There are so many options. Here is one.

  1. 50 ml olive-oil
  2. 10 ml of your favourite vinegar
  3. 1/2 lime including the pulp
  4. Quarter of a de-seeded chili; actually I would use a three or four peppadews.
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. Optional: add 1 TBSP of tahini, 1 tsp capers

Use a stick-blender to mush it up. Pour the sauce over your hot lentils. Serve them on rice, or use them with a salad or even in a soup.

They will keep up to five-days in the fridge.

How long do lentils last?

At a stretch you could keep your lentils in the fridge for a week, but frankly I wouldn't go much over 4 - 5 days. I try to keep the number of little sealed mystery-containers in the fridge to a minimum. How often have you opened one of them and found it covered with mould?

This is the best way to cook lentils, and it's so easy that we do not need to store it for ages; it will get eaten.

Are lentils high in protein?

Roughly one-tenth of your lentils is protein. So one cup, weighing about 200g will supply nearly a half of your daily needs.

However it is not a complete protein; it's short on some amino acids like methionine and cystine, unless you sprout them first. Vegans get around this by adding tahini, a sesame-seed paste that you can get from your Greek and Turkish stores.

Otherwise just have an egg for breakfast.

Alternatively you could add this piquant tahini-sauce[1] after you have boiled your lentils.

It's astonishing how many people are using protein-shakes and powders on the ketogenic and other diets; it is just another bad substitution for a wellness way of eating. And they are expensive.

The reason diets don't work is because they are not sustainable. Are you planning to have a shake for breakfast for the rest of your life? Definitely not, but I absolutely love lentils and other legumes and consume them daily.

At around R50 per kg (5 cups) - 100g protein - lentils are one of the cheapest, and having them in the fridge you can snack on them without guilt if you are feeling peckish. 

The best is their so-called subsequent meal effect; all day because of the hormone stimulation to the hunger centre, they continue to supply the satiety we need. You aren't constantly feeling famished and thinking about that next snack.

Are lentils high in fibre?

Guidelines are that we should be consuming about 30 grams of fibre each day from our food. It gives the stool bulk and provides nutrients for the teeming billions of bugs in the microbiome. The average person in the West is eating about half of that; constipation and bowel-disease is rife.

Nearly one-tenth of your lentils is dietary fibre; 8 grams /100g. So half a cup would provide nearly a quarter of your needs.

Are lentils high in fibre? Yes, they certainly are.

An alternative is our authentic hummus recipe; we should always have a dish of legumes in our fridge to have with our meals.

  1. Piquant tahini-sauce


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