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1 lb of dry lentils. Now what?

I am on the misery known as South Beach. I have purchased a 1lb bag of lentils. Thats pretty much all the bag says. It does not designate a color or origin. It does say to sort and rinse lentils before cooking.

Any good ideas/tips for these protein packed little balls of love?

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  1. I don't know anything about south beach, but here are two good lentil recipes:

    lentil burgers (many recipes can be found online, this is one I like):


    Mujadarrah (I add a bit of cumin and coriander at the beginning):


    1. You could make lentil soup, or do Ina Garten's recipe for Salmon with Lentils. Do a search on foodnetwork.com for the salmon recipe.

      1. Use half of it for a quick nutritious soup: trinity, lentils and 35 oz. thick veal or chicken stock, simmered for .5 hr., finished with 2 or 3 sliced knockwurst.

        1. Lentil soup is sooo easy to make and very good tasting too. We eat a lot of it during Lent.
          For two people - 1 1/2 cups sorted, rinsed lentils
          diced carrots
          diced onion
          diced celery
          Vegetable broth or chicken broth (I use the large waxed boxes of Swanson's)
          Saute the vegetables in 1 Tbl. of olive oil. Add lentils. Add a box of broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Bay leaf, garlic and thyme are good additions. Bring to a boil and turn the heat back to simmer. Simmer 30 minutes. If the lentils are tender, use an immersion blender or a potato masher to puree the soup. Should be slightly chunky. If the mixture is too thick, thin with water to desired consistancy.
          This can be dressed up with lots of additions that would not work with South Beach hell.
          Good luck with your diet.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Pampatz

            Thank you for this recipe pampatz. I don't care for beans myself but I wanted to make it for my dad who's on a high fiber diet. I made the soup today an he enjoyed it. Thank you again.

            1. re: Pampatz

              To the above recipe add some diced rutabaga, diced parsnip, and a little bit of diced potato.
              Even better if you saute the veggies before adding the lentils and liquid. You can use vggie broth, but honestly, you don't even need to... a little salt & pepper and water will make a very tasty soup. Lentil soup is a standby in my house. Sometimes I'll make it vegetarian as above, sometimes I'll add diced ham or fresh pork. It's good either way.
              It's probably one of my favorite comfort foods and the utter simplicity of it makes it all the better.

            2. I don't know all the details of south beach diet..but here's one i made recently and liked (it's from the Vegetarian Times mag from 2004, but i don't have the link)

              Curried Red Lentil Soup
              1 cup hulled red lentils, rinsed in hot water (i think the lentils are interchangeable, as i didn't have red when i made this)
              4.5 cups nonfat vegetable stock
              2 tbsp plain yogurt
              1 tsp curry powder or to taste
              1 tsp fresh ginger
              1/4 tsp ground cumin or to taste
              1/4 tsp cayenne or to taste
              1/2 tsp onion powder or to taste
              garnishes include shredded coconut, dried peanuts, cilantro leaves, diced red pepper, chutney...raisins....

              1. I certainly don't know anything about sorting lentils. By size? Color? Common interest in films? Anyway, my vegetarian lentil stew starts with soaking the dried lentils overnight, covered in water with a spoonful of baking soda. The next day, drain and rinse. In a large pot, pour in a healthy shot of olive oil and start heating diced onions, then add tomatoes (fresh and peeled or canned whole tomatoes). Then perhaps some sliced or diced carrots and let soften a little. Now add the lentils and enough water to cover them. Add salt, pepper, hot peppers if you like and cook over medium heat. When the lentils appear to be close to as done as you want them you can further add leaves of fresh spinach and diced potatoes or rice. When the potatoes or rice are cooked, you're ready to eat. The whole cooking process will take about 90 minutes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: afteryouwho

                  When you sort lentils, you're sorting for rocks. They can sometimes sneak into your lentils. Many lentil varieties (French green ones and beluga lentils, particularly) don't look or feel much different from rocks, so the sorting process they go through at the producer sometimes misses little pebbles. I've only found one or two rocks in all my time eating lentils, but that's plenty for me to sort them every time.

                2. and some more i've made or plan to make(from net recipes)

                  French Lentil Salad with Carmalized Balsamic Vinaigrette (which i also made with Splenda)

                  I plan to make this one this week:
                  Yellow Dhal-Sweet Potato Soup

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: im_nomad

                    There is something special in the flavour of le Puy A.O.C. lentils from the Auvergne.


                    1. re: im_nomad

                      You beat me to the salad, that is an awesome salad. I love it. Thanks for reminding me, I too am dieting and don't mind Splenda at all..love balsamic dressing.

                    2. I'm having lentil soup tonight:

                      Caremelize onions. Add garlic for a bit. Dump in rinsed lentils, chopped up dried African game meat (or substitute) and unsalted chicken stock. Cook until lentils are soft. Season and add chili or curry powder, or whatever else. Blitz, adding cream or powdered milk.

                      Serving mine with cornbread.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        My Hero..... I have lentils in the pantry waiting to be cooked. This will be tomorrow night's dinner for sure! Unfortunately no dried African game meat, wouldn't you know. Will chicken thighs do?

                        1. re: Gio

                          Thanks. I might season and substantially salamander/broil the thighs first to give some depth to the final flavor.

                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            Oh thank you VM! That I shall do...

                      2. I cook lentils and serve with sauteed spinach. You sautee onion first, and maybe a little garlic in a little oil. (Can you have olive oil on the South Beach diet?) Then you add washed spinach to the pot, wilt it a bit in the heat, and add cooked lentils. Serve with chipotle hot sauce. If your diet will allow it, add a boiled egg to the dish.

                        1. why not make a dal? Indian. always rinse your lentils and depending on what type, possibly even soak them for a couple hours. basically simmer the lentils in water and a knob of ginger couple cloves garlic til they break down then add your seasonings, garam masala (indian ground spice mix) blob of butter for richness. garnish with fresh cilantro. atop brown basmati rice and you've got a complete protein. low fat and cheap & yummy!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: foiegrasfan

                            Yes! I love dal! And because they have so many spices in it, I find that you don't have to use as much oil for flavor. I find that a teaspoon or two of ghee added at the end permeates the entire batch with a rich buttery flavor.

                          2. My favourite lentil salad

                            Rinse and cook lentils for about 30 minutes with an onion, garlic clove, thyme and bay leaf until they are soft but still a bit crunchy.
                            Strain and cool. Discard everything but lentils.
                            Toss with a little olive oil, dijon mustard, lemon, S & P and chillies.
                            Mix in chunks of goat's cheese so it still stays in small chunks.
                            Toast some pecans and throw them in.
                            Mix through some baby spinach or argula when ready to serve.

                            Delicious, healthy and easy. I usually use French Puy lentils, the green ones.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Mila

                              And wouldn't that be delightful with a little sliced grilled flank steak on top?

                            2. I'm not sure what the limitations of the South Beach diet are, but this is one of my favorite lentil recipes:

                              I sometimes leave out the tofu and double the apple

                              1. Nigella Lawson had a couple of lentil recipes on NPR just recently, in honor of the New Year. I guess they're considered good luck because they look like coins. Can't vouch for their quality, but here they are:


                                I just made a skirlie with lentils recently that was quite good. For want of a better description, skirlie is a Scottish risotto (pilaf?) made with steel-cut oatmeal (another low carb fave). I'd add it to the recipes, but I have to admit I don't really know how many servings it makes -- I'd say a LOT.


                                Skirlie with Lentils

                                2 cups steel-cut oats
                                1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
                                1 onion, minced
                                1 stalk celery, minced
                                1 large carrot, peeled and minced
                                3 tablespoons vegetable oil
                                1 tablespoon butter
                                Chicken broth, as needed (probably at least 20 ounces
                                )Salt, pepper, dried thyme, dried sage, to taste

                                1. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Saute onions, celery, carrots over medium-high heat just until the onions begin to carmelize. Remove from pot.

                                2. Add remaining oil and butter to pot. Toast oats and lentils in pot, just until they begin to color.

                                3. Return vegetables to pot and mix with oats and lentils. Add broth to mixture until it is very moist, but not soupy. Cover and reduce heat.

                                4. Keep checking mixture and adding broth as needed to keep the mixture moist, erring on the side of keeping it slightly dry. Periodically adjust seasoning using salt, pepper, thyme, and sage.

                                5. Continue until oats and lentils are tender, a half-hour at least.

                                1. My daughter makes a very good lentil dish: Out about 1 pound, or so (lentils double in volume with cooking so guage your amount accordingly), of lentils in a pot and fill the pot with water to well above the lentils. Add 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds. 1 tablespoon of fennugreek, a heavy pinch of powdered rosemary, heavy pinch of cayanne, one or two cloves of minced garlic. Simmer until the lentils are soft and most of the water is gone (add water if you need to). Add salt to taste.
                                  It is good served on buttered toast but for south beach I think it would be good served with eggs.

                                  1. A Middle Eastern favorite is mujadarrah which is brown lentils and rice. Cook the lentils is water. When just about cooked through add long grain white rice and continue cooking. Top with lots of caramelized onions

                                    1. I make a greek inspired lentil salad. Cook the lentils, add diced cucumber, (seeded) tomato (seeded), bell peppers (the more colors the better), beets, and any other veggies you have on hand (good way to empty the fridge). Mix it all together with some olive oil and lots of lemon juice. I also add salt and pepper and some greek oregano is I have it around.

                                      1. these sound good. I have a bag of lentils also to cook and have been looking for something.

                                        1. If it's a transparent bag, tell us what color they are. If not, consider opening the bag to look and then closing it securely or transfer the lentils into another sealable container until ready to use.

                                          1. Rather than start a new thread, I thought I'd tack it on here. I have a package of Umbrian lentils. I'm going to fix an Italian menu and the main dish is cotechino (a certain type of Italian sausage) that has veal wrapped around it. I'd like something with a little pizazz for the lentils (no soup or stew, just side dish) and with, of course, an Italian bent. TIA.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I use a recipe based on the lentils Modena-style from Lynne Rosetto Kasper's The Splendid Table when I make my New Year's cotechino. Here is my version:

                                              1 onion, diced
                                              1 leek, sliced thin
                                              1 carrot, diced,
                                              1 celery, diced
                                              1 clove garlic, diced
                                              3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
                                              1 inch sprig rosemary, chopped
                                              1 bay leaf
                                              1 lb Puy lentils (Umbrian will probably be even better!)
                                              1/2 can diced tomatoes
                                              1 T tomato paste
                                              3 to 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
                                              S&P to taste

                                              Sauté onion and leek in EVOO till soft, add carrot and celery and sauté till onion starts to brown, add garlic and herbs, sauté briefly, add lentils and sauté briefly, then add tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth. Simmer covered about 1 hour or till lentils are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more broth if needed. Add cotechino last 25 minutes if it is fully cooked or at the beginning if it is raw. This makes enough lentils for about 8 people and any leftovers get made into soup at my house.

                                              ETA: a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end or at the table is a nice addition but I forgot it this year and these were still yummy!

                                              1. re: GretchenS

                                                This sounds just right. I got the Umbrian lentils at DiPalo's in NYC last summer and have been saving them for the right meal.

                                                1. re: GretchenS

                                                  This meal was a long time happening what with everyone's perspective schedules but finally happened Saturday. Gretchen, these lentils were so amazinly wonderful. Each person had at least seconds and raves and moans with practicaly every mouthful. I'm not exaggerating. The meal had lots of tastes going on in it and those lentils stood up to it all. And, like, forgot the balsamic til everyone was ready to eat so grabbed the bottle and gave a little splash and it gilded the lily.

                                                  Thank you SO much for sharing this. I'll be fixing it over and over again

                                              2. Because I'm lazy, I usually do red lentils in daal, green lentils in soup and Puy in salads. They're all from dry; I don't do canned lentils for some reason.

                                                Oh, but I also do Greek Red Lentil Soup with red lentils - http://food.v.igoro.us/index.php/Reci... - because it's insanely delicious!

                                                  1. re: Brandon Nelson

                                                    Isn't that only if eaten within two hours of midnight on New Year's??? But,, hey, it's still January, right?

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      You have over a month til Chinese New Year.

                                                  2. Peter berkley has a great lentil soup recipe (if they are red or green ones. I usually use red)

                                                    heat five cups of water in a pan
                                                    add I think 1 1/2 cups lentils
                                                    8 cloves of garlic
                                                    1 can of tomatoes
                                                    1 sprig of rosemarry
                                                    5 coin size pieces of fresh ginger
                                                    1 bay leave
                                                    simmer until the lentils break down and the garlic is soft enough to crush into the soup. Then add spinach and cover until it wilts.

                                                    Finish with fresh lemon juice.

                                                    It is very summery, yet warming on a winter day. I make it all the time.

                                                    1. The most common lentils are green or light brown in color (these are "green lentils").

                                                      My roommate and I will often cook a large batch made with 1 to 2 cups of lentils ahead of time and throw them in the fridge for up to a week. It might take some practice to get them to cook right, you want them to be soft but not mushy, so you need to figure out the right proportion of water to lentils, and avoid mixing them while they cook. You'll need to use about 1.75 to 2 cups of water per cup of lentils. You could also cook the lentils with excess water and drain them once they reach the desired level of tenderness.

                                                      We just throw them in a covered pot with these ingredients:
                                                      1 or 2 bay leaves (remove after lentils are cooked)
                                                      2 or 3 dried red chile peppers, or red pepper flakes to taste
                                                      3 or 4 garlic cloves
                                                      1/2 to 1 onion, not chopped
                                                      salt to taste
                                                      maybe some oil, about 2 to 3 tsp per cup of lentils
                                                      black pepper to taste, towards the end of cooking
                                                      These are pretty good reheated with any number of foods.

                                                      A good thing to do with these lentils after you've cooked them according to the directions above is to make a Mediterranean style salad with them, which can be served cold. You can also use plain boiled lentils for this salad because most of the flavors come from the other ingredients in the salad. Add chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, finely chopped parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil, and maybe a tiny bit of sherry vinegar or some other vinegar if the lemon juice doesn't add enough zing. You can add all sorts of other things to this salad such as slices of cooked carrot or julienned raw carrot, black olive slices, crumbled feta, walnuts etc.

                                                      1. Lentils are the best! I make a delicious stew out of puy (but I'm sure other varieties would do just fine), butternut squash, turnips, and carrots. I finish it off with feta. Amazing and super healthy.

                                                        1. Sprout some of them: pour an inch or so into a quart jar, half fill it with water and stretch a piece of netting or fabric across the top. Secure it with a rubber band. Change the water every eight to twelve hours but do not refrigerate. By 36 hours after you start, they should be showing little sprout tips: at this point pour the water off and leave the jar on its side. Keep rinsing them a couple of times a day. After another 36 hours they should be ready to eat, and will continue ready to eat for several days. If they fill up the jar too quickly, *then* put it in the fridge to slow them down. Steam them or saute them. They're very good with potatoes, with eggs, or any place you'd put sauteed veggies (warning: raw they taste like soaked-but-uncooked beans). You will grow accustomed to the startling renewal (take out a third of the jar, by the next day it will be full again).

                                                          1. a *very* traditional French use is to simmer a smoked ham hock until tender with carrot and onions and a couple of whole cloves.

                                                            When the meat is tender, retrieve from the stock and remove the meat from the bones, discarding the skin and fat.

                                                            Put three cups of the stock in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. (reserve and freeze the rest of the stock for split-pea soup later!) Cook lentils in the stock until tender (half-hour or so) and add to the shredded ham hock and now-cooked carrots and onions.

                                                            Hard-core comfort food.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                (and with a fresh baguette to soak up all the broth. I LOVE living somewhere that it's okay to sop your plate with bread.)

                                                            1. One of my favorite things to make right now is braised lentils. Very simple recipe. I do a fine dice of carrot, celery and onions and saute them in evoo. Add the lentils and water and cook till tender. Season with salt and pepper, sometimes a dash of cumin. The carrots and onions give this a sweet taste. Packed with fiber, protein and complex carbs

                                                              1. If red, Armenian lentil stew, from Lorna Sass "Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure".