Cooked lentils are ready for any kind of culinary action you want to throw at them. They can be tossed into both green salads and grain salads, used in sandwich wraps, added to soups and chilis, or even made into veggie burgers. Some nights, I love a simple bowl of warm lentils tossed with good olive oil and vinegar with a poached egg to complete the meal.
1. Wash Lentils: Measure the lentils into a strainer or colander. Pick over and remove any shriveled lentils, debris, or rocks. Thoroughly rinse under running water.
2. Combine Lentils and Water: Transfer the rinsed lentils to a saucepan and pour in the water. Add any seasonings being used, reserving the salt.
4. Cook the Lentils: Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. You should only see a few small bubble and some slight movement in the lentils. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.
5. Salt the Lentils: Lentils are cooked as soon as they are tender and no longer crunchy. Older lentils may take longer to cook and shed their outer skins as they cook. Strain the lentils and remove any seasonings. Return the lentils to the pan and stir in 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Taste and add additional salt as needed.
6. Seasoning and Using Cooked Lentils: Cooked lentils will keep refrigerated for about a week. Season them with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, fresh herbs, and eat them on their own. Lentils can also be added to soups, salads, or other recipes.
Any amount of lentils can be cooked in this manner. Just maintain the 2:1 ratio of water to lentils described above.