By Judith Kingsbury
This recipe is for regular lentils, small brown lentils, or green French lentils, that you want to stay intact, not Indian dhals or split green or yellow peas, which are best cooked to mush.
The secret of successfully cooking lentils intact, not mushy or falling apart, is to soak them in a salty brine, then cook with a pinch of salt, and|or a strip of kombu seaweed. I learned that trick from Cooks Illustrated, my favorite cooking magazine.
It's all right to cook lentils without soaking & salting. They'll take longer to cook, and will be mushier than with the soak & salt method.
Total Prep & Cook Time: 2 - 6 Hours
Yield: 2 1/2 - 3 cups cooked lentils or 6 Servings
Nutrition Data, 1 cup raw lentils: 678 cal, 2g fat, 115g carb, 12mg sodium, 59g fiber, 50g protein, low Cholesterol, good source Folate, Thiamin, Iron, Phosphorus Manganese. Estimated glycemic load: 31
When adding lentils to a soup or stew: If you add them in the beginning of cooking, they'll get softer (mushier) and absorb the flavors of the other ingredients. If you don't want that, add lentils at the end of cooking, and they'll keep their shape and firmness
It's always worthwhile to double the recipe, and freeze lentils in small containers or freezer bags for future salads or soups
Sprouting makes lentils even more digestible, nourishing and delicious. And makes it possible to eat them raw.
To sprout lentils: Soak 1/2 - 1 cup lentils overnight in a 1 - 2 quart glass jar, then rinse and drain. Cover the top of the jar with a piece of old dishtowel secured with a rubber band, or a fine mesh sprouting screen.
Place the jar of soaked and rinsed lentils in a cool dark spot, with the mouth of the jar tilted downward and the lentils distributed evenly in the jar. Rinse 2 or 3 times a day. When tails begin to appear, sprouting is done. Sprouts are most nutritious when just barely sprouted.
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