What are Red Split Lentils
Red Split Lentils are by far the quickest to cook of the lentil family. They need no pre-soaking unlike many legumes and as they are split (the skins removed so they split naturally into two halves), they cook very quickly.
With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Proteins include the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine. Red Lentils also contain folate, vitamin B1, minerals and dietary fibre. Pulses in general are so inexpensive that buying then in 5 lbs or more makes more sense. Easy to store, long shelf life and easy to cook makes them an ideal pantry staple. I have to refill my 1 gallon mason jar a few times a month.
How do I prepare Red Split Lentils
First wash and inspect the dry lentils. Simply pop them in a sieve under running water and check them for any debris/other grains and make sure they’re rinsed and clean.
Pop them in a pan with water or broth (use 1 1/2 cups of water/broth to 1 cup of lentils). You can add flavorings such as herbs, garlic or onions but DON’T USE SALT. This toughens them if added at the beginning of cooking. My secret herb is always adding a few bay leaves.
Bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer. Stir them now and again to prevent sticking to the pan.
Cooking time depends on whether you want them for salads, a thick puree or turn into mush. Around 15 minutes will start to turn them into a puree, 25 minutes you’ll have mush. Cook them for around 10-15 minutes if you want to use them in a salad, you want a tender but firm texture and for them to still hold their shape.
The easiest way is to check on your lentils as you cook them. Cooking times vary wildly depending on how large the pan, how cold the water and simply the size of lentils themselves. Simply have a taste at around 10 minutes and judge the cooking time accordingly.