Cooking lentils: delicious as soup, salad or bolognese | – guide – cooking

Status: 07/28/2022 12:42 PM

It doesn’t always have to be a soup: lentils taste great in salads, soups or pies and are a good substitute for meat – for example like Bolognese. An overview of the different varieties and recipes.

Lentils are not only one of the most nutritious foods, they are also very versatile. Legumes can be prepared in many ways in the kitchen. At the same time, its high iron and protein content makes it ideal for vegetarians and anyone who wants to eat less meat.

Prepare and soak lentils properly

Lentils are easy to prepare. Rinse briefly in a sieve to remove any dirt. Large varieties such as lentils can be soaked before cooking, preferably overnight. This shortens the cooking time. Smaller varieties such as red lentils can be cooked right away. Whether soaking is necessary and how long to cook each item is written on the package.


A bowl of oriental lentils on the table.  © NDR Photo: Claudia Timmann

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People with sensitive stomachs should not use soaking water for cooking, but fresh water. Some hard-to-digest ingredients dissolve in water. However, other valuable nutrients are also released into the water and are lost when poured away. The salt in the cooking water ensures that the lentils stay firm. If you want to prepare a puree or dip, it is better to leave the salt. Some vinegar or lemon juice emphasizes the taste of the lentils.

Types of lentils: lentil soup

Lentils are available in many varieties, and there are about 70 different types worldwide. They differ not only in size, color and taste, but also in culinary properties. The most famous of them is the relatively large lentil, usually brown in color, which is well suited for classic lentil soup and lentil soup. Externally, lentils resemble pardina, which has a special nutty taste.

Red Lentils: Classics of Indian Cuisine

Red lentils are especially popular in Indian cuisine. They are already peeled and therefore overcooked relatively quickly. Soaking before cooking is also no longer necessary. Its smooth consistency after cooking makes it ideal for dipping and pureeing, as well as for Indian dishes like dal.

Red lentils in a bowl | © Fotolia / Victoria P Photo: Victoria P

Red lentils are a slightly reddish-orange and turn yellow when cooked.

Yellow lentils have a slightly stronger taste, but are very popular in Indian and oriental cuisine. It is not a variety of its own, but it is a brown or green peeled lentil.

Beluga lentils: perfect as a side dish or salad

Beluga lentils are ideal for salads or as an accompaniment to fish, vegetables or meat. Brilliant little black lentils have a very pleasant aroma reminiscent of chestnut. Another well-known type is the Boy Lentil. Dark legumes from France also remain solid after cooking and taste nutty.

A healthy alternative to meat: use lentils for bolognese

Lentils are an excellent substitute for meat in many dishes. Bolognese sauces or burger patties, in which lentils are used instead of ground beef, are especially tasty. Varieties with delicate textures, such as red or yellow, as well as lentils, are especially suitable for this.

Ingredients: Protein makes lentils very healthy

Red, yellow, black lentils in clay pots.  © NDR Photo: Anja Deuble

Lentils are rich in protein and iron and thus are a particularly valuable food for vegetarians.

Lentils are very rich in protein: in some cases, lentils contain more protein than foods of animal origin. It is therefore a valuable addition to the menu, especially for vegetarians. They also contain a lot of magnesium, which is important for various metabolic processes and the nervous system, as well as a lot of fiber. Lentils are also rich in iron. However, the body is less able to use iron from lentils than from animal iron. Vitamin C enhances absorption – so it helps, for example, to serve orange juice or a raw vegetable salad with a lentil dish.

Buying and storing lenses

Lentils are mostly sold dried. When shopping, make sure that there is no white flour residue on the bottom of the package, as it indicates an infestation of insects. Lentils can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for several months, and some types even longer.

More information

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Eat better! | 07/31/2022 | 4:30 pm

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