How to Cook Lentils

Prepare one batch of lentils and enjoy them several different ways all week.

Course Main
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Keyword lentils, French Lentils, Beluga lentils
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Author Jean | Lemons + Anchovies


  • 1 small shallot (or 1/4 large onion), finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (See Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup dried lentils (French, Beluga or brown)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • pinch kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups liquid (water, vegetable stock or combination)(See Note)
  • chopped parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat two to three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a skillet or medium pan. Add the shallot, celery and carrot at the same time and cook for about three minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.

  2. Add the curry powder and ground cumin and cook for one to two minutes. Add another splash of olive oil if your pan is too dry.

  3. Add the lentils, lemon juice and two cups liquid. Bring to a boil then cover the skillet/pan with a lid and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook until the lentils are mostly tender but with just a little bite still to them. This will take about 35-40 minutes and you may need to add additional liquid while they cook. Add the additional liquid in 1/4 cup increments as needed--you may need to add an additional 1/2 - 3/4 liquid in addition to the two cups noted in the recipe.

  4. Once the lentils are done, serve with rice or toss in a salad when cooled. They will keep refrigerated for several days.

Recipe Notes

Curry Powder: If you're concerned about a pronounced curry flavor in this dish don't worry. The curry powder adds depth but barely detectable curry flavor. You can also omit and just replace with another 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. 

Liquid: It's fine to use just water but I recommend using half water and half your favorite vegetable stock. If you're not vegetarian, use your favorite chicken stock. If you're using all water, bump up the salt and spices a touch.