Though they are not the most common go-to plate filler in the western world, lentils are a staple in many Indian dishes. They are treated in a dish similar to rice but are far more nutritious, with higher protein and fibre contents.
Using lentils in a dish isn’t as simple as adding them to a dish at random and hoping for the best. There are time-consuming methods to get the lentils just right for the dish, which can be very inconvenient when you want a quick, warm meal.
Luckily, there is the option to use your microwave to cook lentils.
To microwave lentils, cover them with water, then microwave for 7 minutes, drain and repeat but microwave for 7 to 10 minutes the second time.
How to Microwave Lentils
You do not need to worry about juggling multiple bowls or trying to add a heap of flavour to your lentils when you microwave them.
You can have great tasting, thoroughly cooked lentils just using your microwave and a bowl by following this method:
Like rice, you should always wash your lentils before you even think about cooking them. Just pour your lentils into a sieve and run them under cold water for a few minutes to wash them properly.
Leave your lentils covered in water overnight or for at least 2 hours before microwaving them.
Once the lentils have softened noticeably, drain the soaked water and replace it with some fresh water until the lentils are entirely covered and then some.
Soften the lentils before you flavour them by microwaving them on high heat for 7 minutes.
- Drain And Wash
After the first microwave, drain the lentils and wash them under cold water. Repeat 3 more times.
- Add Water
This time, pour enough water over the lentils until the water sits about an inch above the lentils.
- Add Flavour
Any herbs, seasonings or flavoured oil you wish to add to the lentils should be added now. Give the lentils a gentle mix to incorporate the extra ingredients into the water.
- Microwave Again
Set your microwave to its highest heat and cook the lentils in your microwave for 7-10 minutes, depending on how long you soaked them previously.
Use a fork to press one of the lentils. If the fork does not sink into the lentil easily, microwave the lentils again in 3-minute intervals.
When you find yourself with tender lentils but an excess of water, drain the water completely.
You can incorporate the lentils into your dish immediately!
How to Microwave Lentils Successfully
Similarly to most other legumes, lentils are a great way to fill your plate with little effort. Microwaving your lentils means that you need to put even less effort into cooking your lentils.
Instead, that effort can be spent on ensuring your lentils taste as delicious as possible by following these tips:
- Don’t Forget To Soak – The only way that microwaving lentils will work is if you give them enough time to soak before cooking them. You can just soak the lentils overnight, but forgetting to do so will make it impossible to microwave them.
- Wait To Season – In the method above, we recommend adding salt to the cooking lentils before microwaving them. However, for softer lentils which are easier to mash, you should season the lentils after they have been cooked.
- Use Broth For Extra Taste – Depending on the lentils you use, you won’t have to worry too much about having a bland meal. However, you can replace water with your broth of choice when you reach step 6 for extra taste.
- Add Flavourings – Just a sprig of rosemary or a bay leaf can be enough to add layers of flavour to a bowl of lentils without too much effort.
Why You Should Microwave Lentils
Many people avoid cooking with lentils because of how long they take to cook. But here are a few reasons that may change your mind simply by switching out the stove for your microwave:
Many people are put off from using lentils because of how long they can take to cook, often yielding bad results. However, microwaving lentils cuts their cooking time down considerably.
Better yet, you will have perfect lentils practically every time!
Like when cooking lentils on the stove, you can add any herbs or seasoning you want to the lentils when you microwave them. You will not have to worry about your meal lacking flavour.
Better yet, because using a microwave cuts the cooking time of your lentils considerably, you can experiment with a variety of great flavours without worrying about wasting time.
Why You Shouldn’t Microwave Lentils
There are a few things to keep in mind when cooking lentils in a microwave that you may not need to consider otherwise. Such as:
Lentils are notoriously hard to cook, not because they are difficult to incorporate into a dish but because they are so hard when raw.
You must soak the lentils before microwaving them to ensure they can become soft enough to cook. But even that may not be enough to ensure that the lentils soften. If your microwave is generally weak, it will take much longer to cook the lentils completely if at all.
Soaking Still Required
It is the amount of time that lentils need to soak that takes the longest when you are preparing lentils. If you choose to microwave your lentils to cook them, soaking them beforehand is essential if you want the lentils to cook all the way through.
You will not be saving any preparation time when microwaving your lentils.
Microwaving Lentils FAQs
Do you still have questions about microwaving lentils? Then these FAQs might come into use:
Yes, red lentils can be microwaved. They will take a little less time than other lentils, so reduce the cooking time by a few minutes and then check every couple of minutes until they are soft.
No, raw lentils will need to be soaked before you can microwave them. They should be soaked overnight, ideally.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.