Q. I love eating lentils in almost any form. I make lentil soup, lentil curry, lentil pilaf, and even make lentil burgers. Red lentils cook fairly quickly, but when I work with other lentils, particularly green or brown ones, I find that the cooking time is a real deterrent for me. I don’t mind soaking them ahead of time because I just soak them the night before, but when I have to wait almost an hour for my lentils to cook before I can even continue making the dish I want to eat, I get impatient. I don’t want to dedicate two hours on a weekend to just cooking one dish. I don’t like canned lentils because they tend to be too mushy, but I’m getting tired of cooking with dried ones. I wanted to try cooking them in the microwave. Can you microwave lentils?
A. Well, you are definitely in luck, because as with other dried beans or legumes, you can microwave lentils! Lentils must be cooked in water to be softened enough to consume, and the good news is that it doesn’t matter whether they are cooked in that water on the stove or in the microwave. As a matter of fact, cooking them in the microwave can lower cooking time by more than half, which is certainly good news for you!
What cannot be changed is the need to soak the lentils first. They don’t necessarily have to be soaked for as long as some larger beans, so about 1-2 hours works fine. However, if you already have a routine of soaking them overnight, just keep doing what you’ve always done. Soaking them for longer won’t harm the lentils.
Start by washing the lentils and picking out any small pebbles or dried pieces of twigs that may be present. Then, place the lentils in a large bowl and add twice as much water. Allow the lentils to soak for a few hours or overnight. Place the lentils in a microwave-safe container and cover with water, then place a lid on the container. Microwave on high for about 10 minutes, checking on them and giving them a stir halfway through. If not cooked completely, place them back in the microwave in 1-2 minute intervals until cooked all the way. Remove, stir, and let stand for a few minutes, then use the lentils in your favourite recipe.