Red lentils in a pink bowl on a white wooden surface, side view. Close-up.
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Lentils are small, round legumes used in many traditional Indian food dishes. Pink lentils are actually masoor lentils that have been split and skinned. This removes a large amount of the fiber in a traditional masoor lentil. Pink lentils are softer in texture than green or brown lentils due to the removed skin. Cooking them will also take less time, so keep watch and make sure they do not become overly soft and mushy.

Remove debris and rinse the lentils. Place lentils in your mesh strainer and sift through the lentils for any rocks or debris. Rinse them under running water, moving the lentils around to ensure all are washed off.

Prepare the lentils. Add three cups of water to a small pot and bring to a boil. Add one cup of lentils, allow the water to return to a rolling boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Check the lentils. Check first after ten minutes and every few minutes thereafter. If you are using the lentils in a salad, stop cooking when they are still slightly firm. If using in a soup, a softer consistency is desired.

Season, if desired. Add salt, herbs or lemon to taste.


Don’t mix old and new lentils, as they will cook at different times.