Video: Preparing Lentils

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

Lentils play a critical part in my traditional cooking repertoire.   Low in phytic acid and other anti-nutrients, lentils require only a quick soak before they are ready to cook – unlike beans.    If you sometimes have trouble digesting beans like I do, even when properly soaked and cooked, lentils are a wonderful alternative.

There are 3 types of lentils:  green, brown, and red.    I typically use green lentils as they hold their shape very well after cooking, but I have recently found the red lentil to be simply delightful in soups.

When combined in a dish with rich, homemade stock as shown in this week’s video, lentils make an economical, nutritious alternative to meat.   The gallon of lentil soup I make in this video only cost about $5 – and I used organic vegetables and organic lentils!     This is about 25 cents a serving!

Even the cheapest fast food can’t beat that!

In these tough economic times, incorporating lots of lentils into your meals is a smart way to keep the food budget in check without sacrificing anything in nutrition!

Incidentally, Dr. Weston A. Price considered lentils to be the most nutritious of all legumes as they are loaded with potassium,, calcium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins.   I first learned this at the 2007 Wise Traditions Conference during Sally Fallon Morell’s talk on “Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner’.    The soup recipe I show you how to make in this video is an adaptation of the lentil soup recipe Sally discussed during that seminar.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has over the past few years!

Soaking Lentils

3 cups organic, green lentils (only use red lentils if you are going to make soup with them as red lentils disintegrate after cooking)

3 TBL liquid whey or raw apple cider vinegar

Put lentils in a large pot and fill with filtered water.   Stir in liquid whey or apple cider vinegar, put lid on the pot and leave on the counter for about 7 hours but no more than 18.

Drain soaking water and rinse drain lentils again.

Your lentils are now ready for cooking and you may use them in whatever dish you choose or proceed to the next step to make lentil soup.

Lentil Soup

Makes approximately 1 gallon of soup


3 cups red or green lentils, soaked for 7 hours, rinsed and drained

3 organic onions, peeled and chopped

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 TBL butter

2 TBL extra virgin olive oil

2 quarts beef, chicken, or turkey stock (or a combination – half stock, half filtered water is ok too)

1/2 tsp green peppercorns, ground

1/8 – 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 TBL green, yellow, or red curry paste (optional)

Sea salt to taste


In a large pot, cook onions and carrots in butter and extra virgin olive oil until soft (about 20-30 minutes).   Add stock and lentils and bring to a boil.    Skim off foam that rises to the top just before boiling with a large, slotted spoon.   Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender – about 20 minutes.     Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and curry paste if desired.

Blend soup with a handheld blender right in the pot.   Taste.    Add ground green peppercorns and sea salt as desired.


Sources:   Nourishing Traditions Cookbook
“Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner”, Sally Fallon Morell (2007 Wise Traditions Conference)


Comments (44)

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the very informative post! You mention soaking green lentils for 7+ hours. How long would you soak red lentils?

  2. Hi thanks for your information about lentils. I was wondering, the split daal/dahl and split peas do they need to be soaked in an acidic/water solution prior to cooking to remove phytic acid?

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  4. I am confused! Before I knew about proper lentil prep., I just cooked them ( all sorts- green lentils, red, Indian dals). Now after soaking in an acidic medium (ACV) they don’t seem to soften or cook down. What is going in?

  5. I just want to say that I absolutely love this blog!! I found it about six months ago and it is slowly changing my life. Thanks so much for all the wonderful videos! I am so glad to be learning these things. I also absolutely love Rockapella and it made me happy that you were wearing a Rockapella shirt (even if you don’t care for them and it’s just another shirt that you had…)!

  6. Quick question… I have a recipe that does not soak the lentils before hand, but the simmering time of the soup is 3 hours. Would I still need to soak my lentils with a recipe like that? If I did soak before hand, should I just add the lentils to the last hour of simmering to avoid a lentil mushy mess? I’m inept most of the time with cooking and don’t want to mess up my soup.

  7. The lentils and garbanzo beans I soaked extensively NEVER would get tender, even after resorting to pressure cooking. I even soaked the lentils with whey as directed.

  8. Yes, I was so surprised when you put olive oil in the pan since you have articles on here saying never to heat it. Maybe you’ve changed your mind since this video was made? If so, can you please tell us what you use instead of the EVOO? Perhaps more butter?

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  10. Made this last night. It was very good! A bit too spicy with the curry, but will adjust next time. Thanks for the video!

  11. Hi Sarah,

    I heard on a radio food program how delicious chickpea broth is when cooking them from scratch. I’ve searched your blog and find no information about chickpeas. What is your stand on eating chickpeas? And, if recommended, what is your stand on the chickpea broth (after skimming away the foam)?

    Love, love, love your blog — very inspiring!

    Thanks so much,

  12. Are all legumes good for you?? I know you said fava beans were not. And do I need to buy them organic or does it not matter? I saw they had them on Bread Beckers but did not say “organic”. Also, if I buy in bulk how do I store them?

    Thanks for all your info! Even my husband is getting excited about this!!! 😉

  13. Hi Sarah,
    Assuming that we soak the lentils in apple cider vinegar for the necessary amount of time, if we pressure cook them, how can we get the scum or impurities out? Will they scum up when you put the pressure-cooked lentils in the pot with the veggies?
    Thanks for your time,

  14. I’m assuming curry powder will work just fine instead of paste. The lentils are soaking now! Thanks for the idea. I LOVE your blog! (and I follow quite a few real food blogs, so I’d like to think that means you’re extra special. :) )

  15. Wonderful video Sarah! My daughter and I enjoy it and many others greatly. Hoping for more videos from you as they help us to see how these cooking methods are done. You inspire me to keep going!!!

  16. Hi Olga, I use plastic half gallon containers for freezing soups and stocks. If they aren’t heated put in the dishwasher, or scratched with metal utensils (I use wood utensils when dealing with plastic containers) then any leeching of the plastic is greatly minimized or even eliminated. Glass mason jars work great too, but you have to be careful to leave enough room at the top or the glass will crack.

  17. Hi Sarah,
    great video! I can’t wait to try this soup. Sarah, what kind of containers are best for freezing? I usually use plastic, just because I can’t find an alternative.

    Thank you,

  18. Thanks for the recipe for soup! It has been cold lately, and soup is great on chilly days :)
    We have had a lot of red beans lately served with rice-very filling and very cheap to make! Thanks again.

    • Sarah – I had a similar question and did a search on your website for “pressure cooker”. I’m a bit confused since you advised against it, per Nourishing Traditions, in response to questions on other blog posts. Is the recommendation food specific? I used my electric pressure cooker to make stocks and cook various legumes. Thank you for answering my question.

  19. Hi Sarah,
    When you are referring to lentils as being low in phytic acid does that also include all the similarly shaped/size “dahl” available in Indian grocery stores? They sell the red dahl (masoor) there as well as mung dahl and several other white colored dahls. What about split peas, are they also low in phytic acid?


  20. Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist December 8, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Everyone, the video is now public. I forgot to change the private setting. Sorry! All should be ok now.

  21. Sarah, What do you think about cooking lentils and beans in a pressure cooker? Or using a pressure cooker to prepare any kind of foods? I have an electric one and I love it because it can cook dried beans and lentils so fast. Do you think it takes the vitamins out of things more than regular cooking methods?


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