I've been loving lentils for a long time! And I usually find that people either love them or hate them. It's kind of become my personal mission to change those lentil haters into lovers. One way to do that is to use the correct lentil for the job, and it doesn't hurt to make them crispy. Beyond that, you'll learn why certain lentils are better than others at getting them crispy. Let's make some crispy lentils!
Lentils are part of the legume family, just like beans. But, unlike beans which take a lot longer to cook (and require soaking), lentils are wayyyy easier. You don't need to soak them, and they cook in about 25 minutes or less. I think the reason that a lot of people say they don't like lentils is because they weren't using the right one for the job. Depending on what it is you're cooking and the texture you're after, the lentil you use will vary.
Check out some of my other lentil dishes like this Instant Pot sausage, kale and lentil soup, or this French Lentil and Kale Salad with Spiced Almonds. Or try this farro and lentil risotto for a high fibre risotto option with lots of mushrooms.
Use these when you're wanting to make a soup or stew. They split and fall apart after cooking and so they work best when you want a softer texture. These are typically the most commonly used lentils and the ones you find in stores the most.
These lentils are most commonly used in Indian curry recipes, such as daal. They turn soft as well and you can cook them in about 20 minutes. I love using red lentils when I make soups and also in dips (instead of chickpeas). Lentil hummus anyone?!
My personal favourite lentil. These lentils are much firmer, as they hold their shape due to the thicker skin on them. Because they retain their shape, they have a more crunchy texture and are fantastic for salads. They do take a little longer to cook, usually about 25 minutes.
Just like the French lentil, these also hold up and retain their shape amazingly well. This makes them ideal for salads as well. They can be harder to find, but if you do, I highly suggest picking some up.
In order to make crispy lentils, you want to use ones that won't turn soft. So for that reason, be sure to use either French lentils or black beluga lentils. Both of these are much sturdier and will cook and still hold their shape. Winner, winner, crispy lentils for dinner!
Cooking lentils on the stove is quite easy! Just follow the steps below to ensure perfectly cooked lentils each and every time.
Just like any other grain or bean, you'll want to give your lentils a rinse in water first. While you're rinsing them give them a quick look over to see if you need to pick out any shrivelled lentils, or anything that doesn't quite look right. Apparently, you can find little tiny stones in your packaged lentils! I've been eating lentils for a LONG time, and I've personally never encountered this. But it's good practice to pick them over, especially depending on where the lentils are sourced.
Once they're rinsed, go ahead and add them to a pot of salted boiling water.
In a medium sized pot of water add a pinch of kosher salt and the rinsed lentils. I always recommend putting a timer on for 20 minutes so you don't forget about them.
Once the lentils are boiling, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes (depending on the type of lentil you're using). For the French lentils used in these crispy lentils, cook them for about 23 to 25 minutes. Check on them to see if they're done cooking. Depending on how old the lentils are, they can take a bit longer to cook. You want them to still be firm on the outside.
Once your French lentils are done cooking, you're ready to make some crispy lentils. Let's get to it!
Once the lentils have finished cooking, drain the lentils through a sieve to remove any water.
Arrange some paper towels on a plate and add the lentils on top. Gently use another paper towel on top to blot and remove as much water as possible. Be careful not to be too rough, otherwise they can break apart. You want to be sure to get the lentils as dry as possible. This will help to ensure the lentils can get crispy.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. And preheat your oven.
In a medium sized bowl, add the lentils along with some extra virgin olive oil and the spices of your choice. I've included three different spice blend variations for you to choose from! I've come up with a spicy chili, Mediterranean and a simple sea salt version.
Mix to combine with a spoon. Spread them out on the parchment lined pan.
Place them in the oven to bake for about 12 to 13 minutes, then remove. Give them a flip, and return them to the oven to cook for about 12 to 14 minutes longer.
You can use crispy lentils in SO many ways, which is exactly why I love making them! This is also why I'm sharing three different flavor variations too. Depending on what you want to use them for you can choose which flavour is best.
Here are some of the ways I like using crispy lentils:
Crispy lentils will last quite a while in your fridge in a sealed container. You can also store them in a sealed container in your pantry too.
I keep mine in the fridge to ensure they stay fresh, and they should last in there for about one month or so. This is why they're so great to make ahead of time and to make a big batch because they last so long.
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Packed with flavor, protein and crunch, these crispy lentils are the perfect topper to your next meal. Check out three variations to try!
For this recipe, I made 1 cup of dry lentils and divided it into three different flavours and tossed each batch with about 1 1/2 tsp oil and then the spices.