Your guide to cooking lentils and chickpeas at home
There are many benefits to plant–based eating, and chickpeas and lentils are two powerhouse proteins which are key to many vegetarian and vegan recipes.
Packed with nutrients, folate, fibre and protein, learning how to cook lentils and chickpeas opens the door to an array of healthy recipes. And with almost endless flavour combinations, there are meals suitable for every season. Think: fresh summer salads, punchy autumn curries, crunchy spring fritters and hearty winter soups.
Different recipes call for slightly altered consistencies that are essential to get right, so how do you cook them perfectly every time?
We’ve created a guide that explores into the different lentil varieties, guides you through the best technique for cooking lentils and chickpeas, and yummy serving suggestions.
How to cook lentils
Lentil varieties and ideal cooking time
Here are different lentil varieties their cooking times, serving suggestions and flavour
- Green and brown lentils: Perfect in soup or stew. Cooking time: 25 minutes.
- French style green lentils: Hold their shape, perfect for salads, sides and pasta (cooking time: 20 minutes).
- Persian red lentils: Cook the fastest out of the varieties, soft consistency, good to use in soups and spreads. Cooking time: 15 minutes.
- Beluga black lentils: Hold their shape when cooked, best used in salads and dips. Cooking time: 25 minutes.
Cooking lentils on the stove: Method
Note: Dried out lentil varieties don’t need to be soaked. 1 cup of dried lentils yields 2 1/2 cups of cooked lentils. Serving size per person is ¼ cup.
Step 1. Rinse a cup of dried lentils with water in a sieve.
Step 2. Add lentils to a pot and cover with water, season with a pinch of premium pink lake salt (optional) and bring the lentils to a boil.
Step 3. Reduce to a low simmer and cover. Cook time varies depending on the lentil variety as mentioned above.
Step 4: Drain lentils and use them in your favourite dishes.
Hint: Try our roast pumpkin, olives, radicchio, quinoa and green lentils recipe using our French Style Green Lentils.
How to cook chickpeas
Dried chickpeas require soaking before they can be cooked. Note: aim to soak the chickpeas in water four times the volume of the chickpeas. They will expand.
We recommend soaking them overnight in a pot full of cold water. However, if you’re short on time, bring your chickpeas to boil in a pot of cold water, boil for 1 minute, take off heat and allow to soak for 1 hour.
Cooking chickpeas on the stove: Method
Note: 1 cup of dried chickpeas yields 3 cups of cooked chickpeas. Serving size per person is ¼ cup.
Step 1. Soak a cup of chickpeas in cold water overnight (or use the method outlined above to speed up the process).
Step 2. Drain your soaked chickpeas into a pot, cover them in cold water (two times the volume of the chickpeas).
Step 3. Bring the water to a boil, then bring down to a medium heat and simmer the chickpeas for 35 to 45 minutes (for salads and sides), or 45 minutes to 1 hour (for hummus and soups). Cook until desired consistency is reached, and your chickpeas are ready to be used in all your favourite recipes.
Hint: Try Afik Gal’s Hummus recipe using our Organic Australia Chickpeas.
Cooking tips and tricks and serving suggestions
- Add flavour to your lentils and chickpeas by cooking them in vegetable broth instead of water.
- After cooking lentils, toss them in premium extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and finely chopped herbs for added flavour.
- When cooking chickpeas on the stove, leave the lid ajar during its simmer for softer chickpeas (for hummus) and simmer with the lid off for firmer chickpeas that hold their shape (for salads and sides).
- Add garlic or bay leaves to the simmering pot of chickpeas for extra flavour.
Chickpea and lentils recipes
Now that you’ve achieved perfectly cooked lentils and chickpeas, why not try them together in our french green lentil and chickpea salad recipe, paired with a mint and lemon juice dressing.
With top tier nutritional value and endless flavour pairings, dried lentils and chickpeas make ideal accompaniments to have on hand in your pantry. And with plenty of options for recipes and meal ideas, adding plant-based ingredients to your diet has never been easier.
Check out more incredible recipes and serving suggestions here.