Don't Worry About Soaking Lentils For Soup, But Be Sure To Give Them A Rinse

Canned beans are convenient, but making beans from scratch will improve their flavor and the overall quality of any dish you add them to. Dried bean recipes often require an overnight soak to streamline the cooking process, but you don't have to worry about soaking lentils, especially when you're making lentil soup. Lentil varieties abound but the majority of them are small and cook more quickly in comparison to other legumes. While certain recipes might recommend a quick soak to cut the standard 30 to 45-minute cooking time in half, lentil soup will benefit from the full cooking time.

Any soup recipe, whether it's lentil or chicken noodle soup needs time to develop depth of flavor. Allowing lentils to cook from dried along with foundational ingredients like a mirepoix or other aromatics will result in a much more flavorful soup because you've given all of the ingredients time to bloom and blend with the stock.

Soaking may not be beneficial, but rinsing lentils is the first step you should take before adding them to the pot. When lentils and dried beans are harvested and processed, bits of rocks, dust, and dirt often remain even after being run through an industrial sifter. Therefore, sorting through a bag or bowl of dried lentils for stones, and then using a colander or mesh strainer to rinse the lentils will prevent an unpleasant bite of stone or grit.

Types of lentils and lentil soup cooking tips

You'll find numerous types of lentils in the bulk or dried bean section of your local grocery store, each with unique properties that will all work beautifully in soup. Brown lentils are earthy and rich, French and green lentils are peppery, and red and yellow lentils are creamy and buttery.

You can enhance the flavor notes in any type of lentil in soup by creating a flavorful foundation with plenty of herbs, aromatics, and stock. A blend of coconut milk or cream and stock will create a thick and creamy consistency while also adding a nutty and rich complement to the savoriness of the spices and herbs you add.

Because lentils will be submerged in cooking liquid and not drained, chances are they will lose their shape. However, their partial disintegration will create a creamy texture that you can accentuate with the help of a hand emulsifier or the back of a wooden spoon. If you want a textural contrast, use a mirepoix base or add some browned mushrooms to the mix.

Lentils have a meatiness and plenty of protein to be the star of any lentil soup, but they also taste delicious with pork and beef. In Mexico, it's common to poach eggs in the lentil soup as it simmers. If you want to add some brightness to your lentil soup, try adding a splash of apple cider vinegar or garnishing your soup with a bit of lemon zest.