How to Cook Lentils in an Energy-Efficient Pressure Cooker

How to Cook Lentils in an Energy-Efficient Pressure Cooker

How to Cook Lentils in an Energy-Efficient Pressure Cooker

Introduction

I absolutely love lentils. They are nutritious, budget-friendly, and incredibly versatile. However, cooking them can be time consuming on the stovetop. That’s why I started using a pressure cooker – it cuts the cooking time in half! As an eco-conscious cook, I want to make sure I’m using my appliances efficiently. Here’s how I cook lentils in my pressure cooker in an energy-efficient way.

Selecting the Right Lentil Variety

Not all lentils are created equal when it comes to cook times. Here are some cooking tips for popular lentil varieties:

  • Red lentils cook the quickest, in just 10-15 minutes. They break down and get soft and mushy when cooked. Best for soups and purees.

  • Green lentils take 15-20 minutes to cook. They hold their shape well and have a firm texture. Great in salads, sides, and entrees.

  • Brown lentils take around 30 minutes to cook. Their nutty flavor stands up well in dishes like lentil loaf or tacos.

  • Black lentils take the longest at around 45 minutes. But their deep, earthy flavor is worth the wait! Use in hearty stews and braises.

So be sure to select the right lentil for your cooking time needs. Quick cooking red lentils are best for time-saving pressure cooker meals.

Presoaking

Presoaking lentils in water for a few hours before pressure cooking can help reduce cooking time, but is not required.

I tend to skip the presoak for red and green lentils since they cook relatively quickly anyway.

For brown and black lentils, an overnight presoak in water in the fridge can shave off 10-15 minutes of pressure cooking time. This helps make cooking them more energy efficient.

Using the Right Amount of Water

Using the correct water-to-lentil ratio is important for even cooking. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Red lentils: 2 cups water per 1 cup lentils
  • Green/brown lentils: 3 cups water per 1 cup lentils
  • Black lentils: 4 cups water per 1 cup lentils

You may need to adjust the amount of water depending on how al dente you like your lentils. Using too much water can increase cook time and energy use.

Pressure Cooker Settings

Here are the basic pressure cooker settings I use for cooking lentils:

  • Pressure: High pressure
  • Time: Natural pressure release after cooking time is complete
  • Red lentils: 6 minutes
  • Green lentils: 10 minutes
  • Brown lentils: 22 minutes
  • Black lentils: 30-40 minutes

The natural pressure release allows the pressure to come down slowly and helps ensure even cooking. Avoid quick releasing the pressure which can cause lentils to blow out.

Finishing Touches

After pressure cooking, I like to finish lentils with a few simple touches:

  • Drain any excess water to prevent sogginess.
  • Toss with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper for flavor.
  • Stir in aromatics like garlic, onions, herbs, or spices.
  • For creamier lentils, blend in a bit of broth after cooking.

This helps enhance the flavor of the lentils without requiring too much extra cooking time.

Serving Suggestions

Here are some of my favorite energy-efficient ways to use pressure cooked lentils:

  • Lentil soup – Puree red lentils with broth and aromatics.

  • Lentil salad – Toss green lentils with veggies, feta, and vinaigrette.

  • Lentil tacos – Mix brown lentils with taco seasoning and pile into tortillas or taco salad.

  • Lentil curry – Simmer black lentils in coconut milk curry sauce with veggies.

The options are endless for turning simple pressure cooked lentils into delicious, nutritious meals!

Key Takeaways

  • Select quicker cooking lentil varieties like red and green lentils to maximize efficiency.

  • Presoak brown and black lentils to decrease cook time.

  • Use the correct water-to-lentil ratio for even cooking.

  • Pressure cook on high with a natural release.

  • Finish with herbs, spices, broth, and aromatics for extra flavor.

  • Incorporate lentils into soups, salads, tacos, curries, and more!

Following these tips will help you get tasty, homemade lentils on the table fast, while still conserving energy. Pressure cooking is a busy home cook’s secret weapon for serving nourishing plant-based meals any night of the week. Let me know if you have any other lentil pressure cooking tips!