Lentils are a type of legume that is rich in fiber, protein, and iron.
They make for a great lunch or dinner because they take less time to cook than other types of beans.
If you find yourself with leftover lentils, don’t worry.
You have plenty of ways to reheat them without ruining their nutrient content.
We will go over the top four different methods for reheating your lentils below.
What are Lentils?
Lentils are a type of legume that come in many colors, shapes, and sizes.
They can be found dried or canned, making them convenient to keep on hand for easy weeknight dinners.
Lentils are full of protein and fiber, making them an excellent choice for a nutritious diet.
They contain folate, which is a vitamin important for pregnant women and their babies to have.
Lentils are also high in potassium, iron, phosphorus, and thiamin, making them good for people who need more energy or healthier overall.
Lentils are also versatile enough to be used in many different recipes.
They are significantly less expensive than meat and make a great substitute for those who want to cut back on their red meat consumption or need more ways of getting protein into their diet.
The many benefits of lentils make them a wonderful addition to any meal.
Lentils are inexpensive and easy to find in stores, but ethnic specialty markets often have lower prices due to the lower overhead costs.
Can You Eat Leftover Lentils?
It’s convenient to cook up a batch of lentils in bulk for various meals, but it also means you end up with leftover cooked lentils.
So can you eat leftover lentils? The answer is yes.
Leftover cooked lentils can be eaten cold, or they may also be warmed up and served with various dishes.
The best way to store them in the fridge for later use is by placing them on a plate covered with plastic wrap or tin foil, which will keep their moisture from escaping and helps prevent freezer burn.
They should be ready to eat within three days, but if you start feeling like the dish isn’t going to taste good after this time, then it’s probably not worth eating anyway.
You can even freeze your leftover cooked lentils so that you’ll always have dinner waiting for when you are craving something quick and healthy.
You can freeze them in an airtight container or sealable freezer bag.
To keep in mind, although you may be able to eat leftover cooked lentils, they probably won’t taste as fresh and flavorful the next time around if they’re reheated more than one day after cooking.
How to Soften Lentils Quickly?
Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber. They’re also delicious, but sometimes they can be too hard to eat.
To save time, you can soak lentils in hot or cold water before cooking.
They cook quicker than you think, and it cuts cooking time in half.
A few varieties are available, including green, brown, puy, split red, and yellow, which have different capacities for softening when soaked.
Adjusting the amount of soaking according to the type of lentils will help you cook them quickly with little effort required.
Here’s how to soften them quickly:
- Put the lentils in a pot and cover them with water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn off the heat and let it soak for 20 minutes or so until they soften.
- After soaking time is up, rinse the lentils in cool water, and they’re ready to use.
- Do this 2 or 3 times if needed.
How to Store Cooked Lentils?
Lentil storage is an important topic because these legumes degrade faster than other foods, especially when stored at room temperature.
In general, cooked dry beans should be refrigerated in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and kept for up to 4 days.
This will keep them from drying out too much while still keeping their nutrients intact.
This includes canned lentils, too.
You can tell they are spoiled if their smell changed significantly from its original state when you opened the product or if there is evidence of molding on the surface.
The best place to store your cans of lentils then would be your pantry shelving, where it stays cool enough to prevent spoilage.
If you don’t want your cooked lentils to go bad before you use them up, freezing them is another option that allows you to store them for months.
The downside is that they may not taste as fresh, and you’ll have to cook them from frozen when you’re ready to use them again.
How to Tell if Leftover Lentils are Bad?
We all know that leftovers can be a lifesaver for busy days.
But have you ever wondered how to tell if your leftover lentils are bad? The first thing you need to do is smell them.
If your lentils smell like sulfur or are not as fresh, they may be bad and should be thrown away.
The next thing to do is check if there’s any mold present on the dish’s surface.
Mold will either look green or blue-ish in color when it grows on food.
Again, this might mean that your leftovers are spoiled, so discard them immediately.
Lastly, but most importantly, we have to check the texture of your lentils.
If they are slimy, mushy, or soggy, they likely have gone bad, and you should not eat them.
If the lentils sit in the fridge too long or get freezer burnt, they are also likely to be bad.
Can You Reheat Cooked Lentils Twice?
It’s no secret that cooking lentils from scratch can be a time-consuming process.
However, the good news is that you can cook them ahead of time and then reheat them in a pinch when you need to.
The question is, how many times can you reheat cooked lentils before they lose their texture and flavor?
It is possible to reheat cooked lentils for a second time within the hour.
However, after this, the texture and taste of the food begin to deteriorate.
You may be better off cooking fresh lentils for this second reheating.
The Best Way to Reheat Lentils
The best way to reheat lentils is also one of the easiest.
If you’re reheating a small amount, place them in a bowl of warm water for five minutes and then empty the water with some cold added.
This should keep your food at an edible temperature for up to two hours without any loss in texture or flavor.
Put the lentils in a bowl and pour in a cup of boiling water.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to sit for five minutes or until you’re ready to eat.
Then add your cooked lentils to other dishes you’re preparing.
How to Reheat Lentils on a Stovetop?
Lentils are an excellent source of protein, and they’re also easy to cook.
Keep in mind that lentils tend to overcook easily, so make sure to cook them only until they are tender and not mushy.
If you have leftover lentils that need reheating, here’s how to do it on the stovetop:
- Put the leftover lentils in a saucepan with water.
- Bring to simmer over medium heat until hot, adding more water if necessary (reheat for about 10 minutes).
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
The more water you add when reheating, the thinner your lentils will be.
You can also use some canned vegetable broth for an even richer flavor and texture.
How to Reheat Lentils in a Microwave?
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to reheat lentils, your best bet is the microwave.
Here are three things to keep in mind when reheating lentils in the microwave:
- When microwaving, always cover your dish with a lid or vented plastic wrap. This will help keep the heat in and maintain moisture to prevent overcooking.
- Be sure not to cook lentils for more than two minutes as they can turn tough quickly when cooked this way.
- After you’ve heated them, add some of your favorite fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or carrots.
Follow these steps to reheat:
- Place your lentils in a microwave-safe dish.
- Cover and microwave on high for one to two minutes or until hot, stirring halfway through cooking time. This will allow the lentils to heat evenly and prevent drying out.
- Serve immediately.
What to Do with Leftover Lentils?
Lentils are a delicious, healthy, and versatile food.
You can use them in many different dishes, including soups, salads, and even desserts.
But what do you do with leftovers? Here are some ideas on how to turn your lentils into something new:
- Salad: Add chopped lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and thinly sliced red onion to your lentils. Drizzle with a vinaigrette dressing or mayonnaise for added flavor. Add in some bacon bits if you want a meaty texture.
- Lentil Soup with Vegetables: In a pot on the stovetop, heat vegetable broth (or chicken stock) and stir in chopped carrot sticks, celery stalks, diced tomatoes, salt & pepper until it comes to a boil. Then add cooked lentils before turning down the heat and simmering for about 20 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add in kale or spinach and chopped onion before serving for extra flavor.
- Lentil Pie: In a bowl, mix cooked lentils, eggs, flour, milk (or soy), salt & pepper until it resembles the consistency of pancake batter. Pour into a pie dish lined with parchment paper and bake 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a top rack for about 30 minutes. Serve as is or with your favorite salad toppings like croutons and chopped onion.
- Lentil Tacos: Fill hard taco shells with cooked lentils, lettuce/spinach leaves, diced onions (or pickled), sliced avocado, salsa verde, and shredded cheese. Serve them up either warm or cold.
The rise in popularity of plant-based recipes has led to the increased consumption and use of lentils.
Lentils can be used as a meat substitute or added into salads for some extra flavor, even if you are not vegan or vegetarian.
With these three methods for reheating lentils, we hope you’ll never have to throw away a batch of this delicious and healthy legume again.
Let us know what other methods work best for you by leaving comments below.