Do Tomatoes Prevent Lentils From Cooking?

Do Tomatoes Prevent Lentils From Cooking?

Are you familiar with eating lentils? Lentils are plant-based proteins, that are high in fiber, and an inexpensive source of protein that should be added to our daily diets.

Although not many are familiar with eating them, and it is not considered basic food either, lentils can be paired with soups, eating either hot or cold as a main or side dish. They are popularly eaten in the Middle Eastern, French, or Indian cuisines.

Do tomatoes prevent lentils from cooking? Lentils do not generally pair well with salt or any acidic ingredient, thus if it is mixed with tomatoes or canned tomato sauce, the lentils won’t cook. Tomatoes especially canned ones or tomato sauces are generally mixed with salt or salt preservatives.

Lentils are classified under the category of food called “Pulses”, which includes foods like peas and beans too. Although they look similar to beans, there’s a difference in taste and there are also various types of lentils too.

Lentils seem to look similar in color but can still be differentiated as there are red lentils or brown ones. In many cases, they can be differentiated by size too.

Lentils are a yummy alternative for meats or any protein and are regularly recommended to vegetarians, read along if you are curious about lentils, how to properly cook and store them, and their health benefits.

Do Tomatoes Prevent Lentils From Cooking?

Source: Plant-based

Lentils are a good way to compliment your dish, as they are rich in fiber and high protein. They have a nutty, rich, and tasteful flavor that goes well with the right seasoning. Yes, just like beans or peas they vary in color and size too, but the brown lentils are the most commonly used and least expensive out of the bunch.

Other colors of lentils in the market include; green, red, orange, black or white, although the French green lentils cost about 3 times higher than the brown ones.

Lentils should be properly stored in an airtight container, so they last for about 12 months, they should be kept in a cool dry place, and it is advised not to refrigerate them. If you bought different lentils to stock them, they should also be stored separately, thus storing only the same type of lentils together.

The different types of lentils require a separate time or tone of cooking, so it’s best to cook the same type of lentils together.

Lastly, when you are done cooking your lentils, they should be covered, stored in the refrigerator, and should be eaten within 3 to 4 days. Lentils do not need to be soaked beforehand or before cooking, and you can simply cook/boil lentils in water or soup stock and eat them as a main or side dish.

Cooking Lentils With Tomatoes

Lentils are versatile and can be cooked and paired with various dishes to add a healthy spice or flavorful taste to your meal. You can cook your lentils on a stovetop, or you can pressure-cook them, both methods would give an equal result.

Do tomatoes prevent lentils from cooking? Generally, it is best to pre-cook your lentils first before adding any sauce, tomatoes, or seasoning to the dish. In case you are wondering how to rightly pair a can of tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes to garnish or add flavor to your lentil dish.

Then continue reading, for some tips on how to rightly cook lentils with tomatoes.

IngredientsSteps or Directions to Cooking
WaterStart boiling water in a pot
Dry LentilsStir in your measuring cup of lentils
Tablespoons of Olive OilReduce heat and let the lentils simmer for about 20 minutes and then drain water.
Chopped green bell pepper and OnionsPour the olive oil into a pan over medium heat
Chopped tomatoesStir and sauté the green bell pepper and onions until tender and nice.
Pepper and Salt (to taste)Mix in the tomatoes, then season with salt, pepper, and other preferred seasonings.
 Stir your lentils into the sauce, reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, until lentils are soft for eating.

Tips on Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Lentils

Are you new to cooking with lentils? Or you are curious about highly rated lentils recipes to add to your meal plan. Then this article would be suggesting some amazing lentils recipes try out. These recipes are also vegan friendly, and they include Lentil bolognese.

Roasted steaks with black caviar lentils, Celery lentil salad with dates, Shepherds pie with lentils, Lentil salad, Lentils with soup and rice, Lentil salad with yogurt and mint, Lentils with tomato sauce and mashed potatoes. Lentils can be added to pastry or burgers.

Lentils are enjoyable when cooked properly and the result is not mushy or soggy, thus these are some tips on mistakes to avoid when cooking your lentils.

  • Always buy the freshest lentils in the store, as older lentils take a longer time to cook and easily sheds skin when cooking. It is better to buy bulk bins than the lentils stored in boxes or bags on the shelf of the store.
  • Give your lentils a good rinse and sift through the measuring cup to remove stones or debris before cooking.
  • Try adding aromatics to the pot of boiling water before cooking lentils. Garlic, onions, and bay leaves are good aromatics to add or even stock to the boiling water.
  • Cooking your lentils on a rapid simmer could shed off the skin of the lentils, instead, you can start cooking your lentils on high heat, but reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow them to softly cook through for about 20 minutes.
  • It is advised not to firstly add seasoning, salts, or acidic ingredients when cooking lentils, it is better paired after the lentils are pre-cooked, or it can be stirred into the lentils to add flavor and to allow the lentils to cook properly.

Health Benefits of Eating Lentils

Although eating lentils could lead to gas or indigestion, that majorly happens when the lentils are not cooked properly or paired rightly with a side dish.

Asides from that, Lentils are packed with many health benefits, and they would be listed below:

  • Rich in Fiber
  • High in Proteins 
  • Lowers Cholesterol and is good for your heart
  • Rich in minerals and nutrients as it is plant-based
  • High in iron and magnesium
  • Helps prevent diabetes, and lowers fat
  • Stabilizes the blood sugar and blood level in your body
  • Helps with weight loss, and maintaining your diet, and is vegan-friendly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my lentils not cooking?

They are not cooking, generally because you bought an old bunch of lentils which take a longer time to cook or do not cook at all. Also, adding salt, seasonings, or acidic ingredients when cooking your lentils is not helpful.

How do you soften lentils before cooking them?

You can soften your lentils by rinsing them and soaking them in water before you cook them. But the best way to soften your lentils is by cooking them under medium heat for about 30 minutes.

How do you keep lentils from getting mushy?

Start by boiling your water, then gently stir your lentils into the boiling water. Cook your lentils in medium heat for about 25 to 30 minutes, this helps them not overcook or become mushy.

How long do dried lentils take to cook?

Lentils should take about 25 to 30 minutes to cook when properly monitored under medium heat. Do not cook your entire lentils on quick simmer or high heat for they would quickly turn mushy or overcook.


Lentils are plant-based proteins that contain fiber, iron, vitamins, and a rich nutty flavor to them that compliment your dish. Lentils are vegan friendly or can be used as a protein substitute when on a diet, and it’s best enjoyed when bought fresh and should not be entirely cooked on a high simmer.

Eating lentils for the first time may taste foreign, but you become accustomed to the taste after regular intake.

Lastly, lentils give a better aroma or taste when boiled with aromatics like garlic, onions, bay leaves, rosemary, or stock.

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