You may have spent quite some time cooking a delectable lentil dish, maybe a soup or a curry, and served it at lunch. Now imagine a scenario where your kids don’t want to finish that at once; they want it in the next meal! Or, there could be an instance where you’ve simply cooked plenty of lentils since it’s perfect for batch cooking.
In both instances, you’ll have a big amount of left-over lentils, and you’ll most likely be storing them in the fridge for future meals. But that will require you to reheat the lentils. Now you wonder whether you can reheat lentils as many think reheating lentils isn’t good for your health.
Is this a legit perception? Or just a myth? If it’s just a myth, how you can conveniently reheat your lentils. But if there are really any disadvantages, we’ll also cover that. So let's start!
Can You Reheat Lentils? The Complete Guide Explained
If you’re wondering whether you can or can’t reheat lentils, the answer is Yes, you can. Some think that reheating the lentils create health issues. Although there are some negative aspects of reheating, they are nowhere near the significance level that can cause any health issues.
Rehearing foods are often linked to bacterial contamination that can harm one’s health. But, reheating isn’t the root cause of this contamination; it rather happens due to the wrong way of storing it.
So you can make yourself clear that it’s ok to reheat lentils, and there are some simple and effective ways to do that. The most common ways or methods to reheat lentils include the followings:
- Microwaving the lentils
- Using the stove to reheat the lentils
How To Reheat Lentils in Different Methods
Both these methods should take around 5 minutes to complete rewarming and serving. To know more about these methods, check them out in detail below.
1. Reheat Lentils In Microwave
A microwave is always the best bet to reheat lentils like it’s for most other dishes. This method also works best if you’ve mixed other ingredients with the lentils.
How can you conveniently reheat lentils in the Microwave? Check out the steps below.
- Place Into the Microwave: Transfer the lentils into a microwave-safe container and place the container in the microwave.
- Cover Properly: Make sure to cover it with an appropriately vented lid or splatter guard. It’ll help you avoid spills while retaining the heat and moisture to stop overcooking.
- Warm with Microwave: Warm the lentils for 60 seconds and thoroughly stir them to distribute the heat evenly.
- Repeat: You’ve to heat the lentils for 60 more seconds and repeat the process until the lentils reach the desired temperature.
- Serve: You can serve the lentils alongside a chosen accompaniment after its steaming.
Warm Lentils On The Stove
If you’re the one who avoids microwaving foods, you can use the stove to reheat lentils. In this case, you may be either reheating the plain lentils or lentils in a sauce. Let’s look at how you can deal with both these instances.
Plain Lentils Warming Process
To reheat plain lentils on the stove, follow the steps below.
- Cover Lentils with Cold Water: Fill an appropriately sized pot or pan to half with cold water. Then transfer the lentils to it.
- Bring Water to Boil: Ignite your stove and bring the water to boil over medium heat. It should take you around 5 minutes. Make sure you don’t leave them in the boiled water for longer than required to avoid overcooking.
- Remove the Pot Once Done: When the water starts to boil, you should see all your lentils are thoroughly warmed. Remove the pan or pot from the heat right away.
- Drain Water and Serve: Once you remove the pot, immediately drain the water and serve to enjoy.
Reheat Lentils in Sauce
If you’ve lentils soaked in a sauce, you can reheat them in the following way.
- Transfer Lentils Into the Pan: To reheat lentils in a sauce, you’ve to place the lentils in the pot directly without requiring any water.
- Ignite Stove and Place Over Medium Heat: Ignite your stove and place the pan having lentils over medium heat.
- Simmer the Lentils: Now, get your sauce to simmer for about 5 minutes and not more than that. If the sauce splashes or splatters, you can slightly reduce the heat. Stir the lentils thoroughly while reheating them. Otherwise, they could stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Serve When Done: Once the lentils become piping hot and you see them steaming, get ready to serve them at the lunch or dinner table.
Is It Safe To Reheat Lentils More Than Once?
Experts suggest reheating food once, but if you’ve to reheat more than once, you need to follow some protocols regarding maintenance and warming.
So if you’ve stored the lentils properly, following all the rules, there’s nothing wrong with reheating them more than once. And it’s safe as well. But that doesn’t mean you should do it day after day.
We understand you cook them in bulk but make sure to finish them within a few days since it’s not recommended to reheat leftover cooked food for any prolonged time.
Generally, reheating leftovers can pave the way for bacteria growth. Still, we’re saying reheating lentils is safe because they pose an insignificant inherent risk of causing health issues like food poisoning if stored in the freezer with an air-tight container at the right temperature.
You should always ensure your cooked lentils aren’t exposed to air for a long time and haven’t been contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. If you’ve stored and maintained it in a way that it’s not exposed to the air or doesn’t become freezer burn, it should be completely fine to reheat lentils more than once.
Can You Refrigerate Cooked Lentils?
Refrigerating cooked lentils is a great idea to store them. You can refrigerate them for up to 1 week. But make sure to use a covered air-tight container or resealable poly bags that are made to refrigerate food. Also, label the container with the date so that you know its expiry period.
If you want to store the cooked lentils for a long time, you’ll have to store them in the freezer at 0F temperature. You can have them frozen in an appropriate shallow air-tight container or storable plastic bags for up to 6 months.
Every time you bring the cooked lentils out of the fridge or freezer for use, make sure to put them back on the respective unit within two hours. It’ll help you maintain the shelflife mentioned above of cooked lentils. Never leave cooked lentils out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Does Reheating Lentils Cause Food Poisoning?
No, reheating lentils that are stored properly and not exposed to air for a long time will surely not cause food poisoning. Food poisoning is generally caused by food that’s contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. So if you’ve maintained all the storage protocols for your lentils, they shouldn’t be contaminated, hence not causing food poisoning.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Re-Warming Lentils
Reheating lentils has both its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s have a look at both these aspects here.
Talking about the advantage first, reheating can help you avoid wasting food or tossing out extra food. If you’ve cooked them in batches, you can easily create a make-ahead lunch or dinner for your kids who aren’t patient enough to sit at the dining table.
The reheating methods are fairly simple and quick; even your teen can go ahead with it. Reheating doesn’t play with the taste or flavor of the cooked lentils, so they should remain as good as your lentils eggs.
Reheating the leftover lentils can help you grab them on the go, especially if you’re in a rush of going out. So seeing all these advantages, you should feel like it’s worth reheating the lentils.
Reheating food can have its own disadvantage. Firstly, it loses nutritional value. As you know, lentils are high in fiber and protein, close to neutral pH, and low in fat. But when you cook it and reheat it more than once, it starts losing its nutritional value.
Besides nutritional factors, reheating can also impact the taste of your lentils if the procedures aren’t followed correctly.
The next one is that lentils can pop or spill when reheated in the microwave, messing things up. But you shove cover it up properly when placing it in the microwave.
Like other food, freezing the lentils for too much prolonged time can result in your dish experiencing freezer burn, a condition when your cooked lentils will lose all their moisture and cause dry spots. As a result, the quality of the food can badly be affected.
Tips To Consider When Reheating It
We’ve talked about a few things you should consider while reheating lentils. But there are some more tips to consider. Let’s take a look at a few of these below.
For Storing Correctly
- Choose a shallow air-tight container as this will maximize the shelf life.
- Don’t store it with an unwrapped raw food item like raw chicken or meat.
- To avoid freezer burn, always use freezer-safe containers to store the lentils and freeze them in small batches.
For Reheating Correctly
- If you reheat lentils from frozen, you’ve to soak them in hot water to defrost them. It’ll require you to drain and add water frequently as the water could cool down quickly.
- You can also run the hot water tap over the lentils until they’re thawed (if they aren’t mixed with other ingredients). Defrosting is also necessary because if there’s ice crystal left on the lentils, they can go mushy while reheating.
- Be careful about maintaining the warming time in both microwave and stovetop to avoid overcooking. Also, remember to cover it with a vented lid while warming up for a clean reheating mission.
- Now the last tip when you serve after reheating. To make it taste, look, and smell fresh, you can add some spices or herbs to the dish. So it won’t look bland and have an exciting taste to offer.
Can you reheat lentils? Yes, you absolutely can. The cousin to nuts and beans and an alternative to meat is well worth reheating as well as consuming over and over again.
All you need is systematic maintenance and reheating, which we’ve talked about throughout this article.
If you follow the protocols regarding its storage and reheating methods as discussed in the article, you’d never throw away a single batch of this delicious legume again.
Besides, it’ll ensure that reheated lentils don’t pose any threat to your health, rather benefits you in terms of saving your time and money.
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