I love using lentils in our meals – be it at home or on the trail. They are easy to use, pack well and last for a long time. The key of course for outdoor meals is to use cooked and dehydrated lentils. Unless you are rolling old-school style and cook over a fire, spending 20-30 minutes cooking lentils from raw is not worth the time. You would blast through a lot of fuel where as with ‘ready to go’ dehydrated you use them in a similar fashion to cooked and dehydrated vegetables, pasta, rice, etc. They only need a quick soaking in hot or cold water and are ready to eat.
While you can readily buy cooked and dehydrated lentils online from Harmony House Foods and Packitgourmet not everyone has the time or desire to shop online. Especially if all they want is a small amount for a couple meals. Dehydrating lentils at home is easy, a great starter project. You can do it in a dehydrator or oven, just use parchment paper under as lentils are tiny. Check out Dehydrator 101 for how-to and tips on getting started and the section on legumes. With lentils you can follow the general directions for canned beans but check on them earlier and more often, they will dry faster due to their tiny size. Now though, back to the whole process of cooking them. Yes, you can go buy whatever color suits your fancy (I happen to love french green lentils for example) and cook them up, then dehydrate them. But again, if you are pressed for time and have few kitchen skills (or can’t stand the stinky odor of lentils/beans cooking….gag, I know I don’t!!) you can cheat and use canned lentils. Canned lentils are not well known but should be! There are two brands worth checking out:
Eden Organic Lentils
If you are like us and do a lot of shopping via Amazon you can get great deals on 12 can cases (hello Prime shipping for heavy boxes!). If you search in local stores you may find them hidden in the natural foods section. On average though the price on Amazon is nearly half of what it is in stores. And did I mention they are great for meals at home? Easy and cheap heart healthy protein!
Lemony Lentils with Tuna Fillets is a great no-cook recipe: