If you're a busy parent trying to find healthy foods that you kids will eat, but don't take forever to cook, lentils are your friend. I only know a few people who don't like lentils and my kids are definitely not on that list.
Unlike other beans, lentils don't need to be soaked prior to cooking, and they cook quickly. Red and orange lentil cook into a soft paste and make a great side dish when spiced with cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper. Green and brown lentils hold their shape and are great for adding to salads or broth soups.
For all types of lentils, one part lentils to two parts water works great. 1 1/4 cups of lentils to 2 1/2 cups water will serve four people, nicely.
Spread the lentils out on a baking sheet and sort through them, removing small rocks and other debris. Transfer them to a colander and r inse them under cold running water. Put them in a pot with the water, add about 1/ 2 teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes. If any scum (shmutz) forms on top, carefully skim it off with a slotted spoon.
Once the water has been absorbed, and the lentils are tender, add spices and additional salt to taste. Stirring in some olive oil (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) at this point will really kick up the flavor an make the texture even more creamy.