Budget-friendly Lentils with Tomato and Cumin

A photo of cooked lentils with diced tomatoes and ground cumin


  • 1 12oz package of dried lentils
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 can (14.5oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 4-6 Tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon of crushed red pepper (optional – if you’d like to add a little spicy heat)


You’ll need a large pot and a strainer.

This budget-friendly version came from my blog post.

First, you’ll want to pour the bag of dried lentils into your strainer and rinse them really good (and pick out any non-lentil material). Unlike dried beans, you do not need to soak lentils before cooking. Add the 4 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add in the lentils, the can of diced tomatoes and the dried cumin (and crushed red pepper if you’re doing that). Turn the heat down to medium or medium-low so that the lentils are simmering. Set a timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, taste-test some lentils. They should be soft and tender. If they’re still crunchy at all, cook an additional 5 minutes and repeat the taste-test. If there’s any water left over after the lentils are tender, strain them. If you wish to add salt to your lentils, do so after they’re done cooking.

This makes about 4 servings (and works for meal prep as they can be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days or frozen for up to 6 months).

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