Moroccan Braised Lentils

The first few times I tried to make lentils, I made the mistake of cooking them in the rice cooker. They came out as one big pile of flavorless, sandy-textured mush. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that I didn’t think I liked lentils and thereafter avoided cooking with them.


Until I made lentil gratin, which I just can’t stop thinking about. Now, lentils are quickly becoming one of my favorite ingredients.

And what’s not to love? They are easy to make (if you skip the rice cooker), full of protein and amino acids, and contain plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

For the record, I have also decided that it is just as easy (and sometimes even faster) to make rice on the stovetop, so the rice cooker has been pushed to the back of my appliance shelves. Anybody want a rice cooker?

This time around, I decided to braise the lentils by first toasting them with the garlic and onions, then simmering them in a combination of stock and warm spices like anise and cumin.


Moroccan Braised Lentils

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Moroccan Braised Lentils

If you'd like, add some chopped seasonal vegetables when you add the stock for an even heartier entree. I recommend zucchini, broccoli, carrots or winter squash.


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red peppers


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.
  2. Add the lentils and stir to coat with the oil. Cook for another 8-10 minutes, stirring often, to toast the lentils.
  3. Stir in the stock and spices, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Cook until most of the stock has been absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.


  1. says

    I’ve always thought rice cookers seemed kind of pointless. I mean how difficult is it really to make rice yourself!?
    anything I’ve made with lentils in the past does tend to get mushy. I’m definitely going to try toasting them like this next.

  2. says

    I love lentils! I was just thinking about trying to make them in the rice cooker for the very first time, but now you’re scaring me! I was going to mix them in with my rice. I suppose I could always use stock instead of water in the rice cooker as well. Why do you think they didn’t come out as good?

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      My rice cooker has a tendency to overcook the rice, and I think the lentils cook even faster, so they were complete mush by the end. Maybe if you add the lentils after the rice has been cooking for awhile?

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      I have the opposite problem. I’ve only burned rice maybe once, but my rice cooker burned it almost every time…