The following is input from a visitor to our healthy eating website.  We appreciate hearing from our readers with questions, comments or guest blogs since the compendium of healthy eating information is large and complicated and is growing and changing all the time.  

Please feel free to add your feedback in the comments section if you have information or questions that will help further our pursuit of a healthy eating lifestyle! 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed!

Dried split peas and lentils

by kayy

Kayy's question...

I ate some partially cooked dried lentils and split this dangerous???

Suzy's answer...

Thanks for introducing this great topic! With the popularity of raw food diets, this is a question that is often asked.

The short answer is that eating partially cooked lentils and split peas is probably not "dangerous," especially eating them only one time, but it could cause some digestive upset, depending on how your individual system reacts and what else you ate at the time.

Legumes, including beans, peas and lentils should be cooked before eating. This will make them digestible and give you all the great nutritional benefits.

You probably know that lentils and split peas do not have to be soaked before cooking and will take a much shorter time to cook than beans.

Kidney beans are generally considered toxic if eaten raw, but cooked, they are an excellent source of protein, fiber and vitamins. This is also true of all the other varieties of beans in varying degrees.

After consuming raw kidney beans, problems usually begin within one to three hours. The symptoms are severe nausea followed by vomiting, diarrhea and possibly abdominal pain. You will usually feel better within three to four hours after the symptoms begin.

It is my hope that you did not have any ill effects from consuming the partially cooked lentils and split peas, or that any discomfort was very minor.

For more information on beans and legumes you can visit our Beans page at this link:

Healthy Beans

Thanks for visiting our healthy eating website!

Warmest Regards,

Suzy Staywell

Cooking tips for legumes

*Dry beans should be sorted before cooking. This can be done by spreading the dry beans out and removing any foreign particles.

*Most legumes, except split peas and lentils, need to be soaked before they are cooked. There
are two methods for doing this, and both methods are effective. However, it should be noted that the Fast-soak method seems to remove more of the gas-producing compounds.

     Overnight method
Cover washed and sorted beans with water and allow them to soak overnight. Then drain the water, rinse the beans, add more water and cook according to directions. See description of each bean below for specific cooking times.

      Fast-soak method

Cover washed and sorted beans with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes, and cover and let stand for one hour. Discard soaking water, rinse, cover with new water and cook as directed.

*Do not salt the water until beans are done cooking. Salt will slow down the cooking time and toughen the bean coats. Other spices and vegetables may be added, however.

*If beans are older and drier, with a wrinkled appearance, they will take longer to cook.

*Beans should be tender and the skins beginning to loosen when they are done. See particular bean for approximate cooking time.

*If foam forms on top of the water when you are cooking beans, skim it off and continue cooking.

*If your recipe calls for more than one variety of dry beans, it is better to cook each type of bean separately, and then add them to your chili or other dish. This is because the beans will be fully cooked at different times, and you may end up with some overcooked, mushy beans or some undercooked, hard beans if you cook them all together.

*Cooked beans will freeze very well, so you may want to cook larger batches of beans and then freeze some for quicker use in the future.

*1 cup of dry beans will produce 2 1/2 cups of cooked beans.

Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,

Suzy Staywell

Comments for Dried split peas and lentils

Click here to add your own comments

Cooking Split Peas at High Altitudes
by: Anonymous

I'm at 7000 feet and having trouble getting split peas to get soft enough for a creamy soup. My pressure cooker says not to cook them there. What do you suggest?

by: Suzy

I'm sorry I don't know the answer to this question. I will post it and maybe one of our readers can post a comment that will help.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask Suzy.