Though I hate to admit this, I am a little frightened of cooking lentils. Sure, they look harmless enough, but they just have a tendency of not cooking for me. Instead, they remain little pebbles in the saucepan far past the recommend cooking time. But red lentils are the great exception. They only require 15 to 20 minutes to become tender, and they faithfully stick to that schedule.
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I don't cook with dried lentils often, but every time I do, I vow to use them more. A legume just like beans, they're a cheap, healthy, low-fat source of protein and fiber--but unlike beans, you don't need to plan...