Lentils make delightful soups and can be used in casseroles, salads, and stews; they also make excellent croquettes or patties. They are fast and simple to prepare, and make a nourishing, hearty, and inexpensive meal when eaten with brown rice. Although it is not necessary to soak lentils, they should be thoroughly picked through and washed to remove impurities. Brown lentils will cook in 50 to 60 minutes, while other varieties, such as the skinless orange variety, take less time, about 25 minutes. Avoid overcooking lentils, as they quickly turn mushy. 1 cup of dried lentils makes 3 to 4 cups of cooked beans.