These cook up much quicker than the instructions on the wrapper -- to avoid being really mushy, try 25-30 min. When cooked, to my surprise, they were be a pale green/yellow/brown color. Red lentils are my go-to substitute for ground beef (can't eat due to sudden food intolerance) since they are a bit mushy & mix well with spices. I've made sloppy joes with them (cook 1 cup dry to substitute for a pound of ground beef) and also tacos & chili. I use the same spices, give or take, & turns out pretty good, but you'd never mistake it for actual meat. But this way I can eat my version & the rest of my family can have the real deal. I cook the entire bag at once & freeze in the portions I need. For lentil soup, I use brown or green lentils which tend to keep their shape.