- Lentils are a nutritious legume often overshadowed by other food items. They are high in fiber, protein, and various essential minerals, with nearly no fat, and are absorbing of different flavors and seasonings.
- Preparing lentils is straightforward and time-efficient – they do not require soaking before cooking and can be cooked in 20 to 30 minutes.
- Lentils can be used to make a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, salads, and dips, offering limitless culinary possibilities.
- A single serving of lentils, combined with some vegetables, makes a low-calorie (230 kcal), nutritionally balanced meal.
- Lentils are a great way to incorporate legumes into a diet, especially for those who might be put off by supposedly complex or time-consuming cooking methods.
Often overlooked, lentils are vital members of the legume family, deserving much more recognition than they typically receive.
Rich in fiber, protein, minerals, and other vital nutrients, lentils are plant-derived foods with negligible fat, as highlighted by the United States Department of Agriculture. They are filling, economical, available all year round, and wonderfully absorb the flavors of spices and seasonings.
Lentils: A Nutritious and Comforting Meal
A single serving of lentils, equating to one cup cooked, weighs in at only 230 calories. Pairing lentils with some vegetables gives a fulfilling and nutritiously balanced meal, perfect for lunch or dinner.
Simple and Quick Preparation of Lentils
Lentils have a significant advantage over beans in terms of cooking time, as there’s no need to soak them prior to cooking. But remember to spread them out on a clean surface to pick out any small stones or debris. Then, merely place the lentils in a fine mesh strainer and give them a rinse under cold water.
To cook lentils, adopt a ratio of three cups of water to one cup of dry lentils. Get the water boiling, add lentils, and once the water is back to a boil, reduce the heating to a low simmer. Cover the pot and let it cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Typically, green lentils would take a bit longer than the red ones. If you intend to add the lentils to another dish for further cooking, this cooking time can be shortened.
Delicious Dishes with Lentils
Endless possibilities exist in the realm of dishes you can create with lentils. For lentil soups, simply add broth, vegetables, and herbs of choice. Thicker stews, akin to the Indian dish called dal, can be made by pureeing cooked lentils and some of their cooking liquid in a food processor or blender. Interestingly, cold lentils make a perfect base for salads and can also be pureed to make a flavoursome dip, great with fresh, raw vegetables.
If your dietary routine lacks legumes due to supposedly complex or time-consuming cooking methods, then lentils would be a perfect entry point. Simple to cook and versatile in flavor absorption, they prove to be a fantastic addition to anyone’s diet.
Looking to learn more about lentils? Check out the United States Department of Agriculture’s detailed page here.