According to the Health Magazine, lentils are one of the healthiest foods we can eat. Lentils are considered a Superfood!
Lentils are in the Legume family which are related to bean and peanuts. Lentil grow in pods with one or two lentil seeds per pod. The seeds are very small. Lentils come in many colors such as yellow, red/orange, green, black and brown. They can come whole or split in half. Lentils easy to prepare quick to cook. The whole lentils take longer to cook, 30 to 40 minutes. The split lentils take less time, usually 10-15 minutes.
They are very cheap and are used all over the world to produce nutritious, cheap soups and other nutritious recipes. In India and Egypt it is common to combine lentils with rice. You could consider lentils India’s comfort food. Mixing rice with lentils will result in a complete protein dish, since lentils are low in the amino acids (building blocks of the protein), methionine and cysteine. However, sprouted lentils contain sufficient amount of these specific amino acids including all the others. Other than being high in protein, lentils are also high in fiber which can lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent constipation. Lentils can also prevent blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal. You can keep your heart healthy by eating lentils and prevent heart disease. Lentils are also high in folate and a good source of iron. Eating lentils with foods rich in Vitamin C such as tomatoes and peppers can help the absorption of the iron.
When purchasing lentils make sure you inspect them to insure not signs of cracking or signs of moisture. Canned lentils result in a lower nutritional value, so try to buy in bulk bins or prepackaged containers. They can be stored up to 12 months in an airtight package in a cool, dry, dark place. When preparing them rinse them first in a strainer and then boil them in water or simmer in a broth The cook time depends on the type and size of the lentil, and your desired texture. If you want a more mushy texture, cook the lentil a 10-15 minutes longer.
Here is a great soup recipe you should try!
Vegan Lentil Soup:
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot sliced
- 1 sliced green pepper
- 1 potato sliced
- 1 can of corn, drained and washed
- 1 cup broccoli chopped
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4th cup brown rice
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
1) In a large pot, saute the onions, carrot in the vegetable oil for 3-5 minutes until onions turn clear.
2) Add the vegetable broth, rice, potato, broccoli, corn, green pepper, lentils, pepper, thyme, bay leaves
3) Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until lentils are soft, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove bay leaves and stir in lemon juice before serving. Makes 4 servings of lentil soup.