Lentils are well known throughout the world. In many cultures they are a major dietary staple. The humble lentil has been around as long as time itself. As a matter of fact, lentils were mentioned as far back as biblical times. In the book of Genesis, for example, Essau sold his birthright to his brother for a bowl of lentil stew.
What are they?
Lentils are edible, mini-sized seeds from the legume family. They grow in pods on a bushy plant, an annual, about 40 cm tall. There are many varieties of lentils and even though they are small, lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition.
Though I’ve always known about brown lentils because Lentil Soup was a regular favorite at home, I wasn’t as familiar with other varieties. Besides brown lentils, the varieties most easily found in stores are green, yellow and red. You may also find Puy and Beluga lentils.
Lentils are like little gems of nutrition. Even if you are not accustomed to them, you might want to give them a try. They are highly nutritious and I can promise you, when they are prepared properly, they are absolutely delicious.
Humble but Amazing Lentils
- Inexpensive, and easy to cook.
- Versatile: serve in the creation of a great variety of delicious meals.
- Low in calories but high in nutrients.
- Filling, which may control your over-all intake of food.
- Each type of lentil has its unique nutritional value, so eating a variety benefits good health.
- Great source of plant-based protein, which makes them a good meat alternative.
- Good source of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and B vitamins.
- High in fiber.
- Improve blood sugar, aid in protection and control of diabetes 2.
- Great source of folate.
- Improve healthy gut function.
- Rich in polyphenols = health-promoting phytochemicals.
- Able to raise ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL).
- Can lower ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.
- May reduce several heart disease risk factors.
- May lower blood pressure.
- Contains phytic acid, with strong antioxidant and anticancer properties.
Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition
To cook Lentils:
- Sort and rinse before cooking.
- Lentils do not require a lengthy soak but soaking may aid digestion.
- Lentils cook quickly, depending on the type of lentils, 5-20 minutes.
- You can simply cook lentils by covering them with an inch of water and adding a little salt. Bring to a boil and cook until they are softened.
- You can use cooked lentils in many different dishes.
- Cooked lentils keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, ready to be added to salads or as fillers to other meals.
- Lentils are tasty and versatile. You can use them as a main ingredient in various dishes.
Come back tomorrow for my family’s favorite Lentil Soup Recipe.