13 Apr Bring on the Lovely Little Lentils
If you are looking for a plant based protein boost, try adding lentils to your culinary cupboard. Lentils (Lens culinaris) are in the legume family; have a lens shaped grain seed called pulse that grow in pods on annual bushy plants. Dal is the term used for split pulses with the hulls removed (decorticated); often used make soups and eaten with rice or rotis. Lentils are a dietary staple in many of the Southeast Asia countries.
- Black/beluga resembling the caviar; are tiny and hold their shape well and are decorative on salads and appetizers
- Brown/Spanish pardina
- Eston Green are small in size
- French green/puy lentils are dark speckled blue-green pulses that are more delicate and hold their shape well
- Laird are a large green pulse
- Macachiados are big Mexican yellow lentils
- Masoor are a brown-skinned lentils which are orange inside
- Petite crimson/red are decorticated masoor lentils that cook down in soups and stews and are easily hidden for the bean haters
- Petite Golden are decorticated lentils
- Red Chief are decorticated yellow lentils
- Richlea is a medium green pulse
- Yellow/tan lentils are red inside
Lentils are high in protein and fiber. Their protein content is 3 higher than rice and 2 ½ higher then wheat. These pulses provide an excellent source of nutrients especially when eating a plant based diet. Lentils have the second-highest ratio of protein per calorie of any legume, after soybeans. Although they are not a complete protein alone, when eaten with rice or other grains they provides amino acids in the right proportions, making a complete protein.
If you have never eaten lentils before, you may want to start slowly. Because they are so rich in fiber they digest slowly and may cause intestinal gas. Your body will soon adjust and this issue should resolve. Depending on the lentil, these easily stored dried pulses, will cook on the stove top in 20 to 40 minutes. When making salads, you will want them on the firmer side.
Have fun discovering new ways to cook and use these lovely little lentils. Look up some recipes and get creative! Here is one to start you on your way.
1 cup dry black lentils, cooked al dente, about 20 min
3/4 cup farro, cooked as directed
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/3 cup capers
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups fresh spinach, or other green chopped
1/4 cup sunflower 🌻seeds
1 cup alfalfa sprouts
Mix all above ingredients above together.
For the dressing:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp brown mustard
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp smoked black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Mix together in a jar, shake well and add to lentil combo and mix well. Chill, and enjoy!
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