Lentils are a versatile plant-based protein – great for vegan and vegetarian lifestyles!
Lentils are a type of legume (dried bean) that are round in shape and about the size of a #2 pencil eraser. They’re found in a variety of colors and textures, such as red, brown, and green. Brown lentils are a bit more firm than the other two, with red having the softest texture of the three. Lentils have an earthy, semi-neutral taste to them, which makes them perfect for use in a wide variety of ways. In comparison to other types of dried beans or legumes, lentils are fairly easy to cook!
Health Benefits of Lentils:
Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. Their fiber content is particularly high in soluble fiber which is well known for its ability to reduce the “bad cholesterol” (LDL) in the body. Fiber is also vital for satiety and fullness!
Lentils are also known to contain a significant amount of B vitamins (B1, B3, B5, and B6) in addition to phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese. These vitamins and minerals are essential for maintaining a healthy diet.
Nutrient Breakdown of Lentils:
*Per 1 cup cooked
- Protein | 18g
- Fiber | 15g
- Molybdenum | 330% DV
- Folate | 89% DV
- Copper | 56% DV
- Phosphorus | 51% DV
- Manganese | 49% DV
- Iron | 36.6% DV
- Zinc | 23% DV
- Potassium | 21% DV
- B vitamins | B1, B3, B5, and B6
How To Use:
Lentils are extremely versatile! They can be used simply as a side dish or in soups or stews, in addition to curries. They can also be blended into thick soups and made into vegetarian patties or burgers. You can even toss them into warm grain bowls or winter salads to add a boost of protein and fiber!
Lentils do not require soaking because they cook relatively quickly, but rinsing and washing are needed before cooking. This just ensures that they’re free of small rocks or other debris. You may, however, enjoy soaking and sprouting lentils for added digestive ease and a bit more nutrition!
When cooking lentils, use 3 cups water: 1 cup lentils. Boil the water, add lentils and simmer for 20-30 minutes until soft.