Monday, April 13, 2015

Lentils, lentils, lentils

This week I listened to a podcast in ITunes: Food for thought: Favorite Food: For the Love of Lentils Released Mar 31, 2010.

I went 40 years of my life without either eating lentils or knowing that lentils existed. In the last few months, I've started adding lentils to my pantry and I started searching for recipes using lentils. So far, I tried just two recipes: Chef AJ's red lentil chili & Protective Diet Sloppy Jerrys. I've heard lots of people raving about Chef AJ red lentil chili, but I discovered quickly that I am NOT a fan. Second, I tried the P.D. Slow Cooker Sloppy Jerrys. This recipe is fabulous, so I know I do like lentils.

Types of Lentils

 In Colleen's podcast, I heard that lentils are popular (staple food) all over the world. People in the USA are less familiar with them. (so true!) They are used a lot in Indian Cuisine. They are lens shaped and they come in lots of different varieties. She mentioned just a couple types:
  • French Green Lentils (really holds it shape after cooking, wonderful flavor)
  • Brown Lentils (very common, can hold their shape, wonderful flavor, earthy flavor)
  • Red Lentils (yellowish red, sometimes called yellow lentils, mostly used in dishes where they are soft)
  • Black beluga lentils
I can easily find brown and red lentils at my local grocery stores and Walmart. I found French Green Lentils at a natural food grocery store (4 hrs round trip) in bulk so I picked up a tiny bit to try. The Green lentils are more expensive per pound, so I'll have to decide if they are worth it. Vita-Cost carries lentils, so I can get them shipped to my house also.

Lentils don't need to be soaked overnight like dried beans. Before cooking, you have to rinse them and pick thru (remove stones etc.). Most lentils cook in about 30 minutes and you don't want to cook in too much water/broth (you would be dumping the nutrients down the drain). She doesn't cover the pot completely when cooking.

Lentils are full of nutrition

1 cup of cooked lentils has the following:
  • have 230 calories (less calorie dense than pasta)
  • 90% of daily value of folate (in one cup)
  •  36% of daily percent of iron
  • 35% of daily percent of protein

Ways to use lentils

Recipes/ways to use lentils per Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (I haven't tried any of these). It's amazing to see how versatile lentils are. They are used in recipes from salads, burgers, lentil loafs, to stews.
  1. Sprinkle lentils on a green salad
  2. Brown lentils seasoned with balsamic vinegar and salt
  3. Warm lentil salad (The Vegan Table) can be served over greens or eaten in a pita pocket
  4. Lentil loaf
  5. Dahl
  6. Red lentil and artichoke stew
  7. Cashew and red lentil burgers

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