Lentils Shmentils

I guess I haven’t quite finished the gluten-free segment but I am getting a little board of it for now. So instead, on this lovely Sunday morning, I wanted to talk about lentils. Because it’s snowing outside and I am thinking of making a stew. I mean look at these beautes…

I love em’. These little but mighty guys top the fiber-rich charts and also provide essentials like magnesium, folate, and lean protein. And did I mention low calories? To be more specific, 1/4 cup cooked lentils has 15 grams of fiber, 12 grams of protein, and 60 calories! (unfortunately lentils are missing one or more amino acids and are not a complete protein, so when you cook them combine them with grain or cereals).

Green and black lentils keep their shape better when cooked and yellow lentils cook faster and break down more. To cook, add to a pot with plenty of water (I love to throw in some chopped onions, garlic, carrots, and a bay leaf) , bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender but retaining a little bit of a bite (20-40 minutes). Drain and season.  Or if you want to get fancier try these renditions…

Salad: Toss together cooked lentils; canned or fresh salmon; diced red bell pepper and red onion; chopped parsley; and lemon-dill vinaigrette. It’s fun to serve this in butter-lettuce cups.

Meat loaf: Instead of bread crumbs, mix half a cup of cooked, partly mashed black, brown, or green lentils into your regular meat-loaf recipe.

Dal: I don’t think lentils without thinking Indian! Mix cooked yellow or red lentils with premade red curry sauce, chopped fresh tomatoes, silvered onions, and cayenne pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice.

Also check out RECIPES above for a braised Le Puy lentils with Chard!

*recipes complimentary of deliciousliving magazine