Lentils are edible legumes that are easy-to-prepare, versatile and nutritious. They taste slightly peppery and earthy in flavor. Lentils act like chameleons and take on flavor of the dish you are preparing.
Lentils are an inexpensive and healthy
Lentils are a good source of fiber, vegetable protein and low in fat. They are also packed with folate, iron, phosphorus and potassium. One of the best parts of lentils are they are relatively quick and easy to prepare. I like to use lentils as they are also low in cost, making them an economical source of many nutrients.
Common types of lentils
There are many types of lentils. Generally, lentils come in dried form; although, you may find them in ready-to-eat packages. Dry lentils will keep for one year when stored in an air tight container in a cool, dry place. The brown lentils are the most common type and the least expensive. Brown lentils hold their texture if they are properly cooked. There are also green lentils which have a stronger taste and red lentils that have a sweeter taste.
I have found that lentils are not complicated to use in recipes; the preparation is easy as they do not require soaking.
- Rinse your lentils with fresh water before boiling to remove any dust or debris.
- Cook on a stove top, using 3 cups of liquid (water, stock, etc.) to 1 cup of dry lentils. Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size.
- Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until they are tender. For whole lentils, cook time is typically 15-20 minutes. For split red lentils, cook time is typically only about 5-7 minutes.
Canned lentils are also another great time-saving option – rinse them under fresh water for about one minute in order to reduce the sodium content.
Warm up this winter with Spicy Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Cilantro. Respond by letting us know your recipes using lentils.