‘Eat the rainbow’ has become increasingly common advice. Use the different varieties of lentils to your advantage to paint a delicious and nutritious dietary pattern. Plus, if you want naturally orange food this fall, try some of these recipes with red lentils.
Reasons to Love Lentils
They make a great pantry staple! There is a long list of things that are great about them, including:
- Rich in protein and fiber: They are incredibly nutrient-dense, packing quite the punch of both protein and fiber, which can help keep us full. Most Americans do not get nearly enough fiber, and lentils can help change that.
- Quick cooking: They do not need to be soaked, and they cook very quickly, especially red lentils. You can have them on the table in about the same amount of time it takes to make rice.
- Diverse: There are many types of lentils, including brown, green, and red. The different types come in different colors, textures, tastes, and sizes. For example, French green lentils tend to be smaller and hold their shape better, making them ideal for dishes like salads. Red lentils, on the other hand, cook up very quickly and do not hold their shape well. Instead, they become soft and somewhat mushy, working well to thicken soups or make curries.
- Versatile: They can be used in soups, curries, salads, dips, meatloaf, casseroles, dips, rice dishes, and much more.
Lentil Curry Recipe
I’ve had kids tell me that red variety were named incorrectly, and that they should be called orange lentils. And do you know what? I agree! Whatever you want to call them though, they make the perfect base for a naturally orange soup, perfect for fall and any Halloween festivities. Here are two red lentil recipes to try this season.
- Lentil Curry: This warming curry is packed with vegetables, coconut milk, spices, and the fresh zing of lime.
- Red Lentil Soup with Lemon: The brightness of the lemon makes this simple yet satisfying soup sing.
For both of these recipes, make up extra to freeze and enjoy later.
Other Ways to Enjoy Lentils
Let’s be honest – sometimes, it can be fun to play with your food. Dry beans and lentils, especially older ones you have had in your pantry or basement for several years, can be great for arts and crafts time. I have seen people of all ages enjoy bean art and tell me it is surprisingly relaxing. I hope you have a good time, too!
Here are a few crafting ideas:
- To make a turkey, trace your hand on a piece of paper. Then, fill it in and create a scene around your bean turkey.
- Print out or draw a shape or pattern, then “color” with beans, lentils, and grains.
- Go freestyle!
We hope you enjoy all that lentils have to offer this fall and all year long. Also, if you make any bean art, please share a photo – we would love to see your masterpiece!