In the legume family, lentils are the ugly stepchild, and undeservedly so.
Like their pea and bean brethren, the disgraced plant-based food is rich in fiber, protein, minerals, and other useful nutrients, as well as virtually no fat. They’re filling, cheap, accessible year-round, and easy to prepare and enjoy.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a single cup of cooked lentils contains just 230 calories. Complementing with a few veggies makes for a seriously satisfying meal for either lunch or dinner.
What’s the best way to cook them?
Well they’re a faster dish than your average beans, as they don’t need to be soaked first. You should however, spread them out on a clean surface, and remove any small stones. Then move them to a fine mesh strainer, and wash with cold water.
Now they’re ready to cook. Remember that for every cup of lentils you’re making, you’ll need three cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, and then add the lentils. Turn down the heat to a simmer, and then cover and cook for another 20-30 minutes. Green lentils tend to take longer than red ones to prepare.
Lentils can also be an ideal complement to other dishes. For lentil soups, all you need are some more veggies, herbs, and broth. Cooked, cold lentils can be the perfect base for a cold salad – which can also be pureed into a dip for a raw veggie snack.
So don’t give lentils the cold shoulder anymore. Especially if you’ve been hesitant to add legumes to your diet due to their tricky cooking techniques, lentils could be your gateway veggie.
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