Did you know that lentils have been a staple of Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines for thousands of years? As a matter of fact, they are believed to be one of the oldest crops. Records show that they have been consumed for thousands of years. Lentils are enjoyed globally in various recipes and can easily be one of the best vegetarian food sources of protein. They can be a good substitute for meat when it comes to supplying the required protein for the body. Lentils are low in calories and high in nutritional content. They can be the perfect legumes to add to your staple diet. But, before getting on to how to cook lentils, here are a few nutritional benefits of lentils that you should know.
Nutritional Benefits of Lentils
Lentils are rich in nutrients and help in keeping your system healthy. Apart from being abundant in protein, they are also a rich source of essential amino acids. With lentils around, you can be assured of improved digestion, a healthy heart, diabetes control, and a stable nervous system. They are a good source of dietary fiber, and their protein content is comparable to red meat, fish, and dairy products. Lentils help reduce blood cholesterol levels, regulate your heart health, and stabilize blood pressure. Being a good source of iron, lentils can energize you and even promote metabolism. When it comes to dried beans, lentils are the best, considering they are easy to prepare and can quickly absorb a variety of flavors. They are earthy and refreshing in flavor, and you can confidently incorporate them into your diet.
How to Cook Lentils
Lentils don’t need to be pre-soaked. They should be added directly to boiling water to facilitate better digestion. Cooking lentils usually takes about 20-30 minutes. The time depends on how you want to present the lentils in the final dish. You can cook the lentils in water on a stove and bring to a boil. Regulate the heat until they are tender. If you plan on serving lentils along with a salad or a soup, you can go for a firmer texture by removing the pan from the stove when the mixture attains the desired consistency. However, if you want to add it to a dal or gravy that requires a much mushy consistency, you can heat it for a longer time. Here are a few recipes you need to know to cook delicious lentils dishes.
1. Braised Napa Cabbage With Lentils
This dish is a treat for those who love a good vegan meal. It has an irresistible flavor. It forms a delicious combination with the right seasoning of tofu and nutrition-rich veggies. This vegan delight is easy to make, and one bite will get you hooked! Try this delicious recipe today and excite your taste buds.
2. Mason Jar Salad With Crispy Lentils
If you are looking for something that is simple and quick, you will love this – a salad in a jar, with crispy lentils to top it off. It is perfect and filled with the health benefits of veggies and the protein goodness of lentils. The strategically layered vegetables with the lentils will help capture the flavor without making it too soggy. Want to know how to make this wonderful jar of goodness? Check out the entire recipe here.
3. Warm Maple Mustard Potato And Lentil Salad
Desiring the delicious taste of potato salad, but not a fan of mayonnaise? Well, this maple and mustard flavored potato salad with lentils will hit the spot. How does a mix of tangy and hot flavors with tender potato sound like? Try this recipe for the perfect dish alongside some greens on a cold weather day.
4. Potato Lentil Coconut Curry
In this delicious dish, the creaminess from the coconut milk, soft chunks of potato, cooked lentils, and array of spices all tie together into a beautiful and satisfying bowl of vegan curry.
These little sammies are packed with protein and flavor. They’re extremely easy to make for any level cook and a welcome departure from their meat-filled cousin. These Lentil Joes will make the perfect addition to a summer gathering!
Try these tasty and healthy recipes with lentils and excite your appetite. I am sure they will leave you wanting more. These mouth-watering dishes are simple to make and perfect for any occasion. Impress your loved ones at your next get-together with some of these dishes. Happy cooking!
Hopefully, you found this guide for how to cook lentils helpful! Let us know your favorite lentil recipe in the comments!
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Photo: Molly Lansdowne, Jennifer Kurdyla, Jessie Brown, Christina Ramirez