Lentils are a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family. They are PACKED with nutrients, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and folic acid. Lentils are low calorie, low fat, and cholesterol free and are also inexpensive.
PREPARATION Lentils are simple to prepare. Simply sort, removing any debris, then rinse and boil for fifteen to twenty minutes. There is no need to soak lentils. If you prefer canned lentils, look for those that do not contain extra salt or additives. There is little nutritional difference between canned lentils and those you cook yourself.
STORAGE Store lentils in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place. Stored this way, they will keep for up to 12 months. Cooked lentils will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about three days if placed in a covered container.
- IRON lentils are one of the BEST vegetable sources of iron, which makes them perfect for individuals with iron deficiency.
- PROTEIN They are a great source of lean protein.
- FOLIC ACID One cup of cooked lentils provides 90% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Lentils provide more folic acid than any other unfortified food.
- FIBER Soluble fiber in lentils acts as a scrub brush, cleaning the digestive system. This type of fiber also decreases serum glucose and cholesterol, and decreases insulin requirements for people with diabetes.
- CALORIES Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up–not out.
Easy Lentil Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
- 11 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 2/3 cup dried elbow pasta (whole wheat variety optional)
- Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with their juices, about 8 minutes.
- Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat about 30 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
(the lentils in image above are red lentils, also delicious but regular lentils are best for this recipe)
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