Good morning lovely people, I hope you’re all doing really well 🙂
Following the great feedback I got from you guys for my post last week ‘everything you need to know about rice’, linked below, I thought I’d share some insights regarding a food item that I use all the time and am asked about at least once a week – LENTILS!
I was preparing this post a while back; I think this now has more relevance than ever. As many of us are stocking up on food in light of recent events locally and globally, lentils are definitely a staple I would recommend having in your pantry! They have a really long shelf life and pack a lot of nutrition which cannot be said for many other canned and packaged goods.
What are lentils anyway?
A couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to answer this question – to me lentils were just something that mum and grandma added to soups. I’d never have guessed they’d become a staple in my diet.
Lentils are small but mighty, powerful yet humble, cheap and cheerful super foods that are packed with protein, complex carbohydrates, little to know fats and contain many important vitamins and minerals.
They’re a great addition to our diets, cheap and easy to incorporate and packed with tone of fibre and goodness. I love cooking with lentils – the more I use them, to more I learn how to incorporate them into our meals and they can be absolute delicious. I’ll like a few lentil-based recipes below:
So, now that I’ve shared some of my favourite ways to use them in my cooking, I’m going to share some insight about why they’re so good for us and some of the different varieties.
Lentils do not require soaking before cooking – unlike dried beans. You can soak them if you like ; this will result in shorter cooking time, but it isn’t totally necessary. This is just one of the many reasons why I love cooking with lentils. It’s a really easy way to increase your protein, fibre and nutrient intake without needing to fuss on plan way ahead of time.
WHAT ARE LENTILS?
Lentils are very small edible legumes; we can think of them as the cousins of beans and chickpeas. They have been a staple in many cuisines for centuries and they pack a nutritional punch despite their tiny size. Lentils are cultivated all over the world and there are many different varieties you can find on supermarket shelves.
They are a great source of protein for vegans, vegetarians and those who are trying to cut down on animal food consumption. They are loaded with protein, complex carbohydrates and tons of fibre, which as I’ve explained time and time again, is SUPER important for our gut health and in turn our overall health.
I’ve chosen some of the most common varieties I find locally below.
Green lentils, also known as French lentils, are whole round lentils that have a really nice nutty flavour. Being whole lentils, meaning that they still have their outer hull in tact, they take longer to cook than split lentils. They make a lovely addition in salads – cooked of course.
RED & YELLOW LENTILS:
Both red and yellow lentils are known as split lentils – meaning that the outside hull has been removed. This results in a much shorter cooking time and also means that they lose their shape rather easily when cooked and become creamy. This makes them a great addition to soups! They have a mild almost sweet flavour and using them in a soup will give it a wonderful creamy texture.
Brown lentils have an earthy flavour and tend to keep their shape well when cooking. These are ideal for ‘meat’ balls or veggie burgers.
These lentils are grown in the volcanic soils of the Puy District in France have a very distinctive peppery flavor and high mineral content, including iron and magnesium. Puy lentils are small and round and have olive-green and black color with mottling. They have a vibrant and earthy flavor and firm-tender texture. The rounded shape holds up the best in cooking.
That’s it from me for today – make sure you ‘follow’ the blog to receive an email every time I post :~)
I will definitely be sharing more lentil recipes here in the near future! Spending more time than ever at home means that I’m going to be able to prepare more recipes using these types of long-shelf-life staples. Staying healthy is more important than ever! While fresh produce is great, these types of foods are far better in terms of their longevity and therefore far better during this difficult time!
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Until my next post, be well xXx