Who knows what a lentil is? Lentils are a fast cooking legume, loaded with protein, low-glycemic carbs, fiber, and antioxidants. Lentils can be a great addition to those delicious winter soups. Unlike other members of the legume family, lentils do not require pre-soaking the way beans do. They come in a variety of colors such as green, red or brown. The fiber in lentils aids in controlling cholesterol and blood sugar and reduces the risk of heart disease. Lentils are also a great source of plant based iron, which is especially important for children and women of child bearing age.
Before cooking dried lentils, spread them out on a light colored surface or towel and remove any small rocks. Then rinse the lentils in a strainer with cool water. To cook lentils: bring 3 cups of liquid to a boil for each cup of lentils to be cooked. I prefer to cook my lentils in broth instead of water for more flavor. Once the water reaches boiling add the lentils, return to a boil then cover and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes depending on lentil variety and intended use.
Don't forget to add a pinch of turmeric to your cooking water to boost nutrition. See this post for more information.
Check out the soup recipe below. Here are some additional serving suggestions I'll be trying soon from the World's Healthiest Foods.
- Combine cooked lentils, and chopped sweet pepper to make a delicious cold salad. Season with your favorite herbs and spices.
- Toss buckwheat soba noodles with cooked lentils, small broccoli florets and leeks. Dress olive oil mixed with garlic and ginger.
For more reading on lentils check out:
So there you go. Why don't you add lentils to your menu this winter and see what people think!
Luscious Lentil Soup (From Martha Sears in The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood [affl link])
1 1/2 cup washed lentils
3 Tbsp butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/4 cup celery leaves, chopped
3 - 4 carrots, chopped
1/3 cup raw brown rice
2 cups shredded spinach or kale (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 tsp salt
Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese
Place lentils in bowl and cover with cool water while you prepare other vegetables. Heat the butter in large pot. Add the garlic, onions, celery, and celery leaves, and cook while stirring for 5 minutes over medium head or until onions have wilted. Add the carrots, rice, parsley, and lentils. Add 1 1/2 quarts of water or broth and seasonings.
Bring soup to a boil. Cover it and simmer until lentils, rice, and vegetables are tender (about 1 1/2 hours). Add the spinach 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with Parmesan cheese prior to serving.
This was originally posted in the October Nutrition Nibbles Newsletter. Subscribe below and be the first to get new content. Connect with me on social media, too!
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