Lentils are high in protein and can be a great, low-cost protein source on your plate. They are easy to prepare and can be used in many different ways.
Lentils are very nutritious
Lentils are very high in fibre and protein, and are a great source of iron, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and potassium. Similar to other pulses, lentils are naturally low in fat and sodium. Since the key macronutrients in lentils are complex carbohydrates and protein, they are very satiating and help with weight management, diabetes management, lowering blood fat and cholesterol levels, and promoting digestive health.
Lentils are a great substitute for Meat
Being high in protein, lentils are considered to be a part of the Meat and Alternatives food group. One serving of lentils is equivalent to 3/4 cup or 175 millilitres of cooked lentils. That is the size of a tennis ball, which provides 14 grams of protein.
You can use dried lentils or canned lentils
Lentils are very easy to prepare and cook relatively quick. Dried lentils are cheaper and give you the option of choosing how much salt needs to be added. If you choose to buy lentils canned, it is important to be mindful of the sodium content; you can either purchase cans that are labeled “low sodium” or rinse regular canned products to get rid of the excess sodium.
5 Ways to Enjoy Lentils
- Lentil Soup – Saute an onion, add 1 cup of dried lentils and 1 potato (diced), and top with 3 cups water. Flavour with pepper, turmeric, garlic, a pinch of salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Let it cook for about 45 minutes until a thick soup consistency. Enjoy!
- Sweet potato lentil salad – Cook 1/2 cup dried lentils (or use 1 cup canned lentils). Roast 1 sweet potato (diced) with olive oil in the oven. Let these cool. Take 4-5 cups of arugula, and top it with the lentil and sweet potato. You can add crumbled goat cheese, olive oil and lemon juice for more flavour.
- Lentil pasta sauce – Saute an onion, add 2-3 cups tomato sauce, 1 cup cooked or canned (low sodium) lentils. Flavour the sauce with spices such as garlic powder. turmeric, basil and peper. You can add mushroom or other vegetables, such as eggplants or zucchini to spice up the recipe.
- Lentil in omelet – Stir fry an onion (chopped), lentils (cooked) and spinach. In a bowl, whisk eggs. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. When the spinach and onions are cooked, add the eggs to the pan and let it cook. You can add a bit of shredded cheese for more flavour.
- Lentil rice pilaf – Take 1 cup of rice and 1 cup of dried lentils, rinse them and top with water (about one inch). Add a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon oil. Let it cook until all of the water evaporates. If the rice or lentil is still uncooked, you can add a bit more water and let it cook for longer.
Best Canadian Lentils Recipes. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.lentils.org/
Canadian Nutrient File. (2016, July 14). Lentils. Retrieved from https://food-nutrition.canada.ca/cnf-fce/serving-portion.do?id=3393
Eat Right Ontario. (2017, July 13). Tips on how to use, buy and store lentils – Eat Right Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-And-Food/Legumes,-Soy,-Nuts-and-Seeds/All-About-Lentils.aspx