This post was last updated on July 26, 2014 to include new images and a recipe video.
Today, I’d like to dedicate some time to the lentil.
Yes, the lentil.
Is it just me, or does it seem the lentil often gets left out?
It certainly does in my house. When I cook beans, I’ll typically use pinto beans, soy beans, black beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or some other variety, but not usually lentil beans.
Maybe it’s because they don’t come canned?
Am I that lazy?
Lentils are actually quite delicious and surprisingly nutritious. So, for today’s post, I thought I’d share a little about how great lentils are in an effort to increase their use in your kitchen and mine.
Health Benefits of Lentils
- Lentils are very rich in protein, folic acid, and both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.
- Lentils are very high in Vitamin C, the B vitamins and contain 8 of the essential amino acids.
- Lentils contain many valuable trace minerals.
- Lentils are one of the highest sources of antioxidants found in legumes.
- Ummm…they are quite tasty.
What does this mean for you?
- Reduced Risk of Heart Disease: Studies have found that people who eat high fiber legumes, like lentils, have a reduced risk of heart disease.
- Stabilize Blood Sugar: Lentils help in regulating blood sugar by providing steady, slow-burning energy and balancing blood sugar levels from the high fiber content.
- Replenish Iron Within Your Body: Lentils are loaded with iron and are great for people who don’t eat red meat (like vegans and vegetarians).
- Healthy Functioning of the Nervous, Digestive, and Immune Systems: Lentils are a great source of B vitamins, most notably folate and niacin (B3).
- Lower Cholesterol: Lentils are a great cholesterol-lowering food due to their high levels of fiber.
- Protein Packed: 26% of the calories in lentils are from protein and they have the third highest level of protein than any other plant food.
So, there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about lentils. Probably even more. Given all their health benefits, it’s really no wonder lentils are a staple in so many parts of the world.
Watch me make this super easy salad:
Cold Lentil Salad
That all being said, please enjoy this protein-and-fiber-packed Cold Lentil Salad recipe that’s not only delicious, but great for your body, too!
- 1 cup lentils, uncooked
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped
- ¼ small red onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- kosher salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- Add enough water to fully cover lentils in a deep pot and cook, covered, over medium-high heat for 30-45 minutes, or until tender (but not falling apart).
- Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and vinegar. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine cooked lentils, green onions, parsley, red onion and carrot. Drizzle olive oil mixture over salad and toss well. Season to taste with kosher salt and ground black pepper, if desired.
- Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30-45 minutes to chill, preferably 2-3 hours to allow flavors to meld.