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Lentils – A Nutrition Powerhouse!

1 cup of cooked lentils provides 230 calories and 18 grams of protein, as well as it is an excellent source of folate, iron, potassium, phosphorus, fiber, and a good source of magnesium!  Unlike dried beans, lentils do not require an overnight soak and can be prepared quickly, making them a nice tool for weeknight meals.  Lentils can be used as a meat substitute in a meal or in addition to meat in a meal to reduce the amount of meat needed, such as using ½ lean ground beef and ½ lentils for taco night.  This can be both healthful and cost effective!  Cooked, pureed lentils can even be used a thickener in soups and stews!

Watch this video to see how simple it is to prepare lentils: https://youtu.be/thjD7aU9ZV4

The instructions from the video are listed below2:

  • Lentils to do not require soaking like other pulses.
  • Rinse your lentils with fresh water before boiling to remove any dust or debris.
  • Cook on a stovetop, using 3 cups of liquid (water, stock, etc) to 1 cup of dry lentils. Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size.
  • Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until they are tender.
  • For whole lentils, cook time is typically 15-20 minutes. For split red lentils, cook time is typically only about 5-7 minutes.
  • Be sure to season with salt after cooking – if salt is added before, the lentils will become tough.
  • Canned lentils are also another great time-saving option – just be sure to rinse them under fresh water for about one minute in order to reduce the sodium content.

Kaitlin Slone, RDN, LDN

References:

  1. https://foodandnutrition.org/november-december-2015/why-we-love-lentils/
  2. http://www.lentils.org/recipes-cooking/how-to-cook-lentils/