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.