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Calorie Count Blog

The Mighty Lentil


By Mary_RD on Nov 05, 2010 10:00 AM in Recipes
Edited By +Rachel Berman

Considering that lentils are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet that have sustained man since prehistoric times and are unbelievably inexpensive, then why don’t Americans eat more lentils?  The lentil seems to be a forgotten or misunderstood food, and that is truly our loss.

Meet the Lentil

There are hundreds of varieties of lentils, separated by their size and color.  In the West, the most common variety is the round, brownish lentil that is shaped like a biconvex optic lens. (The word lentil comes from the Latin for lens.) Lentils can be green, black, yellow, orange or red, but the green and brown lentils hold their shape best when cooked. 

Lentils were one of the first foods ever cultivated.  They are mentioned in the book of Genesis.  In India, lentil is a dietary staple served as the traditional spiced dish known as dal.  Lentils are in the legume family along with beans and peas. They grow on a small bushy annual plant in short pods each containing one or two lentil seeds.

The Perfect Food

Lentils are loaded with so many nutrients, particularly fiber (both soluble and insoluble), folic acid, magnesium, molybdenum, iron, protein, phosphorous, potassium, copper, zinc, thiamin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid.  If your diet was made up of only ten foods, lentil would have to be one. 

Lentil’s nutritional profile is heart healthy in so many ways. Their fiber lowers cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar, their folic acid, magnesium and vitamin B6 protect the artery walls, and the potassium and magnesium regulate blood pressure.  No one pill can do all that.

Preparing Lentils

Lentils do not have to be soaked but they must be washed and checked for small stones and debris.  To cook, add lentils to boiling water, turn to simmer, and cover the pot after the water reboils.  Brown lentils cook in about 40 minutes, green lentils take 30 minutes, and red and orange lentils cook in only 20 minutes at most.  Do not overcook lentils because they will turn mushy.

Serving Ideas

Lentils are served as full-meal soups and stews, main-course dishes, salads, croquettes, patties, and added to baked goods.  They are often eaten with rice because their amino acids are complementary and so, when eaten together (at least within the same day), their protein quality ranks as high as the complete protein in meat.

Here are some lentil recipes added to the Recipe Browser by Calorie Count Members:


Your thoughts...

Do you eat lentils?



Comments


I love lentils, cant get enough of the stuff.  Problem is, when I cook it I tend to eat just a tad too much, which then defeats the purpose of weight watching/calorie counting.  It's just that yummy Tongue out



CC this is the right day for posting this article!!! Friday is lentil eating day for Christians of Lebanon :)  (because we don't eat meat on fridays) Every friday we eat pureed lentils mixed with sauteed onions and steamed rice cooked all together with salt and pepper, one of my favorite dishes, loaded with fiber, iron, protein and taste !!



I love lentils but hardly ever seem to get around to cooking with them - this has inspired me to search for a wonderful recipe I have that involves lentils, chorizo and onions.



Lentil soup is one of my favorites to make at this time of the year.  Here is a good recipe.

http://www.healthy-eating-support.org/Recipe-Lentil-Soup.htm l



Lentils are a favorite food of ours as they are prominent in the Armenian kitchen.

Check out Armenian recipes for lentils.  I think you'll find them wonderful, filling, and highly nutritious.

 

 



One of my favorite vegan meals is lentils mixed with barbecue sauce or as I call them, vegan sloppy joes. Just be sure to get low calorie buns and don't overdo the BBQ sauce, and you have a low calorie meal.  I usually buy a small sweet potato to go with it. 



Try this recipe for lentil loaf
http://caloriecount.about.com/lentil-loaf-recipe-r314764

It makes awesome mock meatloaf sandwiches for leftovers.

Americans don't eat lentils because we are too busy stuffing ourselves with processed foods. We have forgotten hot to cook.

I like that you acknowledge that ancient thru modern cultures have thrived on this plant based food.



I love adding lentils to my spaghetti sauce. When the kids were little, they never knew it and they gobbled up that pasta!  Seems to have more rib sticking power as well.



True Indians use lentils a lot. There are different ways lentils can be used. We use lentils in sambar,dal ,idli(rice cake),dossa and in kerala we have variety of dishes with lentils. If anyone want those recipe please let me know will happily give it to you.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL



I love lentils... here's a great recipe:

1 lb smoked rope sausage cut in thick slices (or low fat ham), 1/2 cup chopped onions, 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes. 1 lb. brown lentils. 2 chicken/tomato boillon cubes.

stir fry sausage (or ham) onions, tomatoes in a pot.  Once the sausage turns a little brown add about 6 cups of water and two tomato/chicken bouillon cubes and the washed lentils.  cook 30-40 minutes, covered, in medium heat.

serve with white rice.  YUMMMMYYYY!!! Smile



Chanchalac- I would love to get some real indian lentil recipes.  The nearest indian restraunt to my house is about 2 hours away but my husband (who is vegetarian) just loves the way they prepare their lentils. I am so intimidated by  indian cooking because of the wonderful complex flavors that I have never tried making them.



Chanchalac I would love soem authentic Indian recipes as well as I am also vegetarian and also a long drive form my nearest Indian restaurant :)

I cook with lentils all the time and enjoy the taste, texture and the healthy benefits they give.



No, I do not eat lentils because . . . *sigh* 

I hate lentils. 

And yes, I've tried them a variety of ways.  Hate the taste, hate the smell, hate the texture.  (I'm the same way with all varieties of beans, and chickpeas, and nuts.  I think it's a legume thing.) 



I absolutely LOVE lentils. I've eaten them since I was a child (we always ate the green kind)...usually with rice. I introduced them to my husband and now he loves them too. Growing up, we liked to put a bit of cilantro and onion in ours. Mmmm....I think I'll have some weekend. Thank you for the article!



its funny that this posted today because yesterday was the 1st time i had a lentil meal!  it was a jenny craig entree (lentils with beef) and it was soooo delicious!!!  good to know they are so good for you!



Original Post by: nadandfad

CC this is the right day for posting this article!!! Friday is lentil eating day for Christians of Lebanon :)  (because we don't eat meat on fridays) Every friday we eat pureed lentils mixed with sauteed onions and steamed rice cooked all together with salt and pepper, one of my favorite dishes, loaded with fiber, iron, protein and taste !!


I agree!! So,when I have items like this I cook just a portion size worth,which for me is usually 2 servings. Adding cooked, dark leafy greens in with the dinner helps with maintaining caloric levels and still being full.

Vegan parmesaun, tofu, and brown rice mixed also is tasty!!

Lentils on New Years is tradition in my family. They are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity. I think this year, that tradition will be followed with 4 servings!! lol



Lentils: my favourite food. I have been known to eat them for lunch and dinner in the same day. I eat them plain, a cup at a time, with 1 tbsp. sauce to enhance flavor. Canned lentils are a student's best friend! Cheap, healthy, filling, soooo easy. I highly recommend them to everyone, not just my veghead friends.

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The lentil cake recipe sounds like something from the Depression era.  I plan to include it in this Thanksgiving menu- my only change will be to use freshly ground whole wheat flour instead of white and possibly not add the bit of water cause we'll make the applesauce and that can be runnier than store bought.  We use all whole wheat flour in our carrot cake so it should be ok for this cake, too.   Cream cheese and honey frosting, perhaps?



Hi  

below are few recipes with lentil.

let me name some of the recipes

sambar

spinach and lentil thoran

paripu(lentil )curry

cherupayar(moong dal) olarthu

lentil thoran

chick pea thoran

moong dal payasam(dessert)

sambar

ingrediants:

red lentil 1/2 cup

drum sticks 2 long ones cut into 3 inch pieces

1 potato cut into chunks 

1 large red onion chunks

1/2 mixed veg of your choice

1 tbspn red chilli pwdr

1/4 tspn turmeric pwdr

1/2 tspn asafoetida

salt for taste

tamarint paste or ripe tomato

1 tbspn coriander pwdr

curry leaves 

1/2 tspn mustard seeds

cook lentil and all veg with some water to almost cover them with salt ,asafoetida,turmeric . watch them so the veg is cooked well but not mashed up. in afrying pan heat up 1 tapn canola oil and add mustard seeds, curry leafs and when they are done crackling add the coriander , chilli pwdr and fry it for few seconds dont let it burn add this mixture to the cooking veg and add tamarint paste and taste it for more salt.stir and boil for 3 mins and sambar ready. left over can be refridgerated.

Thoran

most of the thorans are prepared the same way . difference is the main ingrediants.

Ingrediants for thoran

3/4 cup shredded coconut(you will get them in indian stores frozen section)

2 clove garlic

2 clove shallots

2 medium green chilli

curry leaves

1/2 tspn mustard seeds

salt for taste

1 tbspn canola oil

crush garlic,green chili,and shallots first add 3 tbspn of coconut and crush again add this mixture to the rest of the coconut.

This is the base mixture for any thoran

you can make thoran out of anything that you like.

spinach and lentil thoran:

frozen  chopped spinach 2 box thowed and drained

1 cup red lentil

salt 

1/4 tspn turmeric pwdr

1 tbspn canola oil

curry leaves

 3/4 cup thoran coconut mixture

cook lentil in a pot with some water , salt n turmeric (dont mash the lentil) and put them aside.Now in frying pan add oil and when hot add the chopped spinach (fresh spinach wrks well too ) and saute them till water is evaporated, then add the coconut mixture and saute enough to take the rawness away then add the cooked lentils and stir well for another 3 minutes. your thoran is ready. this is kerala version of a salad.

 

you can make thoran with veg meat what ever you want. for lentil thoran no spinach only add lentils, chick pea thoran you add only cooked chick pea(mostly the brown one) , cabbage thoran you only add shredded uncooked cabbage.those that need to be cooked should be cooked first like meat ,shrimp,lentil etc but vegs like cabbage , mushroom etc need not be cooked before hand.these are easy to make. If you go to Indian stores they might have a large variety of lentils for very cheap price.

 

I think you Got the idea of thoran.

try these out and let me know. Will sent you the recipies for other dishes listed.

God Bless

Have a good one 

 

 



What's a lentil and where in the grocery store would you find it ??



They are a form of legume or bean.  Like it says in the first paragraph, you don't need to cook it super long and you don't need to soak them, either.  Black eyed peas are another easy to cook bean or pea.  You find them in the same aisle as where you would find rice; in bags.  Or you might be able to find them in bulk in certain supermarkets and health food stores. 



I love Lentils! Ive been eating them my whole life and for every meal of the day when my family goes on lentil binges. They are amazing with lots of garlic.

 



Original Post by: floridapauline

Original Post by: nadandfad

CC this is the right day for posting this article!!! Friday is lentil eating day for Christians of Lebanon :)  (because we don't eat meat on fridays) Every friday we eat pureed lentils mixed with sauteed onions and steamed rice cooked all together with salt and pepper, one of my favorite dishes, loaded with fiber, iron, protein and taste !!


I agree!! So,when I have items like this I cook just a portion size worth,which for me is usually 2 servings. Adding cooked, dark leafy greens in with the dinner helps with maintaining caloric levels and still being full.

Vegan parmesaun, tofu, and brown rice mixed also is tasty!!

Lentils on New Years is tradition in my family. They are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity. I think this year, that tradition will be followed with 4 servings!! lol


Smile it does give you the "full" feeling!!

The dish I am referring to is called "Mjaddara" here is the recipe, I make it every friday, you can make the pureed lentils ahead, a couple of days earlier or more but then you will have to freeze them

http://caloriecount.about.com/mjaddara-recipe-r470268

Enjoy!!



hi

i have a few recipes here at calorie count. i have sorted out the lentil recipes- here are the links.

http://caloriecount.about.com/adai-recipe-r245874

http://caloriecount.about.com/tomato-dal-recipe-r262429

http://caloriecount.about.com/pesarattu-recipe-r246996

http://caloriecount.about.com/mung-chana-dosa-recipe-r321212

http://caloriecount.about.com/dosa-recipe-r255332

http://caloriecount.about.com/cabbage-kootu-recipe-r284668

http://caloriecount.about.com/suyyam-thiyya-boorilu-recipe-r 247778

http://caloriecount.about.com/salad-3-recipe-r356636

http://caloriecount.about.com/salad-2-recipe-r241321

http://caloriecount.about.com/salad-1-recipe-r358164

http://caloriecount.about.com/rice-lentil-upuma-recipe-r3606 84

http://caloriecount.about.com/pongal-recipe-r250530

http://caloriecount.about.com/paruppu-arachi-karaimudu-recip e-r369657

http://caloriecount.about.com/mung-dal-sambar-recipe-r373150

http://caloriecount.about.com/idlis-recipe-r246162

http://caloriecount.about.com/idli-powder-recipe-r238381

http://caloriecount.about.com/eggplant-kootu-recipe-r250527

http://caloriecount.about.com/dhokla-recipe-r246736

http://caloriecount.about.com/coriander-chutney-recipe-r3606 79

http://caloriecount.about.com/collards-mung-kootu-recipe-r36 0681

http://caloriecount.about.com/coconut-chutney-recipe-r262722

http://caloriecount.about.com/chayote-squash-chow-kootu-reci pe-r274061

http://caloriecount.about.com/chana-dal-usili-recipe-r247347

http://caloriecount.about.com/carrot-mung-salad-recipe-r3581 90

http://caloriecount.about.com/bhel-recipe-r356639

http://caloriecount.about.com/besan-barfi-recipe-r246329

 



I love lentils... as a vegetarian, I use them a lot.  I make Lentil Sloppy joes (those are great!)  I just cook them in the rice cooker than add some sloppy joe sauce.  It is so easy!  I usually just cook the lentils in my rice cooker like I would rice.  I make lentil tacos or burritos the same way.... I really like it for taco salad though!  Same thing rice cooker add a packet of taco seasoning, chill them put them in a salad with lettuce (i prefer fresh spinach) tomatoes... whatever you might put in a taco salad... mmmm...  (I feel like bubba from forest gump)  

sloppy lentils, taco lentils, lentil soup, lentil casserole... HA HA



Hi since I am from India we use lentils lot in our diet . My kids love lentils a lot.

I used to cook lot of dish with lentils.

Mainly sambar - You use sambar for any kind of rice or you can eat them as soup.

Kootu - Lentils cooked with different kind of veg . It really a healthy choice kids will love to try that .

poriyal - small amout of lentils cooked with any one veg or mixed veg

Idli , dosa - Its a batter made from rice and urad dal ( Different kind of lentils available in any Asian stores) Idli is a  healthy choice since its steamed food. Dosa is Indian pancake

Adai- Its also a batter but with mixing of rice and 3 different kind of lentils. We can also add vegetables to it either in the form of puree or  chopped .

Rasam - Its a soup made from lentil broth , Tomato and little tamarind paste it is good for digestion

Appetizer -  We use to make so many appetizer using lentils

Dessert - you can make so many dessert with lentils.

If any body wants any Indian recipe I would love to share .

 

 



Comment Removed

Is there a way to prepare them so that my husband and I don't experience extreme abdominal discomfort? That is the reason I've shied again from them.



I love lentils especially red lentils. They taste great and are full of nutrition.



I have never tasted lentils (I'm 67 years old!) but now I am inspired by this article and the comments to give them a try. I'm already prepared that hubby won't like them (may not even try them) but that'll be his loss. Thanks.



Lentils are so adaptable.  You just add whatever flavor you like to them and start munching or slurping if you made lentil soup.



Chanchalac - thank you so much for the recipes and ideas. Just reading them made my mouth water! I plan to try them out.



We love lentils we started eating them when we lived in morocco.


Interesting article,  just to add a little information to this mix.  Did you know---Canada is the largest export producer of lentils in the world and Saskatchewan is the most important producing region in Canada. Statistics Canada estimates that Canadian lentil production for the 2009/10 year is a record 1.5 million metric tons.[13]  Sorry just a little national pride, we are known for more than our tar sands and oil.



 

If you soak them in vinegar, and also if you get low sodium kinds if it is in a can. When you eat them, try and keep the spices minimal, hav a smaller portion and consider what you are having with them (this is for any beans, legumes).I have an unbelievably sensitive tummy, and had to give up garlic, mustard and other spices, condiments, etc.

There is a product called "Beano" that can also help. Probiotics, and even a natural tummy healer after or before (camomile, lemon, etc. ) Digestive enzymes may help. Some people find that it is just a matter of getting used to eating  beans and lentils. A good friend of mine said he had trouble digesting them until he started eating them more, now loves beans and lentils!

 



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