They come in red, green and black and can be found in soups, salads, and main dishes as a great substitute for meat. What are they? Lentils, of course.
Lentils are legumes that have served as a dietary staple in many parts of the world for centuries. Their popularity has risen in the Western world as of late due to their versatility and health benefits. Not only that, they’re relatively inexpensive, easy to prepare and absorb the flavors of other foods, creating a flavorful dish. They’re packed with fiber, iron and vitamin B, along with potassium, phosphorus, and, let’s not forget—protein. The latter makes them an obvious meat alternative.
Given that much of the meat found in our supermarkets is factory-farmed and therefore not ideal for the animals, the planet (greenhouse gases, anyone?) or for your body, more and more people are looking for non-meat protein sources. People are also looking to embrace more of a plant-based diet, and both facts make lentils an excellent dietary choice.
So now that you’re convinced, how can you eat more lentils? They work well tossed into salads, pitas and wraps. You can jazz up your pasta or your stir fries by adding them to the sauce in place of meat. When it’s Mexican night, use them as a filling for your tacos and fajitas, or add them to salsa or guacamole. They’re wonderful added to soups or as a standalone soup with herbs and veggies, and roasted lentils work well as a healthy snack. Stock up on your lentils today and use them in everything!
- 1 onion, chopped 1/4 cup olive oil 2 carrots, diced 2 stalks celery, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 bay leaf
- 1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender.
- 2. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.