Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Lentils

By Guest Blogger Becka Levin, GIC

I hope you have enjoyed trying some of the recipes previously posted! Feel free to send any feedback, pictures or suggestions our way; we’d love to hear from you.

The healthy ingredient this week is lentils. Lentils are a member of the legume family and vary in color and size. They are full of protein and fiber, both of which help you feel full for a long period of time. Fiber, which we have discussed previously, also supports regularity, healthy cholesterol levels, and helps prevent certain cancers, particularly those of the intestinal tract. Additionally, certain studies have shown that high fiber consumption is correlated with less incidence of heart disease. Lentils are a good source of iron, a necessary component of healthy red blood cells and important to maintaining high energy levels. There is also a high amount of magnesium in lentils, another mineral that helps decrease your risk of heart disease.

You can buy prepared lentils canned or cook them yourself. Uncooked lentils are usually found in the same aisle as beans. Cooking lentils is very simple: all you need to do is simmer four cups of water on a stove top with one cup of lentils until cooked thoroughly, which should take roughly 25 minutes.


Recipes
Another gentle reminder that these recipes aren’t binding! If you dislike a certain ingredient, don’t hesitate to switch it for something more appealing.

Lentil and Feta Salad

This dish is incredibly easy to make and is perfect as a delicious side dish.

Ingredients

1 ½ cup lentils (canned or cooked)

½ cup feta cheese

¼ cup red onion, chopped

¼ cup olive oil

Squeeze lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

1. Combine lentils, red onion, and feta in a bowl.

2. In another bowl, add lemon juice to olive oil to your taste preference.

3. Add olive oil dressing to lentils and mix thoroughly, adding salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve and enjoy!

 

Vegetarian Wrap with Hummus

A quick and easy weekday lunch recipe

Ingredients

3 Tbs. refrigerated hummus

5 Tbs. refrigerated steamed lentils

1/4 C. chopped tomatoes

1 small handful greens

2 Tbs. plain yogurt

1 whole wheat tortilla

Spiced to taste (try cumin, curry powder, or garlic powder)

Instructions

1. Place lentils, hummus, tomatoes, and greens down the tortilla.

2. Drizzle yogurt across lentils.

3. Roll tightly and enjoy.

 

Easy Lentil Soup

A classic! It’s the perfect way to warm up in cold weather.

Ingredients

2 cups dry lentils

2 quarts chicken broth (sub vegetable broth for vegetarian)

1 onion, diced

¼ cup tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

Instructions

1. In a large saucepan combine lentils, broth, onion, tomato paste, garlic and cumin.

2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are soft, 30 to 45 minutes.

3. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

 

Vegetarian Lentil Tacos

This is a healthy, meatless version of a family favorite.

Ingredients

4 tortilla taco shells

1 ½ cup cooked lentils

2 cups chopped lettuce

Taco Seasoning, to taste

2 diced medium sized tomatoes

1 avocado, shelled and sliced

(add any other favorite taco toppings)

Instructions

1. Combine taco seasoning with cooked lentils in a bowl.

2. Place lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and any other toppings in their own bowls.

3. Fill a taco shell with lentils and toppings of your choosing – let everyone fill up their own taco.

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