Lentils for Taste and Health

Lentils for Taste and Health
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Lentils are part of the legume family, which means it is a seed that grows within a pod. They are low in calories and fat plus they have no cholesterol and contain folic acid, protein, fiber and iron. It's a pretty impressive little legume! There are many varieties of lentils, but green, brown, and red are the most common types. Some of the other varieties are Beluga, which are black and tiny, French green lentils which stay firmer when cooked, Petite Crimson, which are tiny and cook in minutes, Spanish Pardina, which are brown, then there are also red, white, yellow and pink lentils. To top it off they are also inexpensive!
Lentils need a 2 to 1 ratio of liquid for cooking. Place the lentils into a pan and cover with cold water or stock. You can include onion, fresh parsley, other herbs to this. Bring the water to a boil and simmer gently for about 1 hour or until the lentils are tender. Drain and remove herbs if necessary. You can use them in recipes that call for cooked lentils or eat as a side dish. You can also add a ham bone or bacon pieces for extra flavor

Lentil Salad with Smoked Turkey


1 cup lentils, rinsed

2 cups chicken broth or water

1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon (1 tsp. dry)

11 ounces (2 cups) smoked turkey breast, cubed

1/4 cup red onion, minced

1/2 cup celery, minced

2 tbsp. fresh parsley; minced

1/4 cup regular or light mayonnaise

1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt

2 tsp. Dijon or hearty style mustard

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

salt, pepper to season

Place the lentils and chicken stock in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat-simmer until the lentils are softened but still firm to the bite, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the lentils, move to a large bowl, and cool to room temperature. Add the minced tarragon, turkey breast, red onion, celery and parsley to the cooked lentils. Mix gently. In a small bowl whisk the remaining ingredients and add to lentil mixture. Mix again lightly. Makes 6 servings.

Cream of Lentil Soup

Farm House Cookbook by Susan Herrmann


1 pound dried lentils

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 cups water

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and Pepper

Soak beans in 6 cups of water overnight; drain. Put beans, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and water to crockpot. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 8 to 10 hours. Stir in cream; add salt and pepper to taste. (Note: I don't soak my lentils first B.)

Adas Careh (Lentil Butter)

From: Vegetarian Times, March, 1992


1 cup uncooked lentils

1/2 tsp. salt

2 1/4 cups water

1 tbsp. olive oil

6 green onions, trimmed and sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 tbsp. fresh parsley

Dash of cayenne pepper and turmeric

approx. 1/4 cup water

Combine water, lentils, salt in a pot. Cook till lentils are soft. Drain, reserve stock. Heat oil in skillet and sauté onions and garlic till onions are translucent. Add parsley and spices and cook another minute. Set aside. Combine lentils, cooking water and onion mixture in a food processor, adding more water a tbsp. at a time as needed till mixture reaches a spreadable consistency. Refrigerate a few hours before serving. Spread on whole grain crackers or use as a vegetable dip.

Spinach and Lentil Soup


1 1/2 cup uncooked lentils

2 1/2 quarts water or stock

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 medium potatoes, scrubbed, diced

10 ounces spinach, washed and torn

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tsp. coriander

black pepper

Pita bread cut into wedges

Wash and drain lentils. Combine with water or broth and bring to a boil. Add salt, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion and garlic. Sauté until softened. Add the onion and garlic to the lentils. Add the potatoes, spinach, lemon juice, coriander and season with pepper. Stir to combine and then simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Add more water if desired to thin. Serve with pita wedges. Serves 8.

Dhal (Spiced Lentils)


1 1/4 cups red lentils

2 cups boiling water

1 bay leaf

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. coriander

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Wash and drain lentils. Place in a slow cooker. Add bay leaf and boiling water. Cover and cook on high for about 2 - 2 1/2 hours or until the lentils are tender and have absorbed all the water. If there is a little water remaining, remove the lid for 15 minutes or so and stir occasionally. About 20 minutes before serving, heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin and ginger and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Stir the spice and vegetable mixture into the lentils and season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Lentil Soup With Caraway


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 leeks

3/4 teaspoon ground caraway seed

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

6 cups chicken broth

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

2 parsnips, peeled, quartered and sliced thin

1/2 pound lentils, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon salt

small bunch spinach

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Trim the leeks and rinse well. Cut in half lengthwise and thinly slice. Heat oil, in a 5-qt. Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until softened. Add caraway and allspice and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, sweet potato, parsnips and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables and lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper. While this is cooking, wash and dry spinach, removing the stems and then chop leaves. Remove the pan from heat when it's finished and stir in spinach and parsley. Serves 6.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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