Lentils Recipe & Nutrition | Precision Nutrition's Encyclopedia of Food

Lentils

Lentils

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At a Glance

Lentils are a type of legume that have a rich and nutty flavor. The most common varieties in North America are brown, green, and red. Lentils are highly nutritious: they contain generous amounts of protein, slow-digesting carbohydrates, and fiber. They are also a good source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, and vitamins like folate, niacin, and vitamin E. Lentils are sold dried or canned; both will store well for long periods of time. Lentils are great in soups, stews, curries, casseroles, or as a side dish.

Overview

Lentils are a type of legume that have a rich and nutty flavor. They grow in pods that contain one or two seeds each.

Identification

There are several different lentil varieties. All varieties are fairly small, growing to no more than ¼ of an inch in diameter. Lentils can be round, oval, or heart shaped, and colored brown, black, green, red, or orange. The most common varieties in North America are brown, green, and red. Brown and green lentils tend to hold their shape best when cooked.

Nutrition Info

One cup of cooked lentils has about 230 calories, 17.9g of protein, 39.9g of carbohydrates, 15.6g of fiber, 3.6g of sugar, and 0.8g of fat.

Lentils are rich in folate, niacin, and vitamin E. They are also a good source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Selection

Lentils are sold dried or canned and you’ll find them in your grocery store or health food store. When selecting lentils, make sure that their packaging is not damaged. For dried lentils, you also want to make sure that no moisture has seeped into the packaging.

Storage

Dried and canned lentils can be stored in your cupboard for up to a year.

Cooked lentils can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Cooked lentils can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months, but note that freezing them might affect their texture when reheated.

Preparation

To prepare canned lentils, simply open the can, pour them into a strainer, and then rinse the lentils very well. You can then use the lentils as directed by your recipe, or add them to any dish for extra flavor, texture, and nutrition.

To prepare dried lentils, put them into a strainer and rinse them very well. Next, add 1.5 cups of water to a pot for every 1 cup of dried lentils that you want to cook. Bring the water to a boil and add the lentils. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the lentils until they are tender. Green and brown lentils take approximately 45 minutes to cook while red lentils take only 25.

Fun fact: Unlike most other beans or legumes, dried lentils do not require soaking before cooking. So if you’re in a hurry, lentils are your friend.

Recipe: Lentil and Turkey Casserole

Lentils

This twist on classic shepherds pie is sure to please. Enjoy as a meal or snack.

Ingredients

 
TOP:
cauliflower, steamed (500g)
4 cups
white potatoes
4 large
salt & pepper
to taste
 
 
 
BOTTOM:
carrots, peeled, chopped
4 - 5 large
sweet onion, chopped
1/2
lentils, rinsed
1 can
turkey, ground
0.4 - 0.5kg
peas, frozen, thawed
1 cup
corn, frozen, thawed
1 cup
eggs
3
veggie spice mix
to taste

Directions

Prep Time: 30 minutes   Cook Time: 80 minutes   Yield: 12-14 pieces

Top Layer:

Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring to a boil. As you wait for the water to boil, wash and cut your potatoes in half.  Once the water is boiling, put the potatoes into the pot and reduce the heat of the burner slightly. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft when poked with a fork.

While the potatoes are boiling, wash 4 cups of cauliflower and steam it using a steamer or a steam basket over boiling water. Steam until very soft (10-15 minutes). If you prefer to use frozen cauliflower, empty a 500g bag of frozen cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8-10 minutes.

Once the potatoes and cauliflower are ready, put them both into your blender or food processor. Add a hint of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside for later.

 

Bottom Layer:

Put the chopped onion, chopped carrots, and turkey into a large french skillet over medium to high heat. Stir continuously using a spatula. Once the turkey is cooked through (no more red) add the peas, corn, lentils, and spices to the skillet and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the burner and add three eggs. Stir contents of skillet until the eggs are completely mixed in.

 

Assembly:

Pour the contents of the skillet into a 9”x 13” rectangular baking dish and spread out evenly.  Pour the potato + cauliflower purée on top and spread evenly. Bake in 350F oven for 35-40 minutes or until top layer is beginning to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Store leftovers in fridge.

Enjoy!

 

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At a Glance

Lentils are a type of legume that have a rich and nutty flavor. The most common varieties in North America are brown, green, and red. Lentils are highly nutritious: they contain generous amounts of protein, slow-digesting carbohydrates, and fiber. They are also a good source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, and vitamins like folate, niacin, and vitamin E. Lentils are sold dried or canned; both will store well for long periods of time. Lentils are great in soups, stews, curries, casseroles, or as a side dish.