There are some foods that you like but you don’t necessarily realize are good for you until you take a closer look. One such food that is good for you, that tastes great, and is an excellent way to round out a meal is lentils. They may not be part of your meal plan yet, but you will soon see why they belong there!
Lentils are delicious and have many of the same nutritional characteristics as beans or seeds. They are full of nutrients and give you everything you need in just one serving. They are also versatile enough to add to nearly any meal – you can enjoy them alone or you can use them as part of a healthy side dish. There are several varieties of lentils, you can enjoy them hot or cold, and they can help to really complete a meal for a satisfying twist. It’s time to start celebrating and enjoying lentils!
Using Lentils to Lower Cholesterol and Get Healthier
When you start trying to really understand the appeal of lentils, it boils down to their nutritional benefits. They are loaded with all the things you need in a healthy and balanced diet – they are high in protein, rich in fiber, and full of important vitamins and minerals. They help you to feel satisfied for longer and therefore naturally suppress your appetite due to their high fiber content.
The benefits don’t end there though because eating lentils on a regular basis can help to naturally lower your cholesterol. They can contribute to heart health and may aid with long-term weight loss, plus they are very low in calories and virtually fat-free. There is no disputing that lentils are nutritional powerhouses which can help you to reach your weight loss goals!
As they help you to feel satisfied, their high nutritional content also helps you to get healthier. The benefits are far too great to ignore, so it’s time to look at how you can enjoy them in your diet each day.
Recipes to Help You Love Lentils
You might not have ever considered eating lentils as a source of protein. Once you see just how many benefits there are to these legumes, however, you will be convinced. You will also love their taste and how versatile they are in any recipe.
These two recipes can help to highlight lentils and give you some great idea starters. They can be the main source of protein or make for a fantastic side dish.
- 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 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups dry lentils
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender.
- Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes.
- Bring to a boil then 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.
Cold Lentil Salad with Cucumbers and Olives
- 2 cups French lentils
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium cucumbers, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 1 cup ricotta or feta cheese
- Combine the lentils, garlic, and bay leaves in a large pot and cover with water by 2 inches.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until just tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain the water and pull out the garlic and bay leaves. Refrigerate until cold.
- While the lentil are chilling, make the vinaigrette.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, salt, and vinegar.
- Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly until the dressing has emulsified.
- Combine the lentils, cucumbers, olives, and mint in a large bowl.
- Pour over the vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat.
- Dot with ricotta or crumbled feta just before serving.