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20 Jul 2006

Versatile Green Lentils

Lentils are one of the oldest cultivated legumes and evidence has been found of them being around for over 6,000 years ago. The main three types generally available are red, brown and green lentils.

I have found that the green lentils are most useful as they do not have to be soaked and take only 20 minutes to cook. There are also many brands of organic green lentils on the market which is a big plus.

Green lentils are very nutritious and are high in soluble fiber so are easily digestible. They contain vitamin B1, B2 and B6, calcium, iron and complex carbohydrates. They are low in sugar and sodium, high in protein and are a low glycemic index food. Lentils are also great when trying to trim down as they make you feel full longer, thus keeping you from overeating and snacking between meals.

They can be stored for up to a year before becoming very dry and taking longer to cook. Once cooked they can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and frozen for up to 6 months.

They are wonderful to make burgers, cottage pie, in soups and stews and in salad...a useful, versatile plant protein.

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Recipes of the day

Green Lentils
from Chefs.com

1 tbsp canola oil
1 onion cooked and chopped
1 carrot cooked and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic minced
3-1/2 cups water or unsalted vegetable stock
1-1/2 cups lentils rinsed

Heat oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sauté onion, carrot, bay leaf and garlic 3-4 minutes, or until onion softens. Add water and lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover partially and simmer 45-50 minutes, until lentils are soft, skimming foam as it rises. Remove bay leaf and season with sea salt to taste. It is important that you wait to salt until lentils are fully cooked. Otherwise the skins will not soften. This basic recipe can be used to create cooked lentils for burgers and loafs, casseroles and stews, salads, pates and dips or thinned with vegetable stock for soup. Serves: 6

Lentil and Leek Risotto
from VRG

2 cups well-scrubbed leeks, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups vegetable broth or water
1-1/4 cups brown rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of basil
1 cup pre-cooked lentils
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely grated carrots

In a 4-quart deep pot with cover, sauté leeks, garlic, and red pepper in oil. When soft, add broth or water, and stir in rice along with seasonings. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 40 minutes or until rice is done. Uncover, stir in cooked lentils and re-heat until piping hot. Garnish with parsley and grated carrot before serving.

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2 comments:

KleoPatra said...

I love lentils and thank you for the info about 'em. This recipe with risotto looks tremendous! Thanks, Jackie!

DH said...

Just wanted to say hello to a fellow vegan. There cannot be enough of us!! (Not until my dream of a vegan planet comes true, that is!)

I make a (green) lentil soup of some kind almost weekly. But I've recently fallen head over heels for red lentils. The way they completely turn into mush makes them perfect for a variety of applications. I add it to my homemade marinara sauce and you'd never know it was there. I used this sneaky sauce on vegan pizza for my visiting step-kids and they loved it.

By the way, I'd love to trade links with you. Let me know. All the best, D