Lentil Lover

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Even though it's a million degrees in Southern California and most of the western states this week..... Hey Global Warming, you're ruining our ski bum lifestyle. We refuse to let the weather dictate our diet. We have waited all summer long for cozy meals by the fireplace and we are going to make that happen no matter what! 

As our long time readers know, Erin and I both have meatless diets so one of our favorite staples year round is the lovely little lentil. In the summer we use them chilled to hearty up any salad you can dream up, but in the winter, we like to get a little spicy! 

Here are a few facts about this little wonder food. 

100 grams (g) of cooked lentils contains:

  • 116 calories
  • 9.02 g of protein
  • 0.3 g of fat
  • 20.13 g of carbohydrates, including 7.9 g of fiber and 1.8 g of sugar

That same 100 g serving provides the following proportion of your daily intake:

  • 45 percent of folate
  • 36 percent of iron
  • 70 percent of manganese
  • 28 percent of phosphorus
  • 58 percent of thiamin
  • 14 percent of potassium
  • 127 percent of vitamin B6

So basically for a totally affordable price, you are getting priceless amounts of health benefits! 

They are good for your heart, they contain fiber, selenium, calcium, potassium & magnesium and believe it or not 1 cup of lentils has 90% of the folate requirements for your day.... So pregnant ladies, you especially need to be gorging on lentils! 

Here are the basics of cooking lentils... 

There are four main types of lentils:

  • Brown lentils are the cheapest and soften the most upon cooking. They are best used in soups and stews.
  • Green lentils have a nuttier flavor. They stay firm when cooked and make good salad or taco toppers.
  • Red lentils have a milder taste. They are used in Indian dals and purees.
  • Black lentils are also known as beluga lentils, as they look like caviar when cooked.

Unlike dried beans, lentils do not require soaking. Rinse away any dirt from the lentils and discard any damaged lentils or foreign material.

Place the lentils into a pot and add 2 cups of water.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer to desired tenderness, typically about 15 to 20 minutes. One cup of dried lentils will swell to 2 cups when cooked.

But we never sit well with basics, so here are a few of our current favorite lentil recipes. 

Have we told you before that Minimalist Baker is saved right at the top of our favorites page on safari? Well, she is and this 30-minute Morroccan Spiced Lentils recipe is a good reason why. 

 Minimalistbaker.com

Minimalistbaker.com

Any time you get to bust out the food processor you know it's been a good day. Lets say that you don't have time for a food processor today, or really for anything more then throwing a few easy things into a pan and heating it up. we got you. 

While not nearly as fancy as our dear Minimalist baker, we are going to share with you one of our favorite go-to Trader Joe's mash ups. In fact I do make this quite a bit in the summer a a salad topper, but also love it over a bowl of quinoa. 

Heres the deal you grab these items next time you hit Traders. 

1. Bruschetta 2. Organic Spinach 3. Organic white beans 4. Steamed Lentils

Now that you have the ingredients, here is a heads up. I am a GREAT cook (not bragging because it's true) but I am a horrible recipe giver. Because cooking to me is like art, you just have to feel it.  That being said, forgive me for this loose recipe. 

1. Grab a skillet

2. Heat the pan on stove top

3. Throw in some olive oil

4. Add the lentils

5. Drain and add the white beans

6. Add some salt, pepper & garlic powder if you have it

7. Pour in the bruschetta 

8. Let simmer and stir

9. When everything seems good and mixed up 

10. Toss in some spinach and cover the skillet with a lid for about 2-3 mins to wilt the spinach. 

11. Remove from flame and voila! 

Delicious served all alone or as hearty side dish. 

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Eat up! 

xoxo- M & E