and how to cook them
When it comes to tasty, nutritious, versatile, and budget-friendly food, it’s hard to beat lentils. These legumes have been around for thousands of years, providing sustenance to countless people around the globe. They’re rich in minerals, iron, zinc, and other essential nutrients, making them an ideal addition to a healthy diet. If you’ve never cooked with lentils before, or if you’re looking to explore different recipes, this guide to cooking with lentils will get you started on the right foot.
Let’s start by discussing the types of lentils and their nutritional information. The most common varieties of lentils are brown, green, red, yellow, and black. Brown lentils are the most versatile and work well in most any type of dish. They’re also the most nutritious of the bunch and are high in dietary fiber, protein, and iron. Green lentils are similar to brown lentils in texture, but have a stronger flavor. Red lentils are best for soups and Purees, as they tend to break down when cooked. Yellow and black lentils are great for salads and pasta dishes, adding a pop of color and flavor.
In addition to their versatility, lentils are also incredibly simple to prepare. The key is to soak them before cooking to help soften their outer shell and to reduce their cooking time. Fortunately, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to soaking lentils - anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours will do the job.
Once your lentils are soaked, it’s time to cook them. It’s best to start by rinsing them again before cooking to remove any dirt or debris. The cooking time for lentils can vary depending on the variety, so for best results, it’s important to follow the directions on the package. Generally, it’s best to simmer lentils on the stovetop in plenty of water. Or, you can use a pressure cooker, which cuts down on cooking time significantly.
So now that the lentils are cooked, what do you do with them? Well, the possibilities are practically endless. Lentils make an excellent base for a veggie burger, a hearty winter stew, or even a savory lasagna. You can also toss cooked lentils into a salad, puree them into a dip, or enjoy them as a side dish. Just make sure to add some salt, pepper, or other spices to really bring out the flavor.
Finally, lentils are incredibly easy to store, making them a great pantry staple. Cooked lentils will stay fresh in the fridge for up to five days, and dry lentils can last up to a year when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
So the next time you’re looking for a nutritious and delicious meal, consider cooking up some lentils. Not only are they nutritious and versatile, but they’re also one of the most budget-friendly foods out there. With a few simple ingredients, you can easily create a satisfying and delicious meal for the whole family – and all for a fraction of the cost of other proteins and grains.