Food of the Month: Lentils

Lentils seem to be popping up everywhere. You can find these trendy legumes in gluten-free pastas, chips and even pet foods. Lentils are small, round legumes (seeds that grow in pods). They come in a variety of colors and sizes and have been a staple in vegan and Indian cuisines for years. Lentils are not only affordable, they are also a low-fat and nutrient-dense food. Lentils provide a lot of health benefits and can easily be incorporated into your diet in many ways. 


Why Eat Lentils

One cup of lentils contains 50% or more of the recommended daily intake of five vitamins and minerals! Lentils are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help reduce cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain healthy bowel function. They are high in protein, low in fat and one cup of lentils is only 230 calories. Now that’s a bargain!

How to Eat Lentils

Cooked: Place lentils in a bowl. Cover with two inches of water and a splash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and let soak for eight to 12 hours. The lemon juice or vinegar helps break down phytic acid and make the nutrients in lentils more available! Drain and rinse the lentils. Add to saucepan and cover with water or broth. Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until lentils are tender.

In Salad: Drain lentils, toss with olive oil, chopped carrot, celery and red onion. Season to taste with thyme, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

In Stew: In a large pan, sauté a chopped onion, celery and carrots in a tablespoon of coconut or avocado oil. Stir in cooked lentils and broth. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Denver Health Medical Plan Staff Writer