Lentils are a super healthy and super cheap ingredient. Lentils are a type of pulse along with beans and chickpeas. The word pulse is used to describe the edible seed of legumes. They are a staple in many different cuisines across the world
They are a great addition to soups, stews, salads, curries, pasta dishes and can be used to make vegan burger patties.
Cooking lentils is really easy, simply boil them in water like rice! if there is still some water left drain it with a strainer.
Types of lentils
There’re many different varieties of lentils each with different properties. Some keep their shape better when cooked than others and they may also vary slightly in taste. This quick guide will help you decide which kind of lenses will work best in what you are cooking so whether you want to add them to a soup or a salad you can make the right choice.
Usually just referred to as ‘lentils’, brown lentils are the most common lentil variety found in the shops. They keep their shape well when cooked and they have a delicate earthy flavour. They are good in most dishes but they make a great addition to salads, stews and chunky soups!
Similar to brown lentils, green lentils keep their shape well but have a stronger, heartier flavour making them stand out more in dishes. They range in colour from pale to dark green and they come in various different sizes. They are nice in salads and go great in chillis or tossed with roasted vegetables like courgettes and sweet potatoes.
Red Lentils / Yellow Lentils
With colour ranging from a dark red to orange and pale yellow colour these lentils a slightly sweet taste. Red/ Yellow lentils are also referred to as ‘split lentils’, as they do not keep their shape well when cooked. This characteristic makes them perfect for incorporating them into a soup or a sauce as they blend easily. They are also commonly used in curries like dhal.
Black Beluga Lentils
This lentil variety gets its name from its visual resemblance in shape to beluga caviar when cooked. They have a robust earthy flavour and they tend to keep their shape well. They make a great base for salads both warm and cold.
Puy lentils are also referred to as french lentils. They can only be grown in the region Le Puy in central France in volcanic soil. They have a dark green colour and have a deliciously rich flavour.
Lentil Nutritional Information
Lentils are an amazing nutrient-dense food with a ton of health benefits! They are a rich source of protein and amino acids which is great if you are trying to build muscle. Lenrles are packed with Iron and zinc, which is particularly good for people following a vegan diet
They have a high amount of folate (vitamin B9). Folate helps your body make new red blood cells. They are also a super-rich in fibre which helps with digestion.
Lentils are a slow-release carbohydrate. Fast-release carbs, cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Slow-release carbs provide a more gradual release of energy helping you to sustain energy levels for longer periods of time. This can aid weight loss as it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, preventing overeating.
Lentils are naturally gluten-free and they contain about 116 calories per 100g of boiled lentils.
Recipe suggestions: Spiced pepper pilafs, Tagliatelle with vegetable ragù, Lentil ragù