Lentils have been part of the Human diet since Neolithic times. Lentils were one of the first domesticated foods in the east. Archeological evidence shows lentils were eaten10, 000-13,000 years ago. Lentils come in various colors which include black, brown, green red and orange. They can also be sold in many forms, with or without skins, whole or split.
Most lentils require cooking for between 10-40 minutes depending on the variety. The traditional red lentils with the husk removed take as little as 15 minutes to cook. They are often used in Indian, Egyptian and Pakistani national cooking dishes.Europeand North and South American also use lentils in a traditional soup which can contain chicken and pork.
Lentils are one of the most nutritional low fat meals available on our planet. In fact lentils have the third highest level of protein by weight of any other legume or nut after soybeans and hemp.
The proteins include essential amino acids isoleucine and Lysine. Lentils are also a low cost source of protein compared to a meal containing meat. Lentils are only deficient in two essential amino acids which are methionine and cysteine, however sprouted lentils actually contain all the essential amino acids.
They also contain dietary fiber, iron, folate, vitamin B1, Vitamin C , calcium and lots of minerals. When mixed with grains they become a complete protein dish on their own. They in fact (100grams) can supply half a person’s daily iron allowance.
Lentils have (per 198gram serve) 39grams of carbohydrates, 1%saturated fat, 0% cholesterol, 18grams of protein, no trans fats, 16grams of fibre,
So try this recipe and start enjoying one of nature’s best foods.
- 1 cup (210g) red lentils, rinsed well
- 3cm fresh ginger, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garammarsala
- 1/2 tsp chilli
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- A pinch of salt (small)
- 1 tbs chopped coriander leaves
- Naan bread to serve with
Place lentils, ginger, bay leaves and cinnamon in a large saucepan with 3 cups of cold water. Bring to the boil; reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring to prevent sticking for 10-12 minutes. Discard spices and set aside. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, turmeric, cumin, garammarsalaand chilli and cook for a further minute or until fragrant. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with the pinch of salt.
Add the lentils to the pan and mix well. Cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Stir in coriander and serve hot with naan bread. For those who must eat meat, serve with some grilled chicken thighs or lean beef, however there is more than enough protein in the lentils for your intake at one meal.
By: John Hart
Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab)Newcastle UniversityAustralia
“Grad Cert Education”Newcastle UniversityAustralia
“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”
“Cert 4 Personal Training”
“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”
Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)