Food Item of The Week: Lentils

Lentils are not only tasty, they are an incredible nutritionally dense food.  

 

 

The health benefits include: 

 

  • Lentils contain high levels of proteins, including the and essential amino acids acidsisoleucine and lysine, and are an essential source of inexpensive protein

  • Lentils are low on the glycemic index; meaning they will not cause your blood sugar to spike

  • Lentils boost satiety levels; keeping you fuller, longer and less likely to over eat

  • This satiety is due to their fiber content.  Lentils contain, on average, 15 grams of fiber per cup! This is more than half your daily allowance of 25 grams

  • Lentils are such a versatile food they can be used in soups, salads, spreads, and dips

  • Apart from high levels of proteins and fiber, lentils also contain plentiful amounts of folate, iron, Vitamin B1, and various minerals.

  • Green lentils are higher in fiber (31%) versus their red (or pink) counterparts (11%)

  • Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods.

  • Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice, which results in a complete protein dish.

  • In several tribal areas of Inner Mongolia, a salve made from lentils, coriander, and cumin is used as a folk remedy for infertility.

  • here are plenty of ways to cook lentils, but my favorite is to use them in chili!

 

Turkey Lentil Chili Recipe:

 

2 cups dry lentils

2 quarts vegetable broth

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 LB turkey sausage

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Sea salt to taste

1 (8 ounce) container plain non-fat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish

 

DIRECTIONS: Makes 12 servings

  1. Bring lentils and vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, onion, celery, and sausage; cook and stir until the sausage is crumbly and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, turmeric, cumin, thyme, and red pepper flakes; cook 5 minutes more.
  3. Stir the sausage mixture into the simmering lentils. Continue simmering until the lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Garnish each serving with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped parsley to serve. 
NutritionAshley Pettit