A healthy diet should include pulses and legumes, but many people avoid them as they have no idea how to cook and serve them. These unique lentil recipes will introduce you to these healthy foods.
What are Lentils?
Lentils are part of the legume family. Like peas and beans, they grow in pods on bushy plants. Theses edible pulses are high in fiber and protein, making them filling and satisfying for vegetarians, vegans and weight-watchers. Lentils are also low in fat with zero cholesterol and are packed with nutrients including iron, phosphorus, potassium and folate.
As a guide, half a cup of cooked lentils contains 115 calories, 8 grams fiber, 9 grams of protein and 365 mg potassium.
Warm Shrimp and Lentil Salad
Boil one cup green (Puy) lentils with celery, one chopped onion, one sliced carrot, bay leaf, thyme sprigs and two garlic cloves in three cups water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 8 large shrimp in a bowl with one tablespoon olive oil and a sprig of crushed thyme, Marinate for 15 minutes then cook for 4-5 minutes until opaque. Drain lentils and discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Mix warm lentils with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Divide between four serving bowls, top each with two cooked shrimp and enjoy!
Tip! This warm lentil salad is also delicious served with salmon or seared pork chops.
Sausage and Lentil Cassoulet
Cassoulet is a popular French casserole of lentils and meat, in this case Toulouse sausages and cooked shredded smoked duck.
Fry the sausages in hot olive oil until brown. Add a chopped onion, garlic clove, 5 ounces chopped smoky bacon, one sliced carrot, one celery stick, ½ leek, one bay leaf and 2 teaspoons ground cumin and cook for 2 minutes. Add 10 ounces Puy lentils, 6 fluid ounces red wine, one pint meat stock and the shredded duck meat (about 8 ounces) to the pan. Cook 30 minutes before stirring in 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar. Serve topped with fresh parsley and a side of mashed potato.
Smoked Trout Lentil Salad
Fry one red onion in a tablespoon olive oil with a clove of crushed garlic. Cook 4 ounces (dry weight) Puy lentils and 4 ounces split yellow peas as per packet instructions. Drain and combine in a saucepan over a gentle heat with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, 1½ fluid ounces walnut oil, 3 ounces chopped walnuts or pecans, 1 tablespoon chopped mint, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and divide between four serving dishes. Top with a hot smoked trout fillet, a sprig of watercress and a dollop of sour cream.
As these tasty and unique lentil recipes show, there’s no mystery to cooking lentils and they add a new dimension to your healthy wholesome cooking.