Lentils and Delicious Summer Salad Ideas
2016 is the year of the pulses such as lentils, chickpeas and beans. It’s been a while since all the buzz so it’s time to revisit the delicious lentil and its’ health benefits and wonderfully delicious uses.
1/2 cup cooked lentils contains 8g fibre.
Including fibre in a heart healthy diet can help lower cholesterol levels.
Lentils also contain 9 g protein per ½ cup.
Protein foods provide the amino acids needed for muscle growth and tissue repair. There are 20g of carbohydrates in ½ cup cooked lentils. Protein along with fibre helps lower the glycemic index of lentils to 22 which makes it a very low GI food. These 2 nutrients also help fill you up which can help reduce total calorie intake and help you lose weight.
Buying Lentils: Look for them in the ethnic foods or canned food section of the grocery store. Dried lentils can last 1 year in a sealed container. After this date they are still good to eat but become dryer and may take longer to cook. Canned lentils should be rinsed to remove 65% of the sodium.
Cooking lentils: Do not soak lentils, simply rinse, place in a pot 3:1 water: lentil and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Never add salt to the cooking water as this will make them chewy and tough. Keep cooked lentils for up to 1 week in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. Cooked lentils can also be drained and blended into a puree and used for added protein and fibre in muffin mixes, soups and smoothies. You can also sprout your lentils by soaking them overnight then rinse, drain and repeat 3 times per day for 2-3 days. Add sprouted lentils to salads, bread or granola.
Delicious summer salad combinations:
• Lentils, bell peppers, BBQ corn, green onion, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice
• Sugar snap pea and lentil salad with radishes, arugula, green onions and sunflower seeds
• Greek lentil salad with tomato, cucumber, feta and olives
• Barley and lentil salad with kale or spinach, apple, feta and red onion
For more delicious lentil recipes go to www.lentils.ca