Lentils: The Healthy, Frugal Food

Sadly, Americans are often limited in their palette of healthy foods. The recent budget crisis which has affected so many households, has had the one happy effect of encouraging people to cook at home rather than eat fast food. Lentils are one of the foods that the United States is rediscovering.

Lentils have been popular in Indian food and other eastern countries for thousands of years. Here in the United States, vegetarians and frugal shoppers have known the benefits of lentils, but many people have never even tried them, let alone added them to their regular diet.

Lentils are a legume-like beans peas and soybeans and peanuts-and are often used as a meant substitute due to their high protein content, around 26%. In fact the only legume to beat them in the protein game are soybeans. In addition they are high in other vitamins and minerals such as B1, folate, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and dietary fiber, just to name a few. For a good look at what the tiny but mighty lentil has to offer, check out http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=43 .

Not only are these tiny little guys good for you, but they are surprisingly easy to cook and very tasty, going well in a cornucopia of different dishes. Many vegans and vegetarians use lentils as a meat substitute, cooking them in lentil loafs and burgers, as well as stews and soups.

Most varieties of lentils don’t need to be soaked overnight like dried beans do, and are very easy to prepare, much like cooking rice, though the time is a little longer. They keep very well, as most dried legumes do, and can be used, stored and used again throughout the months after the initial purchase. One can also purchase red and black lentils, but they are not as readily available as are the brown and green.

Image via Wikipedia

Speaking of purchase, the next reason to add the lentil to your shopping list is the price. The common brown/green lentil often found in American grocery stores is generally under a dollar a bag. One bag will make more than one meal for the typical family, and can be used in a variety of ways. My favorite way to cook lentils is in soups and stews that can boil away in the crock pot or simmer on the stove. They add texture and flavor, and take on the flavors of whatever you are cooking very well. A frugal, healthy purchase for the careful shopper.

Check out some recipes for lentils at slowcooking located at http://www.justslowcooking.com/inxlen.html

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RSSComments: 15  |  Post a Comment
  1. nice information !
    remember.. junk food is harming.

  2. and i think …Frugal Food is not a junk food.
    that’s good.

  3. Nice share.

  4. Great share

  5. I cook!

  6. Am not used to lentils, but l enjoy the information provided on it. Thanks for the share.

  7. Nice Share.

    :-)

  8. Clicked I Like it..

    good info I do the cooking at home and we are eating more lentils now than before. Thanks for this reminder that not only are they healthy, but frugal too. More environmentally friendly than meat, and you can grow some yourself

  9. Thanks for the reminder. Great in winter soups.

  10. Thanks for sharing

  11. It’s not one of my favorite legumes, but I agree that they are very healthy.

  12. Nicely done. Thanks for the info. keep it up your good work! :)

  13. Agreed – buying bags of dried beans (lentils, black beans, whatever) is one of the easiest ways to eat a nutritious diet & save a ton of money

  14. As you say here in India, lentils are an essential part of the diet and the main provider of protein. Especially for Vegetarians like me. Easy to cook and great in taste. Good share!

  15. nice one

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