What are Lentils?

What are lentils?

As a vegetarian, I’m often asked, “So, what do you actually eat?”

Usually my response includes a list of what I’ve eaten recently such as chickpeas, lentils and whole grain pasta. Lentils almost always make the list because I absolutely love them. Not surprisingly, I am usually faced with a blank stare.

When a friend recently told me her only experience with lentils was watching her friend’s pet ferret use them as bedding in a playpen, I knew it was time to write a post about my favorite protein-packed food.

Lentil Nutritional Information
I usually start my response with something like, “Well, they look like a tiny flat bean. But, they’re a legume.” Lentils come in several colorful varieties including brown, green and red.

This whole food provides a great source of protein, B vitamins, magnesium, iron and folate. Lentils can help lower cholesterol and regulate blood-sugar levels. Plus lentils are nearly fat-free and low in calories. One cup of cooked lentils contains just 229 calories, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods.

Cooking with Lentils
I use lentils in everything. They thicken soups and stews, mash into a fabulous meatloaf or burger-like structure and toss well in a salad. I’ve even found a brownie recipe using lentils that I’m dying to try.

Next time you want to try a meatless meal, use cooked lentils in lieu of ground beef. The tiny little legumes tend to take on the flavor of other foods in the dish, making them a filling way to bulk up any recipe.

Until next time,
Choose healthy!

*This article was originally published on my first foodie blog, Whole Foods Living.

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