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Lentils, Brown or Green


Unlike beans, lentils have no sulfur and so produce very little wind.  Lentils have a mild diuretic action, are neutral in thermal properties, and benefit the heart and circulatory systems.  They increase kidney vitality.  Lentils rank just under soy as the top legume protein source.  Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol, to control insulin and blood sugar, and to lower blood pressure; they contain neutraceuticals that inhibit cancer.  In addition, they help regulate colon function and may help in the prevention of hemorrhoids.  Lentils are high in calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous, chlorine, vitamin A, manganese, folate, thiamin, and dietary fiber.  Lentils are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

FUN FACT Though hardly used in Western diets, lentils are perfect for high nutritional yields on a budget. They are so high in protein and energy producing nutrients that a Canadian firm is working on putting a lentil sports energy bar together. Canadian studies on athletes proved they performed better with more endurance after eating lentil dishes than pasta. (Natural News)
 
PREPARATION  One cup of dry beans makes four average servings, either in a bean dish or in a soup.  Spread out the measured beans so that you can poke through them pick out any extraneous materials, especially any small pebbles.  Unless the beans are unusually dirty, they'll need just one rinsing to remove storage dust.  Cover the beans in a pot or pan with water, stir them around by hand and pour the water off.  Now the beans are ready for soaking or cooking.

SOAKING   Beans absorb water rather reluctantly.  Soaking them in water before cooking reduces the cooking time by 30 min. if simmering, and by 5 min. if pressure cooking.  Some may say you don't need to soak lentils
-but it helps ensure more even cooking and eased digestion, so it's recommended. Have water cover the beans by a couple of inches when soaking starts.  The beans can be soaked overnight or during the day, 3-8 hours or longer.  In very hot weather keep the soaking beans in a cool place or they will tend to sour.

SIMPLE FROM SCRATCH
As a rule, no salt is added until the beans are soft, since salt tends to draw the moisture out of things. Remember, beans take time, or pressure, to cook.
If presoaked, pressure cook lentils for 10 min. at 15 lbs. pressure.
If not presoaked, add 5 min. cooking time at 15 lbs. pressure.
For cooking without pressure, if presoaked, bring to boiling, then simmer lentils 1 hour.
If not presoaked, add 30 min. to cooking time.
You may also add presoaked lentils to a soup pot or rice.
(Tassajara Cooking: Norval Delwyn Carlson)


 

Susan Nikseresht’s Lentil Soup Recipe 

 

In this recipe, you can use red rice, wild rice or brown rice, half the amount of lentil that you decide to use.

 

Cook lentils and rice together with the vegetable stock or water (whichever you prefer).

Meanwhile, cut onion and garlic into small pieces. Saute onion in a frying pan with coconut oil till golden, then add garlic and saute one or two mins. Add a spoonful of tumeric and a spoon of cumin (preferably powdered) and salt/ pepper to taste. Set aside. Add shredded cabbage and seaweed to the lentil and rice after rice/lentil are cooked if you like your vegetables crunchy when you serve. Add the mixture of fried onion and spices. Wait for 5 to 6 minutes and stir well. Garnish with chopped parsley and/or basil and cayenne. Sprinkle fresh lemon juice on top before you bring it to the table. You can also add some butter at the end to melt in the pot before serving. Enjoy and don’t forget to thank God.



North African Lentil Soup

1 cup lentils
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
1 cup diced tomatoes with juice
8 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Rinse lentils several times in cold water, setting aside to drain. Heat garlic in olive oil in large saucepan, being careful not to scorch garlic.  Add onion and saffron and cook, stirring, until onions are tender (add a few drops of water if onions try to stick).  Add carrots, celery, and turnip, cooking 10 minutes over low heat.  Add lentils, broth, tomatoes, and parsley.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.  Simmer over low heat 1 1/2 hours until lentils are tender and broth is slightly thickened.  Add lemon juice just before serving.

Curried Lentils with Coconut Milk
1 pound lentils (about 2 1/2 cups)

1 tsp turmeric
5 cups water
2 ounces ghee or butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 tsp curry powder
4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 can coconut milk

Rinse the lentils and pick over for any stones or dirt. Dissolve the turmeric in the stock and combine with the lentils in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until the lentils are just tender. Stir occasionally.

Heat the ghee or butter in a small skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Saute until soft, then add the garlic and curry powder. Cooking, stirring constantly, until the spices are very fragrant and the flavors are married. Stir this mixture into the cooking lentils, and add the chopped tomato with a pinch of salt. Continue simmering until the lentils are done, then season to taste.

Add the coconut milk and stir well until heated through. Serve with rice or naan bread.


Lentils with Spinach and Ginger

1 cup lentils washed and picked over
3 cups water
6 T veg oil
1-2 hot green chillies finely sliced
1 t finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 c well-packed chopped fresh cilantro
1-1/4 lb fresh spinach chopped
1 tsp salt (more to taste)
black pepper
2 T fresh lemon juice (or more)

Bring lentils to boil in water, then cover and gently simmer on low for 1 hour.

Heat oil in large pot, put in chillies and ginger, stir and fry for 10 seconds. Add fresh cilantro and spinach , stir and cook until wilted. Put in cooked lentils and salt, stir to mix and bring to  simmer. Cover and cook gently for 25 minutes. Add pepper and lemon juice, cook uncovered a few more minutes. Delicious with dollop of yogurt.


Esau's Pottage (Basic) serves 4
1 C. lentils
2 veggie bouillon cubes (personally prefer Rapunzel brand, the one with herbs)
1 C. sautéed yellow onions
3 T. toasted sesame oil
1/4- 1/2 tsp. salt.
 
Preferably soak the lentils overnight. Drain well, bring to boil and cook until til just tender. meanwhile, saute the onions, and put them in a covered baking dish. Drain the lentils, reserving the liquid for later use, (eg. to make rice etc.) Combine all ingredients and bake at 325 for about one hour. Yum!
 
Variations
Saute the onion with cumin seed, a bit of cayenne, and assorted chopped veggies: carrots, parsnips, broccoli, are all good; you will need a bit more oil of course. The oil you use will also vary the flavor-- olive is very nice, ghee is lovely. Also, the shorter or longer you cook the onion will vary the flavor of the dish a lot--you may choose to cook until sweet and golden before adding the veggies, or put them all in together for a stronger onion flavor.
 
After you've added the veggies, anywhere from 1/2 to 1-1/2 tsp. of any, all, or some of the following herbs: thyme, rosemary, turmeric, marjoram, basil, sage etc. (I usu. do thyme, rosemary and turmeric.)
If you choose to do leafy greens which also do very well, like kale or spinach, then add some coriander powder and ginger, and do not saute: just put them in the casserole uncooked.
 
Bake as above, with a little liquid added--not to much or it'll dilute flavor. Bury the greens a bit in other veggies or they may singe.
 

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