Lentils may not seem like the most appetizing thing to eat, but let’s face it: sometimes we don’t have the means to make a super expensive meal for our glorious families. Sometimes we don’t have the time to make something fancy. But I can guarantee that you can afford to buy lentils and still prepare a delicious and intriguing dinner for your family. Not only are lentils one of the cheapest things to get in the grocery store their also pretty healthy. Lentils have the following health benefits:
1) Lower Cholesterol: Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fiber. Lowering your cholesterol levels reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by keeping your arteries clean.
2) Heart Health: Several studies have shown that eating high fiber foods like lentils reduces your risk of heart disease. Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health. Folate lowers your homocysteine levels, a serious risk factor for heart disease. Magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with heart disease, so eating lentils will keep your heart happy!
3) Stabilized Blood Sugar: Adding to the many benefits of fiber, soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This can be especially helpful for those with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.
4) Increases Energy: Lentils increase steady, slow-burning energy due its fiber and complex carbohydrates. Lentils are also a good source of iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body and is key to energy production and metabolism.
5) Good Protein: Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein. 26% of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein, which makes them a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
6) Digestive Health – Insoluble dietary fiber found in lentils helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
7) Weight Loss – Although lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat. One cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, but still leaves you feeling full and satisfied.
(Lentil health benefits source: Mind Body Green)
So as you can see, lentil’s really are a super food. For how much their worth, it’s a total deal. A delicious super food that you can buy organically for a low price? Yeah, I’ll take ten. But making lentils taste good isn’t too hard either. Below is a list of amazing recipes that I have tried to make lentils into something special.
1) Slow Cooker Lentil and Black Bean Soup — Natural Winners
2) Sausage, Kale, and Lentil Soup — Food.com
3) Spiced Lentil, Sweet Potato & Kale Whole Wheat Pockets — The Kitchn
4) Lentil Tacos — Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes
5) Sloppy Lentil Joes — Passionate Homemaking
6) Sprouted Lentil Salad — Real Food Eater
7) Lentil Burgers — Eating Well
8) Lentil and Quinoa Chili — Food.com
9) French Lentil and Swiss Chard Risotto — Martha Stewart
10) Asian Cabbage Rolls with Spicy Lentils — Batter Licker
11) Red Lentil Hummus — Chow
12) Brown Rice and Lentil Casserole — In Mama’s Kitchen
13) Lentil Potato Pancakes — Authentic Russian Cuisine
14) Lentil Walnut Pate — The Bojon Gourmet
15) Lentil Quiche — Allrecipes
16) Lentil Cookies — Cooking Channel
17) Vegetarian Lentil Loaf — Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
18) Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls — Food Network
19) Lentil and Tuna Salad — New York Times
20) Madras Lentil Curry — The Daily Green
So there you have it. A list of 20 great recipes that include lentils. If you’re trying to incorporate more lentils into your diet, try making at least one of these dishes every once in a while. Let me know which recipes you’ve tried. Have any variations for any of the recipes? Which one was your favorite?