This is a great recipe to keep in the kitchen since most of the ingredients are shelf-stable and can be readily available when you need to pull together a quick meal. I like to serve this with basmati rice, although any grain will work. This has a very mild flavor; we made it for dinner last night and my son ate some for breakfast this morning.
Lentils have the third-highest level of protein by weight, (30% of their calories) of any legume or nut, so if you are trying to find a good non-animal source of protein this is it. Serve it over some quinoa which contains all nine of the essential amino acids and you have great protein packed meal!
What I love most about lentils is that they are very quick & easy to prepare. They absorb the entire flavor from the food and seasonings that they are prepared with, so they are always quite tasty in any recipe. They are high in nutritional value and are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber; both soluble and insoluble. They also have the special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as lentils, helps prevent heart disease. The high magnesium content places another check in the column of its beneficial cardiovascular effects. Lentils’ contribution to heart health lies not just in their fiber, but in the significant amounts of folate and magnesium these tender little morsels supply.
Lentils provide a steady, slow-burning energy and can also increase your energy by kicking up your iron stores. One cup of lentils provides approximately 35% of your Daily Value of iron so they provide an extremely healthy option since, unlike red meat, they are not high in fat & calories.
Want to show your heart some love? Cook up some lentils!
- 1 cup of red lentils, rinsed in cool water*
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 bay leaf ** see note below
- 4- 4 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 Tbs. ghee or unsalted butter
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated
- 1 Tbs. chili powder
- 1 15 ounce can of tomatoes, chopped or 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1/4 coconut milk
- 3 cups of chopped greens (collards, dandelion or spinach) – optional
- l/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves
- plain yogurt- optional
- In a medium pot combine the lentils, bay leaf and turmeric with 4 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- While the lentils are cooking, heat oil and ghee over medium heat.
- Add onion and saute until browned, about 10 minutes.
- Stir the ginger & chili powder into the onions. Add tomatoes and salt and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf. Stir the lentils with the broth and coconut milk into the skillet & simmer for 5 minutes. If it needs a little more broth add it now- it should be a bit soupy.
- If adding greens, stir them in and simmer gently until wilted and heated through.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves. Add a small dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream.
*Rinse the lentils right before placing them in the broth. Once they are wet they will harden and form a rock solid mass- so don’t let them sit once they are wet.
**The bay leaf is added to help reduce gas by converting the ogliosaccharides into more digestible form. Red lentils are the easier variety for the gastrointestinal tract to digest. You can also soak the lentils for an hour or two if you find you are still having a problem.
© 2015 Balance Your Life
Judy Banks, Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor, Holistic Health Coach
All right reserved- Reproduce with Permission only