Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lentils: The Little Legume That Could!

One of the fun things about homeschooling is cooking new recipes that go along with what you are learning.  One of our favorites of all time (and it was a surprise that we ALL liked it) is Lentil Soup.  

Lentils come in a variety of sizes and colors.  Green petite lentils, black lentils, and red lentils are common varieties.

They are considered extremely healthy and are a great "meatless" option to add into your meal rotation.  Not to mention a frugal buy.

Health benefits:
*Great source of plant based protein (lean too, very little fat!)
*Heart Healthy 
*High fiber that helps lower cholesterol
*Contains Magnesium, Folate, iron and tons of other great vitamins.
*Creates energy and stabilizes blood sugar 
*some studies have shown they help prevent breast cancer

One downside to lentils is that they do best when soaked and cooked for 25-50 minutes.  To soak, combine rinsed lentils with water at 90-100 degree water and 2 tsp. salt.  Let sit for 2-3 hours before cooking.  Rinse and cook according to directions.  I often forget to get them started and that can be frustrating if you have lunch planned for lentil soup.  

I recently found a new product that saves me soaking time and cooking time:
Since they are sprouted and dried they will digest easier and cook faster.  Which is a huge game changer!  Plus NO more soaking!  Woo hoo!

Here is our favorite recipe for lentil soup (it is more a guideline then a true recipe):

In a large soup pot saute 1 chopped/minced onion in 2 TBSP coconut oil or olive oil

Add 1 clove of garlic or powdered garlic, brown.

Add 4 cups of water or chicken broth, bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low and add 1 cup of lentils, 1tsp. powdered cumin, and 2 tsp. Real Salt.

Let cook until tender and soft.  Anywhere from 5-20 minutes.  If you like more broth add more liquid.  We like our lentils super salty (yum) so we add more salt when eating them.

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