Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The term “superfood” is over-used, but in the case of lentils it is true says dietitian Nicole Senior. They are part of a highly nutritious group called legumes (or pulses) containing a marvellous package of nutrients including protein, fibre (all three types: insoluble and soluble fibre, and resistant starch), low GI carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and an array of beneficial phytochemicals such as isoflavones and lignans. And thankfully for people with celiac disease, legumes are naturally gluten free. Legumes are an integral part of plant-based diets known to promote good health and longevity.

Not only are lentils nutritious, they are cheap as well. They form the basis of many peasant dishes (now fashionable in affluent places where food is plentiful) and have provided a valuable meat alternative for poor households the world over. The rise of vegetarian, vegan and plant-based diets in developed countries has also given lentils the exposure they richly deserve. The other plus for legumes such as lentils is their environmental sustainability credentials. Compared to animal sources of protein, they require fewer inputs and produce fewer carbon emissions.

Canned lentils are convenient but dried lentils are dead-easy to cook. Thin lentil varieties such as the common red lentil don’t need soaking; just simmer 10–15 minutes until tender. For the larger types such as brown and puy (French) lentils, simmer in water until tender and then freeze in meal-sized portions. They are also well suited to slow cooking.

Nutrition Facts lentils
Source: The Good Carbs Cookbook