We are kicking off a full week devoted to that lowly little powerhouse of protein and flavor, the lentil. If you are not a fan of lentils, or if you have never tried them, we encourage you to try your hand at any of the recipes that we’ll present over the next few days. You may just be surprised by how delicious lentils can be!
Here’s a little of my lentil story:
Lentils are relatively new to me. I only became interested in them about two years ago, when I read about how nutritious they are. Lentils are loaded with vitamins, protein and minerals. After trying a bunch of recipes, I also learned that lentils are extremely versatile and easy to prepare. The best part about lentils, though, is something I discovered by accident: lentils REALLY improved my stamina during strenuous exercise!
Now, my evidence is completely anecdotal, but after the first few times I had lentils for dinner, I noticed the next day that I was riding my bike a lot faster and/or further than usual, and I wasn’t nearly as tired when my ride was finished. So, being all pseudo-scientifically minded like I am, I decided to run a very informal experiment. I started to try to make lentils the primary focus of my meal on Friday nights, in order to fuel up for my Saturday morning mountain bike rides. On the weekends when I ate lentils the evening before a big ride, I did great. There was a noticeable difference in my energy and performance compared to the weekends when I did not eat lentils, even if I ate the same breakfast before each ride. Since then, I have been trying to eat lentils about once a week to keep my energy up, and it seems to be working.
Here are some lentil tips I have picked up:
- Use 2 cups warm water per 1/2 cup of dry lentils (rinsed) to make the lentils easier to digest. I usually just bring the water to boil, then turn it own to simmer before adding lentils.
- Simmering the lentils with bay leaves, cumin and/or turmeric allegedly helps to minimize flatulence.
Now to officially kick off lentil week with an update to my quick lentil salad post:
For the batch pictured above, I substituted sun dried tomatoes for fresh, added marinated artichokes, green olives and chopped garlic, and used shiso (aka Japanese basil) instead of fresh oregano, because I have a ton of shiso in my garden at the moment. The rest of the preparation is the same as the original quick lentil salad post.
For more lentil nutrition information:
- World’s Healthiest Foods: Lentils
- SF Gate: What Are The Benefits of Eating Lentils?
- Oprah.com: Dr. Perricone’s No. 4 Superfood: Beans and Lentils
Lentil Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives
- 2 Cups Boiling Water
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 bouillon cube
- Splash Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Dry Lentils, rinsed
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup diced sun dried tomatoes
- 1/3 cup chopped marinated artichokes
- 1/3 cup sliced green olives
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- Fresh Chopped Basil, to taste
- Salad dressing, I use a mix of liquid aminos, rice wine vinegar, and olive oil, but bottled Italian dressing or any other oil/vinegar type dressing should work well
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Bring water to boil; stir in bouillon and bay leaf. Dissolve bouillon cube.
- Stir in lentils, return to boil.
- Boil for one minute, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are al dente.
- Drain lentils and rinse with cold water. Remove bay leaf.
- Add lentils, garlic, herbs, and vegetables to large mixing bowl and mix together.
- Cover with salad dressing and salt and pepper to taste, and mix through.
- Enjoy right away, or chill the lentil salad in the refrigerator overnight to let flavors set.