How to Cook Lentils and Health Benefits

Lentils

Now that the weather is getting colder all we want to eat here at Deliart is a hearty bowl of Spanish lentejas. Indeed this lentil soup is a healthy Mediterranean dish perfect for lunch or dinner. Plus, it is very easy to make if you are in a hurry. Here we will share with you the best lentil soup recipe. Let’s see how to cook Lentils and Health Benefits.

 A hearty bowl of Spanish lentejas.
Lentils are an ideal food to face cold days.

What are lentils: Types and how to use them

Lentils are a basic ingredient in any Spanish home and can be found in any supermarket, as they are important in the Mediterranean diet. Lentils are a type of legume along with peas, peanuts and beans. They are a curved disc-shaped seed and offer an earthy, mild, nutty flavor that works well in various recipes.

Lentils are extremely versatile, which means you can add them to make lentil salads, lentil burgers or lentil meatballs. They really are a great ingredient if you are vegetarian or vegan, as they can act as substitutes for many meat products.

There are a variety of different lentils to choose from. Here is a short list:

  • Flat green lentils and brown lentils: These lentils are large and flat. They are very common to find in the US. These lentils absorb a lot of water when they are cooked making them soften in texture. They have a very mild flavor. Both lentils are good options for soups, stews, and salads.
  • French green lentils: Are smaller and darker than green lentils with a speckled surface. They also originate from a region in central France. Make sure to cook these longer than the other lentils as they remain firm. Suitable for salads and making grain bowls.
  • Red and Yellow Lentils: These lentils are small with a mild flavor. Red lentils are yellow lentils that have been hulled and split making them slightly sweeter than yellow lentils. Since these lentils don’t have the outer skin, they are great for dips, purees, and curries as they can obtain a creamy consistency.
Variety of different lentils
At the table, each lentil variety invites you to enjoy a singular taste and texture.

Are lentils good for you?

YES! Lentils are not only easy to cook, they are also very healthy. Indeed Lentils may be small, but they provide us with a lot of health benefits.

First of all, lentils are very nutritious, as they are high in protein, fiber and potassium, and low in fat and sodium. In fact, some studies have shown that they can reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease.

Lentils are rich in prebiotic fibers that are beneficial for maintaining healthy gut bacteria. Being rich in fiber, they are a great choice for the heart and for controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.

Finally, lentils are an incredible source of vegetable protein. Therefore, if you are vegetarian or vegan, or even if you plan to eat less meat, lentils will be your favorite ingredient. In any case, we highly recommend you try cooking a dish with lentils.

How to prepare Lentils

Before we get to our favorite lentil recipes, we want to share how to prepare them correctly. Now that lentils have gained more popularity in American kitchens it is important to know how to properly prepare them.

Lentils in aluminium can
Lentils in aluminium can are delicious, healthy and quick to prepare!

Lentils in aluminium can or lentils in bulk?

If you buy lentils in an aluminum can, chances are they have been prepared and cooked. This means that you can add them straight into your dish.

But if you buy bulk lentils or lentils in a bag you need to clean them first. This means to put them in a strainer and rinse them in cold water. At this time, it is also a good idea to sift through the lentils looking for tiny pebbles and clumps of dirt that sometime appear in the packaging.

Once the lentils are thoroughly cleaned, you may have to soak them for some time. Again, it is important to also follow the instructions on the label before cooking lentils. Once the lentils are prepared you can add them to a pot of water or broth to boil.

How to Cook Lentils

Lentils recipe:

For our stewed lentil soup recipe, we recommend using French green lentils or brown lentils. Here we will share two ways on how to make lentils. The first recipe is a delicious lentil stew with chorizo sausage, while the second recipe is tasty vegetarian option.

How to Cook Lentils with chorizo

Lentils with chorizo
Lentils with chorizo is a very complete dish.

Lentils with Chorizo. Here are the ingredients that you will need to make this classic stew for 4 people:

  • 350 grams of French green lentils or brown lentils
  • 1 peeled and chopped carrot
  • 1 peeled and chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1 peeled and diced potato
  • 1 concentrated stock cube
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp of sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 25 ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Chopped chorizo sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Lemon (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Start by chopping the carrot, onion, tomato, and garlic in a food processor
  2. Heat olive oil in a large deep-frying pan or a pot on medium heat
  3. Add the chopped ingredients
  4. Add the lentils, diced potato, stock cube, bay leaf, and water to cover everything
  5. Let it boil for about 45 minutes over low heat
  6. After 45 minutes, you can add the chorizo and paprika and let it cook for 10 more minutes
  7. Add the salt and a little lemon juice (optional) and serve!

How to Cook Lentils with Vegetables

Lentils with vegetables
Unlike traditional lentils, these ones have no meat and lots of vegetables.

Lentils with Vegetables. This soup is lighter and an excellent option for non-meat eaters! Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 350 grams of French green lentils or brown lentils
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 lemon (optional)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
Lentils with vegetables with all the nutrients and vitamins we need.
Lentils with vegetables will provide us all the nutrients and vitamins we need.

Preparation:

  1. Peel and wash all the vegetables. As well as remove the seeds from the bell peppers.
  2. In a big pot put the vegetables, lentils (without soaking them), paprika, and bay leaf. Then add enough water and vegetable broth to cover the ingredients. Place on high heat.
  3. As soon as the steam starts to come out, lower the heat intensity (medium high) and let sit for 15 minutes
  4. Turn off the heat and let the steam come out slowly. Then remove the vegetables
  5. Let the lentils cook covered for 50 minutes.
  6. Mash the vegetables with a little of the cooking liquid in a blender.
  7. Return to the pot and mix thoroughly
  8. Season with salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice (optional) and serve!

Let us know which recipe was your favorite if you tried cooking them at home! We would love to hear from you.

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