Lentils … Just Try It

Nov 15

How many of us have purchased a bag of dried beans, and then never bothered to cook them?¬† In fact, perhaps you still have the bag you purchased three years ago sitting unopened in a kitchen cupboard.¬† As much as we’re told how good beans are to eat, they’re just so much effort to cook.¬† And, let’s face it – they’re BEANS.¬† Once they’re finally cooked, after hours of soaking and boiling and rinsing, what do you do with’em?¬† Certainly, there are plenty of recipes around for delicious bean soups and let’s not forget chili -¬†a Canadian favourite (with canned beans, of course) – but the amount of time invested in a bean concoction can seem overwhelming, and frankly, not worth the effort.¬† This is why lentils are the perfect pulse.¬† They take less time to prepare than most beans, and even require less cooking time than brown rice, and just a little longer than pasta.¬†

During tough economic times (hint: recession), lentils are an extremely affordable item on the grocery shopping list.  They are very nutritious Рa half cup of dried lentils offers 9 grams of protein, just over 100 calories, less than one gram of fat, and 24 grams of fiber. 

I finally decided to open the bag of lentils I’d purchased a¬†month ago¬†and prepare them for¬†the family dinner.¬† The easiest way to serve them in my household of picky children, is as a replacement for a side dish of rice or pasta.¬† The following recipe is as easy as it gets.¬† All you need is a cup of dried green lentils and chicken or vegetable stock.¬† I served them with roast chicken breast and cooked vegetables and, surprisingly, all my kids ate them.¬† I’ve served them twice since, and the kids (and husband) eat them up.

Recipe

Rinse & drain 1 cup of dried lentils

Add to a saucepan, then cover with 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer until tender (15 Р20 minutes).  Stir occasionally.

Optional:¬† Add garlic, salt, and/or cumin, depending on your children’s taste preferences.¬†

1 cup of dried lentils yields 2 cups of cooked lentils.

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