Lentils are not only one of the most nutritious foods, they are also very versatile. Pulses can be prepared in different ways in the kitchen. At the same time, their high iron and protein content makes them ideal for vegetarians and anyone who wants to eat less meat.
Properly prepare and soak the lentils
Lentils are very easy to prepare. Rinse briefly in a sieve to remove any dirt. Larger varieties such as flat lentils can be soaked before cooking, preferably overnight. This shortens the cooking time. Smaller varieties like red lentils can be cooked immediately. Whether soaking is necessary and how long each variety should be cooked is written on the package.
People with sensitive stomachs should not use the soaking water for cooking, but use fresh water. Some of the hard to digest ingredients dissolve in water. However, other valuable nutrients are also released into the water and lost when released. The salt in the cooking water ensures that the lentils stay firm. If you want to make a puree or a dip, it is best to omit the salt. A little vinegar or lemon juice brings out the flavor of the lentils.
Types of lentils: Plate of lentils suitable for lentil soup
Lentils come in many varieties, there are about 70 different ones worldwide. They differ not only in size, color and taste, but also in culinary properties. Best known are the relatively large, mostly brownish lentils, which work well in classic lentil stew and lentil soup. Outwardly, they resemble Pardina lentils, which are characterized by a particularly nutty taste.
Red lentils: a classic of Indian cuisine
Red lentils are particularly common in Indian cooking. They are already peeled and therefore overcooked quite quickly. Soaking before cooking is also no longer necessary. Their smooth consistency after cooking makes them ideal for dips and purees, as well as Indian dishes like dal. Yellow lentils have a slightly stronger taste, but are also popular in Indian and Oriental cooking. These are not their own variety, but peeled brown or green lentils.
Beluga lentils as a side dish or in a lentil salad
Beluga lentils are ideal for salads or as an accompaniment to fish. The small shiny black lentils have a very fine aroma reminiscent of chestnuts. Another well-known variety is le Puy lentil. Black legumes from France also remain firm after cooking and have an aromatic nutty taste.
Healthy meat substitute: use lentils for Bolognese
Lentils are an excellent substitute for meat in many dishes. Bolognese sauces or burger patties, where lentils are used instead of minced meat, are particularly tasty. Varieties with a floury consistency, such as reds or yellows, as well as flat lentils, are particularly suitable for this.
Ingredients: Protein makes lentils so healthy
Lentils are very high in protein: In some cases, they even contain more protein than foods of animal origin. They are therefore a valuable addition to the menu, especially for vegetarians. They also contain a lot of magnesium, which is important for various metabolic processes and the nervous system, as well as a lot of fiber. Lentils are also rich in iron. However, the body is less able to utilize lentil iron than animal iron. Vitamin C promotes absorption, so it makes it possible, for example, to serve orange juice or a salad of raw vegetables with the dish of lentils.
Buy and store lenses
Lentils are mainly sold dried. When shopping, make sure there are no whitish mealy residues on the bottom of the package, as these indicate a vermin infestation. Lentils can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for several months, and some types longer.