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Family Nutrition

Lentils: Not Just for Soup Anymore

Lentils are a low-cost and versatile protein source with a lengthy list of uses.

Lentils cost about $1/pound in the bulk bins at your local supermarket and are frequently included on lists of the world’s healthiest foods. They cook in 15 minutes on the stovetop, using a 2:1 ratio of liquid to lentils (2 cups broth or water to 1 cup of lentils).

Nutritionally speaking, ½ cup of lentils is packed with plusses: 
•   Low cal: Just 115 calories
•   Low fat: Less than half a gram of fat
•   High protein: 9 grams of protein
•   High fiber: 9 grams of fiber, about 1/3 of the RDA of fiber
•   Rich in essentials: 366 mg potassium; 45% of the recommended
    daily intake of folic acid

Lentils are great in soup or simply mixed with rice and spices.
And they’re an economical meal-stretcher: 

•   Mix cooked and cooled lentils into raw meat when forming meatballs,
    meatloaf or burgers
•   Add a cup of lentils and a cup of water when browning ground beef
    or turkey for recipes
•   Thicken soups, chili and stews with pureed cooked lentils
•   Toss cooled lentils with chopped peppers, onions and a vinaigrette for a quick salad 
•   Add lentils to your favorite pasta salad 
•   Substitute lentils for half, or all, of the ground beef in your favorite pasta dish
•   You’ll never miss the beef in tomato sauces, and the lentil’s texture is as
    satisfying as ground meat

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