In our last blog we learned how to grow food without dirt! Sprouting seeds is an easy way to grow your own healthy food. Based on the directions in our last blog, have you tried sprouting lentils, broccoli seeds or alfalfa seeds? In this blog, we are going to focus on those lovely lentils you may have sprouted. Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition and are an integral part of a fiber-rich, whole foods diet.
What is a Puy Lentil?
As part of the legume family, Lentils are considered pulses. Pulses are the edible seeds of plants that grow in pods; chickpeas, beans, peas, and lentils are all considered pulses. All legumes are packed with nutrients and today we are going to dive into the world of lentils because we use lentils in many of our recipes at Melita’s Table. Lentils come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
- Brown: Most commonly found in grocery stores. They have a round shape that holds well during cooking and have an earthy flavor.
- Yellow and red: These are split, cook quickly, and are used for dal recipes.
- Puy: Hailing from the Le Puy region in France, these are smaller than green lentils and harder to find in the U.S.
- Green: These lentils can vary in size and have a similar shape to brown lentils.
- Beluga: These are tiny black lentils and named for their similar appearance to caviar.
Health Benefits of Lentils
Lentils are a powerhouse of protein and include many other essential nutrients. According to Medical News Today, One cup of cooked lentils contains:
- 116 calories
- 9.02 grams of protein
- 0.38 grams of fat
- 20.13 grams of carbohydrates, including 7.9 grams of fiber and 1.8 grams of sugar
Lentils also provide the following essential nutrients:
- vitamin B-6
How to use Lentils as a Meat Substitute
Since lentils are packed with protein they make a wonderful, meaty base for many plant-based dishes. Using a protein packed legume that is wholly derived from the Earth, is a healthier meat substitute choice than processed meat substitute products.
At Melita’s Table we use lentils in a variety of recipes. By adding savory spices, we transform these little legumes into flavorful protein bases. Our Lentil Picadillo incorporates garlic, jalapeno, onions, tomatoes, and my very own secret spice combination, to create a flavor bomb of goodness in every bite. This plant-based picadillo is used in the Melita’s Table meals below.
- Melita’s Latin Skillet
- Melita’s Poblano Enchiladas
- Melita’s Portobello Chimichanga
- Cultivate Your Own Entree – Add lentils to any meal!
Here are five ways you can use lentils as a meat substitute in your own kitchen. It’s as simple as substituting 1 to 1 for ground beef or chicken. And did I mention that lentils are economical; that means good for you and for your wallet!
Don’t forget to share your what goodness you are growing, sprouting, or creating in the kitchen with us at #GrowingWithMelita.