Lentils…they do the body good

Yesterday’s Training:  I was up early Wednesday morning and out for my run by 6:20.  The sun was just beginning to rise, and it was definitely chilly- if not cold.  I’d say Autumn is most certainly in the air now, and I like it.  I ran 5 miles tempo pace, and ended with some sprints.  It’s so much easier to run when it’s cool outside- even when it is fast and furious.  To make the day even better, I took Gram’s and b to Shutt’s Farm Market for one of their world famous homemade donuts and some hot cider.  Deliciously wonderful. If you have the chance, go see what I’m talkin’ about!

Today is rest day.  And rest I will!  Rest day calls for some lentils.

Ohh lentils; a little beanie bean (the food, that is- not my boy- who is also a delicious beanie bean).  Have you tried them, besides from a can?  They’re good- and good for you. Lentils are a legume that grow in a little pod- two little beans in each pod.  There are a TON of varieties and colors of lentils out there- all good stuff.  I buy them dried, green, and organic from Wegs.  A little bag is only $2.99- a steal if I do say so myself! 

Lentils are low in both calories and fat- but keep you feeling full and satisfied.  What more could we ask for?!  Now before you start searching your wallet for three dollar bills; let me convince you further why you should cook lentils for dinner tonight:

They’re high in fiber (to keep you full, helps control cholesterol levels, and aid in heart health).  High fiber foods also are huge in helping with digestion.  One cup of cooked delivers about 15g of fiber.

They’re very high in iron– a good thing for the vegan and vegetarian who do not eat red meat.  Iron helps the blood circulate oxygen- we need it.  One cup cooked delivers about 6mg of iron. 

-One cup of cooked lentils also contains about 38mg of calcium.

They’re high in B vitamins– especially folic acid.

They are super high in protein (and a LOW FAT form of it); the third highest level than any other plant food!  One cup of cooked lentils delivers about 18g of protein.

They have the highest source of antioxidants found in winter growing legumes.

For running, they’re good for their protein of course.  They’re also a natural energy booster- the slow burning kind.  This is because of their complex carbohydrate and fiber contents.  I try to eat lentils once a week, and I can attest for the fact that they do fill me up and keep me full for a while.  Oh, and they taste good, too:)

Plain lentils have a nutty, earthy flavor and I often just add them to my salad.  I also cook them with tomato sauce and put it in a pita with some cheese.  SUPER quick easy dinner, and Braxton loves it!

It’s coming to the colder time of year when a hot bowl of soup sounds cozy and mandatory.  Here are some recipes to warm you up on that chilly night.

Vegetarian Lentil Soup

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • dash salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

-In a large pot, sautee the onions and carrot in the vegetable oil for 3-5 minutes until onions turn clear.
-Add the broth,lentils, pepper, thyme, bay leaves and salt.
-Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until lentils are soft, about 45 minutes. Remove bay leaves and stir in lemon juice before serving.

www.recipes.com

Easy Peasy Lentil Curry

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 medium onions, cut into rough wedges
  • 4 tbsp curry paste
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • 750g stewpack frozen vegetables
  • 100g red lentils
  • 200g basmati rice
  • turmeric
  • handful of raisins and roughly chopped parsley

-Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onions and cook over a high heat for about 8 minutes or until they are golden brown. Stir in the curry paste and cook for a minute. Slowly pour in a little of the stock so it sizzles, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan. Gradually pour in the rest of the stock.

-Stir the frozen vegetables, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are cooked.

-While the curry is simmering, cook the rice according to the packet instructions, adding the turmeric to the cooking water. Drain well.

-Season the curry with salt, toss in a handful of raisins and chopped parsley, then serve with the rice, poppadums and chutney.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1306/easy-peasy-lentil-curry

These are just two of endless recipes for lentils out there; these babes are diverse and can be added to anything- pasta, quesadillas, soup, stir-fry.  Hell, how about some lentil ice cream?  Hmm, maybe I’m on to something here…

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