5 Types Of Lentils, Their Benefits And How To Cook Them

How To Prepare Lentils)

Lentils are a type of legume which are extremely rich in proteins. In many countries, legumes are the primary source of protein because they’re also very cheap. While they’re best known for their protein content, lentils are also high in iron, folate and potassium. Lentils aren’t just healthy, they’re also delicious and very versatile. Pairing them with other ingredients doesn’t just make them more tasty, it’s healthier that way. Lentils don’t contain all the essential amino acids, so pairing them with grains transforms them into a complete protein. The traditional western diet doesn’t include a lot of lentils, but it’s time you started including them. If you’re not sure how to cook them, here are five ways to prepare these five different lentils.

1. Green Gram

Green Lentils Can Be Sprouted Or Added To Stews

Green gram, also known as mung bean, is identified by its distinct green color. This lentil is very popular is several south Asian countries and is used both as

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a meal accompaniment and in desserts. These lentils might be tiny, but don’t underestimate them. They’re packed with protein, fiber and B-complex vitamins. They’re also high in starch, but the good kind. Green gram contains resistant starch which keeps you full for longer and helps you lose weight. Here’s how you can prepare them:

Sprouting: Sprouting mung beans is very easy and can make them more nutritious. Soak them in enough cold water to cover them fully for at least 12 hours. Then strain them and store them in an airtight lid away from sunlight. Over the next few days, wash and rinse them every 12 hours and return them back to the container. Stop doing this when they’ve sprouted as much as you wanted them to. You can eat these as a snack or add them to your salads.

Stewing: Traditionally in India, green gram is used to make dal, a type of thick stew. Boil them in water until they’re soft and mushy, then add in your favorite spices to make it more flavorful.

2. Red Lentils

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Red lentils are very effective at lowering your blood cholesterol levels. They prevent plaque from forming within the walls of your arteries and also keep your blood pressure low. Red lentils contain most of the essential amino acids our body needs. They’re a good source of soluble fibers, which improves your digestive health. These lentils lose their shape when cooked, which makes them very versatile. You can add a cupful of red lentils to most soups and stews for an extra boost of nutrition and taste. Carrot and pumpkin soups in particular, are perfect with red lentils. You can also make a traditional Indian dal and pair it with rice.

3. Beluga Lentils

Beluga Lentils Can Be Used With Salads

Beluga lentils are black and round. They aren’t very mushy and hold their shape to a large extent when cooked. They look a lot

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like caviar, but won’t break your bank balance the way actual caviar would. Beluga lentils get their dark black color from the presence of powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants fight off free radicals before they can damage your healthy cells. Eating them often can reduce your risk of cancer and keep your skin healthy. Because they don’t lose their shape, they can be added to most salads and even to vegetable dishes. Boil them or pressure cook with a little water until they’re soft enough to eat. Then toss them with whatever meal you’re preparing for an extra textural element and more nutrition.

4. Brown Lentils

(Brown Lentils Can Bulk Up A Stew

Brown lentils are the most easily available type of lentils and are just as healthy as the other types. They are very useful if you’re trying to lose weight because they’re full of fiber, but have almost no fat. Adding them to your meals will keep you full without raising your calorie

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count. They’re also very easy to make because they cook in barely fifteen minutes. Brown lentils are very soft once cooked and lose their shape completely. You can use them as a natural thickener in your soups and stews to add bulk without sabotaging your diet.

5. Le Puy Lentils

Le Puy Lentils Add Texture And Flavor

Don’t be intimidated by its fancy name, Le Puy lentils are just as easy to use as the other varieties. They’re small, grey lentils which are usually cultivated in Europe. They’re rich in antioxidants and are also very good for your heart health. Le Puy lentils are thought to be the most unique tasting of all lentils because they have a mild peppery taste to them. These lentils hold their shape even after cooking and so they’re mostly used in salads and stir fries. Boil them in water for about half an hour or until they’re soft enough to eat. Then toss them in any salad or

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vegetable dish you’re making to instantly elevate it.