Indian Style Lentils
A tasty vegetarian dish served on it's own, or as an accompaniment to any meal.
The inclusion of turmeric and other spices makes it particularly good for you too!
Lentils are part of the legume family, are versatile, inexpensive, have an excellent nutritional profile & if you haven't tried cooking them before give this simple dish a try.
350 g red lentils, washed & drained
1 lt water, chicken or vegetable stock/bone broth
2 stalks small dice celery
2 carrots small dice
1 medium chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 slices ginger
1 tsp coriander
1 tab ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin seeds tossed in hot pan with a little oil
Bring lentils in water to the boil & gently simmer
In seperate pan saute the onion, carrots & celery in a little oil
When onion slightly translucent add the coriander, turmeric & cayenne
Add this to the pot of lentils along with the garlic, ginger & lemon juice
Continue cooking adding more liquid if required
Season with salt
Serve with a dollop of yoghurt & scatter cumin seeds over the top
Chopped fresh coriander another delicious addition
Types of Lentils
• Yellow & red lentils are small and round. Commonly used in soups and curries
• Green lentils are larger than other lentils and have a flattened seed. Sturdier they are more suitable for slower cooking
• French or Puy lentils are a dark green colour. Even though called French Lentils they are grown in Australia. They have a nutty flavour and hold their shape when boiled so are great in salads or side dishes
Legumes and Nutrition
Grains & Legume Nutrition Council provides the following information
Legumes provide a range of essential nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. They are:
An economical dietary source of plant based protein and are higher in protein than most other plant foods. Legumes have about twice the protein content of cereal grains.
Generally low in fat, virtually free of saturated fats and contain no cholesterol. Soybeans and peanuts are the exception, with significant levels of mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid.
Rich in energy-giving carbohydrates, with a low glycemic index rating for blood glucose control.
A good source of B-group vitamins (especially folate), iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
Low in sodium – sodium content of canned legumes can be reduced by up to 41% if the product is drained and rinsed.
Abundant in fibre, including both insoluble and soluble fibre, plus resistant starch for colonic health benefits.
Contain phytonutrients (e.g. isoflavones, lignans, protease inhibitors). Soy beans are particularly high in phytoestrogens, with research over the last 20 years linking soy foods and/or phytoestrogens to a reduced risk of certain cancers including breast and prostate cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and problems associated with menopause.
Gluten free – as such, legumes are suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Legumes contain relatively low quantities of the essential amino acid methionine (which is found in higher amounts in grains). Grains, on the other hand, contain relatively low quantities of the essential amino acid lysine, which legumes contain. This is why some vegetarian cultures – in order to get a good balance of amino acids needed for growth and repair – combine their diet of legumes with cereal grains. Common examples of such combinations are dhal with rice in India, beans with corn tortillas in Mexico, tofu with rice in Asia and peanut butter with bread in the USA and Australia.