Looking to weather the financial storm without sacrificing flavor or nutrition? Then look no further than lentils, a vegetarian Super Food that will nourish you and your family without breaking the bank. Economic crisis or not, there are plenty of reasons to love lentils:
• Lentils are high in protein, including the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine. And when combined with whole grains, lentils give your body all of the amino acids it needs to form a complete protein.
• Lentils are rich in complex carbohydrates and high in fiber, helping your body balance its blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy to keep you fuller for longer.
• Lentils are high in iron. This is especially good for vegetarians, growing children, and pregnant women, all of whom have greater needs for iron in their diet.
• Lentils are a great value for your nutritional buck. Canned lentils are cheap as is, but you can stretch your dollar even further by purchasing dry lentils in bulk.
If you’re new to cooking with lentils, red lentils are a great place to start. Their small size means they tend to fall apart within 20-30 minutes of cooking, making them perfect for soups. The following soup recipe, known in the Middle East as Shorabat Addas, manages to turn just a few ingredients into something delicious and refreshing.
• 2 cups dry red lentils
• 8 cups water or vegetable stock
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 large onion, finely diced
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
• 1 lemon, juiced
1. Wash lentils. Combine them with water or stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until lentils are tender.
2. Meanwhile, sauté garlic and onion in the olive oil over a low heat until transparent. Add the spices, onion and garlic to the cooked lentils.
3. Add lemon juice just before serving.
4. Garnish with parsley, paprika and yogurt, if desired.
You can find more of Monica’s vegetarian recipes at SmarterFitter.com.
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December 19th, 2008