Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lentils - Miracle Diet Food!

Lentils are my new miracle diet food. They are quick and easy to prepare compared to other legumes and contain many health benefits. They are so versatile, serve them as a side dish, add to soup, add cooked meat for a meal, or serve cold over a salad. 

Did you know? One cup of cooked lentils:

  • contain (percentage of Recommended Daily Allowance) 89% folate, 62% fiber, 36% iron, 35% protein,  and only 220 calories.
  • contain six important minerals plus two B-Vitamines
  • have been shown to  reduce cholesterol levels
  • help maintain blood sugar levels so you don’t crash and you feel full longer.
  • can reduce your risk of Heart disease.
  • prevent constipation
  • help the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body

Cooking Lentils are as easy as 1,2,3 
    1. Rinse Lentils
    2. Add to a pot of water (1 cup lentils to 2 cups water) Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook     
        for 20-30 minutes until plump and tender. 
    3. Enjoy. 

One of my favorite meals as a kid was franks and beans.  While beans are good for you, traditional franks and beans are full of fat and calories.  I love this alternative recipe from Biggest Loser.  I often make a giant batch and freeze for later. These are good with some turkey sausage, as a meal, or make a great side dish. 

BBQ Lentils - Inspired by Biggest Loser.  

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cup chopped red onion (aprox 1 whole red onion)
4 celery stalks chopped
4 carrots chopped 
2 tablespoon minced garlic 
4 teaspoons chili powder 
2 teaspoon mustard powder 
4 cups fat-free vegetable or chicken broth 
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard 
4 tablespoons agave nectar  or honey **If you can't find this, you could try pure maple syrup 
3 cups dried (uncooked) brown lentils, rinsed 
2 cans 14oz tomato sauce 
salt and pepper, to taste


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent (about 3 minutes.  Add celery, carrots, garlic, chili powder, and mustard powder and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute); do not brown the garlic.

Add the broth, vinegar, mustard, agave nectar, and lentils; stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, but intact (about 30 minutes). If necessary, add 1/4 cup water and simmer for 5 minutes longer if lentils are not tender.  Stir in tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves: 8 (1/2 cup) servings:  187 calories 12 gm protein 31 gm carb 2 gm fat 9 gm fiber 161 mg sodium

Add turkey sausage or hot dogs, serve on bread as a sloppy joe, Enjoy! 

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