The lentils you purchase in your local grocery store have a long shelf life and are inexpensive. Regardless of the type or color, their nutritional content remains consistent with the different varieties of lentils. They are low in sodium and cholesterol, yet high in thiamin, Vitamin C, phosphorus, copper, folate, iron, manganese, and dietary fiber. Lentils do NOT contain sulfur, thus they do not cause gastrointestinal distress like many beans.
Here’s a quick description of some lentil varieties:
Chana Dahl – This lentil is a staple of India, resembles a yellow split pea and is really a skinless relative of the chickpea. It has a mild, sweet flavor and a firm texture.
Dahl – This lentil is an Indian term for split legumes which are usually unhulled. They have a mild, earthy flavor.
French Lentils – These lentils are also known as lentils du Puy. They are small, dark and stronger flavor than other lentils. They do well in salads because they keep their shape well.
Green Lentils – These lentils are also referred to as brown lentils. They are khaki-colored legumes and are the lentil used in most American lentil soups.
Red Lentils – These lentils in their dried form are salmon pink in color, but when cooked turn golden. With a little red onion and balsamic vinegar, they are delicious as a side dish to chicken.
You can make a delicious lentil soup by cooking the dried split variety, add diced onion, garlic, diced carrots, seasoning with salt/pepper to taste, and you have a delicious and healthy meal in one bowl.
Here’s to lentils and your health!
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