If you have not tried lentils in your new plan of healthy eating, crock pot stew is a good place to begin. Lentils readily absorb the flavors around them. They are quick and easy to prepare, always available, and as you will see, filled with healthy nutrients.
Lentils provide six minerals, two B vitamins, and protein. They supply generous amounts of folate and magnesium and iron. Lentils are a good cholesterol-lowering legume; rich in fiber and nutrients, and no fat. All these nutrients go far in helping manage blood-sugar levels.
Lentils are harvested in many colors; choose brown or green ones to hold shape in dishes requiring long cooking times. Yellow, red, or orange varieties tend to soften easier and get mushy when cooked too long. For that reason, colored varieties lend themselves well to salads and vegetable dishes. The color does not seem to vary the minority nutty flavor
Unlike beans, lentils do not need pre-soaking. They do, however, need washed thoroughly and inspected carefully for small stones or debris. Because they are so small, spread them out evenly on a lightly colored plate to sort. Then wash them in a sieve.
If you are planning to cook lentils on the stove top, add three cups of water to each cup of lentils. Follow the directions on the bag and check often to get the needed firmness.
For our Crock Pot recipe, we will use raw, washed lentils.
3 cups lentils (1 lb.)
3 cups water
1 can dried tomatoes with liquid
1 can chicken broth
Chop and add the following vegetables: 4 stalks celery, 1 large onion, 1 green bell pepper, 1 large carrot, and 2 cloves garlic.
Add t tsp black pepper and 1 tsp dried marjoram leaves.
Combine above ingredients and cook covered on Low 8 to 9 hours.
After cooked, stir in 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil (adjust according to taste).
Lentil stew is good served over rice or couscous and will keep in the refrigerator up to one week. The stew can be frozen in an airtight container and kept up to three months.
This is a good stew to freeze in small portions for those nights when you are too tired to cook and tend to grab a less nutritious snack.
Soon you will be finding lentils a favorite item to stock in your cabinets. The variety of uses is endless; cold in salads and vegetable dishes; added to casseroles and main dishes, and tossed into soups and chilis.
You will soon find the added nutrition and protein lentils provide will give you a real perk-me-up on those tiring evenings when you are done and your day is not! Personally, I am wondering where they have been all my life?