Lentilicious: 5 Ways to Make Lentils And Not Even Know You’re Eating Lentils!
Lentils have to be one of the cheapest nutrient-dense foods around. A one pound bag’ll set you back a whopping $1.29 or thereabouts. And, just look at this nutritional profile for 1 cup of cooked green lentils:
Only 230 calories, but almost 18 grams of protein, 15+ grams of fiber, and 37% percent of your daily value of iron. That is a pretty big nutrient punch for such a small little seed!
But, let’s be honest. A cupful of plain cooked lentils doesn’t look that appetizing. They’re kinda mushy and brown-ish and just seem…blah. They’re not exactly the belle of the ball, like, say, cute little garbanzo beans who stay crisp and perky, even once they’re cooked.
But, lentils don’t have to be eaten plain to add value to your diet, and, they certainly don’t have to be blah! I mix lentils into all kinds of things, and you’d never know they’re in there unless I told you. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to incorporate lentils into my diet. A couple of these are recipes I created, the others are from other bloggers that I use all the time. If you have other favorites, please share in the comments!
Five Ways to Use Lentils and Not Even Realize You’re Eating Lentils
- Muffins. Check out these apple lentil muffins for a surprising treat. High in protein and tasty, you’d never know there were lentils as a main ingredient. This is a hearty muffin (read: not a fluffy blueberry muffin full of sugar) so it will keep you full for quite some time.
- Lentil Burgers/Loaf. Lentils make a great burger/meatloaf substitute. Check out Emily’s lentil loaffor an easy and delicious dinner. This is one of 2Chili’s favorite “meat substitute” type dinners. For lentil burgers, I usually just blend up 1.5 cups of lentils with 1 cup of a starch (like brown rice or potatoes), some oats, a tablespoon of chili powder, a dash of salt, and an egg and grill ‘em on the stove top. Simple and delicious. Here is a version that incorporates walnuts and is pretty darn tasty.
- Scones. This recipe for lentil scones from No Meat Athlete was the first recipe I tried that had lentils in it. And, it’s awesome. I served these to my mom and aunt last summer, and they really couldn’t believe that there were lentils baked right in.
- Soup. Lentil soup is really good! Try this one from Heidi (I don’t do the saffron yogurt part). A few ingredients and one pot, and you can eat for a week. Can’t beat that.
- Pancakes. It’s no surprise that this is my absolute favorite way to have lentils because I could pretty much live on pancakes. I finally wrote down the recipe the other day, so I’ll share it with you today.
- 5 minutes to mix batter
- 10-15 minutes to cook pancakes
Makes: 4 servings
- 1.25 cups cooked lentils
- 1.25 cups all purpose or whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 scoops protein powder
- 1.5 cups skim milk
- 1 apple
- 1 egg
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside
- Mix lentils, milk, apple, and egg in blender or food processor until smooth
- Mix wet and dry ingredients until combined, and set aside for 5 minutes
- Preheat a non-stick griddle to medium heat
- Spoon pancakes onto griddle in 1/3 cup portions, and cook until the batter stops bubbling (about 2 minutes) and flip
- Cook the reverse side for about a minute, and flip onto a plate, covering with a clean dishtowel to keep warm
- Serve with honey, jam, or fresh fruit topping
I hope these ideas have given you motivation to try lentils in a new way!