What Are Lentils And How Are They Used In Cooking
Chances are good you’ve at least heard of lentils before. However, if you’re like a lot of other people in the UK, you’re not really sure what they are, how they work, how they taste, or what are lentils. There’s good news. Not only are lentils easy to understand, but they can be a very tasty way to get better nutrition on your plate.
What Are Lentils?
What are lentils – you can think of lentils as cousins to beans? They’re technically legumes, like pinto beans, black beans and all the rest. However, they don’t come with the same drawbacks that beans do, such as having to be soaked before cooking. They grow in a pod, usually two at a time. They are generally round, although some are heart-shaped. Lentils are sold whole or split, and you’ll find three different colours on the market – red, brown and green.
Green lentils are a French variety. They tend to hold their shape and texture the best and cook up firmer than brown or red. Red lentils are a little sweeter than the brown or green ones, and they tend to get a little soft. Brown lentils are the most common but are also the most prone to get mushy when cooked, which is why they are often used in soups and the like.
Each colour brings a slightly different flavour to the table, but they are all tasty options. Plus, they pack in some interesting health benefits that everyone should know.
Getting Them Onto Your Plate
Adding lentils to your daily meals is actually pretty simple. They can replace beans in most soups and stews, and because they cook much faster and don’t require pre-soaking, you can save some time, as well. You can also use them as a bean or meat replacement in just about any meal.
Lentil dip can be made easily by mashing cooked lentils into a paste and then adding your preferred flavourings. Enjoy it on pita, chips and more. You can even add lentils to a cold salad or to a noodle dish using ginger too if you like.