Lentils, as we use them in the kitchen are the legumes from the lentil plant. They are essentially a type of pea that is dried and comes on the market in various colors.
The lentils are seeds with quite a bit of history, as they’ve been written about as early as the old testament (about a field for lentils while the village was fleeing). Lentils are traditionally grown in the warmer European countries and Asia and you will find them a lot in recipes from those same countries (India, Spain, Turkey etc.)
You can find lentils in the colors; green, brown, yellow, red, black and orange. And than there is a difference between peeled and unpeeled varieties and the ones that are split or not split.
The red lentil has the shortest cooking time of them all (about 15 to 20 minutes) and you can compare it a little bit with the Dutch split pea. Make a lentil soup and add some Indian spices and you have a delicious (masoor) Dahl; the Indian variation to our peasoup.
Lentils do rather well in a variety of curry; and because they are rich in protein they can also serve as a meat replacement without the fat.
Lentils in any dish will also enhance the digestion, so it should have a good spot in the superfoods section.
Making a good pasta salad? Throw in – about five minutes before the pasta is ready – a handful of red lentils. Cut a bit of fruit in your pasta/lentil salad and you’ll be surprised of the extra depth of flavor you’ll get.
Some lentil tips:
- Always wash them well before use; there could be little stones in there
- lentils are not like dried beans with an infinite date so make sure the use by date is ok
- To give the finishing touch to your lentils, pour some red wine or good vinegar over them shortly before serving