Lentils are a great source of vegetarian protein with low-to-negligible fat. They are also a fabulous source of dietary fibre. Generally, one cup of cooked lentils provides you with 5-10g of dietary fibre. Substituting meat dishes with a dish of legumes & whole grains once or twice a week can improve your health.
A high fibre diet prevents constipation, haemorrhoids and diverticular disease and may be protective against bowel polyps and cancer. A high fibre diet is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, obesity and diabetes. Foods high in fibre tend to be low in GI (glycemic index) and so are well suited to weight loss and diabetic diets. (see www.glycemicindex.com).
Lentils are generally good with extra virgin olive oil; onion; garlic; carrot; celery; tomato; spinach; sage; parsley; thyme; coriander; bay leaf; saffron; lamb; beef; chorizo sausage; chutney; brown/basmati rice and all flat breads. Try experimenting with international dishes (such as Indian and MiddleEeastern).
Canned lentils are fine to use when they have been drained and rinsed. To reduce gas when cooking with dried beans/lentils, soak the beans for 18 hours (to remove a large percentage of the oligosaccharides which ferment in the colon to produce gas). Throw away the water and then cook with fresh water.
Below are three delicious and simple recipes for you to try at home.
For more ideas, see my recipes section or www.edenfoods.com/recipes/
Red Lentil and Salmon Burgers – Makes 8-10 patties
1 can of red lentils (drained and rinsed)
1 210g can of red salmon (drained)
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium Spanish onion (the purple ones)
1 bunch fresh coriander (chopped finely)
½ a cup of wholemeal bread crumbs
1-2 teaspoons of curry powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
Some wholemeal bread-rolls, tomato, lettuce and sweet chilli sauce to serve!
What to do:
Wash the sweet potato and onion and wrap them in alfoil. Put them in the oven to roast at 250 degrees for one hour. After one hour, test with a skewer to see if soft. If skewer goes through, take out and let cool.
When they are cool, take the skin of them and chop them up. Place into a large mixing bowl and mash.
Add finely chopped coriander, raw egg, drained red salmon, drained and rinsed red lentils and curry powder. Mix well.
Add bread-crumbs to the wet mix. This will dry it out a little and help it to stick together. Mix very well.
Heat a frying pan on low to medium heat with some olive oil or canola oil.
Take handfuls of the mixture (btwn size of a tennis ball and a golf ball) and place into hot frying pan.
Lightly brown the patties (1-2 mins on each side) so they are warm through. You don’t need to cook them, just heat and brown them.
Serve hot or cold in a wholemeal roll or on a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, avocado, tahini +/- sweet chilli sauce.
Curried Lentil Soup (Dahl) – Serves 6
1 Onion chopped
3 Garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp Coriander ground
1 tsp Cumin ground
2 tsp Curry Powder (adjust to taste requirements)
1 tsp Turmeric ground
1 tbsp Ginger freshly grated
4-6 cans Red or Brown Lentils (drained and rinsed)
2 med Carrots and 3 celery sticks (cut into large chunky pieces)
3 small Zucchini (cut into large chunky pieces)
½ small Cauliflower
2 cans of diced Tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped
1L of water or stock liquid (the more water you add, the more ‘soupy’ it will be&hellip
What to do:
Sauté the Onions, carrots and celery in a little water in a large heavy based saucepan.
When soft add the Garlic, then the Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric, Ginger and Curry Powder. Mix through well and cook off the spices. Do not burn.
Add the Lentils and enough water or stock to cover.
Cover with lid and simmer, checking constantly to see if there is enough liquid – adding extra water as required.
When the lentils are cooked, add the Zucchini, Cauliflower, Tomatoes and Tamari. Simmer until vegetables are cooked.
Check for flavour and add a small amount of Vegetable Salt or Tamari and more Curry Powder if required.
Serve with Yoghurt, fresh Coriander, Chutney, Papadams and brown rice.
Pumpkin and Chickpea Hot Pot
Pumpkin and Chickpea Hot Pot – Serves 6
½ cup Chickpeas (soaked overnight)
2 Kg Butternut Pumpkin (cubed 3cm)
1 medium Parsnip or sweet potato (cubed)
1 Red Capsicum (cut in 2cm squares)
1 Onion (sliced in 8 wedges)
2 small Zucchini (cut into chunks)
1/2 Cauliflower (in florets)
1 tsp. Coriander
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Turmeric
1x375gm tin Tomatoes (organic, crushed)
4 tbsp. Tomato Paste (organic)
½ cup Water
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 handfuls Fresh Coriander (chopped)
What to do:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.
Cook chickpeas in rapidly boiling water for 1 hour.
Lightly steam cauliflower.
Mix spices together. Sprinkle spices over onion and roast.
Roast on separate trays – butternut and parsnip till just cooked. Roast Capsicum and Zucchini together till just done.
Mix tomatoes together with tomato paste, water and Braggs to make tomato sauce.
Lightly toss together the roasted vegetables, cauliflower, chickpeas and the tomato sauce and place into a casserole or baking dish.
Lower oven temperature to 160c and gently heat hotpot in oven with lid on.
Once the dish is hot, stir in fresh coriander and check seasonings. Serve with rice for a wonder winter meal.
Enjoy & be well!
Every day you make choices about food, and these choices have a direct impact on the health of your body. Diet has a profound influence on your short and long term health, and can contribute to the onset, prevention and management of many chronic diseases. Nutrition is the study of how food nourishes the body. The nutrients on food become the building blocks of our cells, hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, organs and body systems. Nutrients are also necessary for the growth and repair of the body, and are absolutely fundamental to the maintenance of homeostasis or ‘healthy-harmony’.
A Naturopathic Nutritionist may define Health as:
“A fully integrated state in which all bodily, mental and spiritual functions are operating in an optimum manner and are harmoniously co-ordinated.; the natural defence systems are operating completely; the nutrient intake is complete and balanced; the mind is free from tensions, repressions, conflicts; the spirit is active, awake and co-ordinates the body-mind within the mighty laws of nature.”
Relatively few people are truly healthy: many exist in a substandard state, reflecting that it is our lifestyles, eating habits, excesses and stresses that bring us into a state of imbalance. Many factors have a negative impact on our access to nutrients within our foods, such as changes in farming methods, depleted soils, processing, food storage, micro waving, eating-on-the-run, poor digestion and assimilation, caffeine/alcohol/nicotine intake, and the list continues!
state of balance, supporting you to achieve and maintain optimum health.