Many people try and find alternatives to your everyday brown rice or wild rice side dish. I admit it gets old! Grilled chicken/fish, vegetables and brown rice everyday gets old and let me tell you I have done it and still do it. I try and be creative with my spices and spice things up but sometimes you just need something else besides that. I am a huge fan of lentils! Lentils not only come in many varieties but have the nutrition of perfection! One other thing about lentils is they suck up flavors very well and are fairly easy to make.
The nutritional profile of these little magical legumes is no fat, tons of protein and fiber! You can not beat that! 1 cup of lentils yields about 230 calories so add in low calorie vegetables some herbs and spices and you have a very filling meal for under 300 calories!
The high fiber content in foods like lentils provides less risk for heart disease. Lentils also stabilize blood sugars so for those with diabetes or following a glycemic index diet grab those lentils.
I suggest purchasing dry lentils in a bag, I feel they keep texture longer. The taste of lentils is a nutty grain taste but can easily be altered with the use of herbs and spices. I personally enjoy black lentils because I enjoy a more "earthy" flavor but for those new to lentils I suggest green lentils as they hold shape and have tons of flavor!
Lentil Vegetable Stew
-2 cups lentils
-4 cups water
-1 red pepper
-1 yellow pepper
-1 orange pepper
-2 stalk celery
-1/2 red onion
-1/4 cup olive oil
- Wash lentils and remove any tiny stones, damaged lentils or dirt
- Place 4 cups of water in large pot than place lentils in the pot
- Turn the stove on to med-high and wait till boil
- Cut up all vegetables into small cubes, the smaller the better
- Once lentils are boiling, set stove to simmer and start mixing in vegetables
- The lentils will start soaking up the water keep mixing in vegetables
- Once water is half way soaked up start adding in olive oil, rosemary and juice of 1 lemon
- Water will continue soaking into stew
- Wait about 3-5 minutes and take a taste
- Add pepper until taste is desirable
Now you have a very easy dish that can be used in a variety of ways. You can either make it a side dish or add some type of lean chicken diced up in the mix. The vegetables I chose were just leftover from cooking all week so if you would like to add other vegetables go for it! The more vegetables the better :)