There are many ways to cook lentil, those legumes that are known for being low in calories and packed with nutrition. You can make lentil salad, lentil dal with greens, or soup mashed orange lentils which I will discuss in this article. Whatever lentil recipe you follow, I can assure you that you will still get a lot of nutrients from this legume.
What is lentil?
Before I get to the recipe itself, let’s take a look at lentils first. This type of legume is a dietary staple in Asia particularly in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. It is known for being high in nutritional value and being very versatile as well.
There are various types of lentil. The most common type is brown lentil, which is the one that you can usually find in grocery stores. Brown lentil has a very earthy taste and flavor. It softens when cooked but capable of holding its shape. This is the best used for soup recipes.
Red lentils are the most commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It has a mild and sweet flavor. It turns to a golden color when cooked. It can become mushy too. It is best used for thickening a recipe, or for purees. This is the type of lentil we will use in our recipe.
French Green lentils or du Puy lentil originated from France, particularly in the Le Puy region, which explains their name. It is widely considered as the most flavorful due to its peppery taste. It may take a while for this type of lentil to cook, yet it can stay firm. This is best used in salads.
There are other lesser known types of lentils like Beluga which are small and black. It is more expensive compared to the other types of lentils. It has a strong, earthy flavor.
Another type is the macachiado lentil which has a strong nutty taste. This is the lentil used in many Mexican dishes.
Nutrition - Its health benefits
Aside from being very easy to prepare, one reason why lentil is a staple food in many parts of the world is that it is very high in nutrition.
It is rich in dietary fiber, which helps in removing bile that contains cholesterol. Lentil, thus, can aid in lowering cholesterol levels.
Dietary fiber can also aid in preventing digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and increase stool bulk. Fiber can also help in controlling blood sugar levels.
Lentil is also an excellent source of protein. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, a cup of cooked lentils has more than 17 grams of protein.
It is also rich in the B-vitamins aside from virtually containing no fat. And the good news for people trying to lose weight--- a whole cup of cooked lentils contains just 230 calories.
Soup Mashed Orange Lentils Recipe
The soup mashed orange lentils recipe that we are to do is easy to make. I guarantee you that your family members will love it-- even the kids.
This recipe can make four servings. You should be done with this recipe in 60 minutes.
- 1 pound of red lentils
- 2 chopped carrot
- 2 tablespoon of canola oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, lightly toasted
- 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons hot curry powder
- 1 can chopped tomatoes with juice
- 2 quarts water
- 1/5 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- Cayenne to taste
- Juice of ½ lime
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Thickened yogurt
Step by step guide
- Heat the oil in a large soup placed over medium heat.
- Add onion and stir for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
- Add carrot, garlic, salt, cumin, curry powder, and coriander. Stir for about a minute or until the garlic has become fragrant.
- Add lentils and water. Stir and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and stir. Bring to a simmer and cook at low heat, cover, and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add salt to taste then continue simmering for 15-30 minutes, or until the lentils have fallen apart and coagulated the soup.
- Mash the lentils against the pot using the back of your soup. This should further thicken the soup.
- I suggest adding more pepper and cayenne if you want the soup to be spicier.
- Stir in the lime juice. Top each bowl with yogurt and chopped cilantro.
Always salt your water when cooking lentils.
That’s it-- a simple orange lentil soup that you can serve for dinner. It’s a very tasty and nutritious dish that everyone in the household will surely love.