Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lovin Lentils

 I decided to change the name of my blog to "A Slice of Nutrition" since I think it better represents the essence of my blog.  I want to teach nutrition tidbits to my readers that are backed by nutritional science.  I'm also going to start incorporating more recipes into my posts.  I hope you like my new logo!  Without further ado, here is my latest topic...

Red Lentil Soup with 12-Grain Cheesy Toast
Lentils are a nutritious legume that provide the following benefits:
1.     Good source of vegetarian protein (9 grams per ½ cup)
2.     Very good source of fiber (8 grams per ½ cup)- fills you up, not out!
3.     Rich in essential nutrients such as folate, manganese, and iron
4.     Quick to prepare- no need to soak overnight like beans
5.     Available year round!
6.     Best of all: they’re dirt cheap

So it’s no wonder Esau was so willing to trade away his birthright.  He must have known all the health benefits of lentils!  Lentils come in different colors: red, brown, and green.  Brown and green hold their shape well when cooked and add a great texture.  Red pretty much disintegrates in soup acting like a thickening agent while still providing all the vital nutrition. 

I love making soup for dinner when the weather starts getting cooler.  This past week I made a red lentil soup, a mirpoix-based (onion, carrot, celery) soup with red lentils and wild rice.  It has been a staple at our dinner table for years. The final product was so creamy since the lentils completely dissolved.

Red Lentil Soup
2 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Vidalia or sweet onions, halved and sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed (I use 3 frozen crushed garlic cubes)
Salt and pepper to taste
1tsp Garlic powder
1tsp Onion powder
8 c Water + 2 Tbsp consommé
1 c Dry red lentils, rinsed
¾ c Pearl barley, rinsed
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar

1.     In a large stockpot sauté onion, celery, and carrots in oil on medium-low heat until onions start turning light brown. 
2.     Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder on onions and celery while cooking. 
3.     Once vegetables appear soft, pour in water + consommé.  Raise heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil.
4.     Once boiled, add lentils and barley and bring back to a boil.  Once boiling, bring to a simmer and cover.
5.     1 hour into simmering, add lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and brown sugar
6.     Simmer for another 30 min-1 hr (total 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally)
7.     Enjoy with some rustic bread!


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