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I am curious about how one gets to be an adult without ever having had lentils. Hmmm. Maybe this is a cultural thing? Just taste them! They are fairly bland and should be fine for picky eaters. They have a little bit of a meaty flavor, even if you prepare them without any animal ingredients.
Lentils do have lots of protein, but like other legumes, they also have carbs, so you have to be careful about serving size.
Rinse them off and simmer them in water. Add some onion and garlic sauted in a bit of olive oil, along with a dry bay leaf. They will also need some salt or maybe a bit of dried chicken stock--the kind that you can get in the Latin American foods section of the grocery store. Cook them until they are tender. That's all you have to do--no soaking or anything special required.
If you want to make a soup, lentils are good with both chicken and beef stocks. Carrots and celery both go well with lentils, as does parsley. For more complex recipes, look to Spanish cuisine and cuisines of the Middle East for ideas.
I love lentils and would go nuts for a big bowl of moros y cristinos...basically white rice and lentils, Spanish style, garnished with a hard-boiled egg. However, that is just way too many carbs for me, so it's a meal that I don't have very often.
Lentils have a lot of protein, it's true. I can't seem to make them acceptable to my household without adding some kind of meat such as pork or beef. I don't have to add a lot, usually one bacon strip or leftover meat from a previous meal. Also a bay leaf and an onion help. I think the meat flavor anchors that earthiness of brown lentils. A little bit goes a long way though. The mushy yellow ones, and the green split peas, don't pass muster in my house, unfortunately.
I like to make lentil salads. I cook green lentils according to the package, but use chicken broth (low sodium), wine, and a bay leaf instead of water. Cool the lentils, then I toss them with chopped veggies like cucumbers, steamed beets, and cherry tomatoes. Dash of salt and pepper and it is a great cold salad to make for the whole week.
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79 8/14/13 7:01 P
Picky eaters are hard, cause they are all picky for different reasons.
Remember there are three kinds of lentles - Red, which turn mushy when you cook them. they are great if you want so make something with a baby food consistancy! I use them in stews to make it thicker without fats. Brown/black which are the kind you get in indian Dal. they hold their shape, and don't have a strong flavor beyond "bean". I cook them in a small crock pop, or on the stove on low for 30-1 hour in soy milk (milk, if you drink it), and add a bit of cumin, bouline or the new stock flavorings, and some curry type flavors. French or green - work great in salads as they hold their consistancy. probably the best for picky eaters, but they are a touch more expensive. I like them in pasta dishes, or in a salad with cous cous. i'm "lower carb", so I use 2 parts lentils to 1 part couscous, but most recipies are the other way around.
good luck and i hope you find a way to eat them, they are a great staple to my 3 day a week "vegie" diet.
Fitness Minutes: (57,894)
1,776 8/14/13 5:47 P
You could also season them with taco seasoning and use them in place of the meat for vegetarian tacos/burritos :)
Red lentils (a lovely bright orange when you buy them, but they turn yellow when you cook them) - these do not hold their shape, they turn mushy very quickly and so are perfect for lentil soup or lentil puree, they are perfect for indian food - these are the "peppery" ones.
Green and brown lentils - on the large side, these would be the ones people would describe as "earthy" - they hold their shape well and thus work well in casseroles, cold salads, in a rice-and-lentil pilaf, lentil or beef-lentil stew, or as an addition to a soup. Use as you might use any kind of small beans.
Puy lentils - dark brown colour and very small. These to me seem to be a cross between peppery and earthy. They are adorable little things, and very tasty. I like them best as a cold salad.
If you aren't sure about them, try and find a recipe where they are used alongside other ingredients you are more familar with (soup, pilaf, casserole).
sorry, i wasn't trying to be a jerk. they're just something that doesn't taste hugely like anything else, at least the brown ones that i tend to buy. but you did make me toss some on my nachos i was making. and the only better description that i can offer would be a tiny piece of plain baked potato that still has a bit of skin on it. slightly earthy, but soft [perhaps with a bit of the consistency of mashed potatoes if you don't use too much dairy in them?] and able to take on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. the first time i had them they were cooked with sausage, so they tasted like the sausage they were cooked with.
Fitness Minutes: (57,894)
1,776 8/14/13 5:16 P
My favorite lentil recipe:
Take half a diced onion and saute with some turkey kielbasa (i use like 1/4-1/2 a package, cut up pretty small). Then toss in the cooked lentils (maybe 2 cups?) and some ketchup and BBQ seasoning, or just BBQ sauce if you don't have the seasoning. I usually throw some frozen spinach in at the end too, for a little more nutrition.
lentils taste like lentils. a little bit like tiny beans. maybe a little earthy. they really tend to taste more like what you season them with. and how are you picky? i'm pretty darn picky and i like lentils, but it's not one of the textures that i find offensive in the first place.
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