Move over, chickpeas. There’s a new legume favourite in town: lentils.
Lentils are tiny round legumes, aka a seed that grows in a pod, that come in a variety of sizes and colors, including black, brown, yellow, red, or green. They've long been a staple in Indian cuisine as well as vegan cooking as a plant-based protein source. But they’re great in a bunch of dishes - including our favourite Lentil Burger recipe below. This humble legume provides a number of benefits and here are just five reasons to start loving lentils:
Lentils are packed with essential nutrients
Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrients. Not only are they packed with B vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium, but they are a high-protein source, which makes them a great meat alternative. They’re also a great source of fibre which support regular bowel movements and the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Though different types of lentils may vary slightly in their nutrient contents, 100 grams of green/brown lentils (boiled) lentils generally provides:105 kcal | 8.8g protein | 0.7g fat | 16.9g carbohydrate | 5.1g fibre
Lentils are full of polyphenols
Studies demonstrate that regularly eating lentils reduces your risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease. This is thanks to their rich content of protective plant compounds called phenols – lentils being amongst the top ranked legumes for phenolic content. Polyphenols are active compounds that fight against harmful agents in the body, everything from ultraviolet rays and radiation to heart disease and cancer.
Lentils are incredibly versatile
Chuck them in a soup, curry, salad, or even in burgers (keep scrolling for our yummy Lentil Burger recipe below!). They can easily be added to leftovers too, to help stretch out your meals and give you more flexibility when it comes to meal planning. (plus saving you some extra dollars).
Lentils are easy to cook
Unlike beans and chickpeas, lentils don’t need soaking. To cook lentils, simply tip them into a pot of boiling water and let them simmer until they are cooked. Drain and season to your liking and they are ready to enjoy. The only trick is to remember that they turn to mush when overcooked so it’s important to start testing early and keep an eye on them.
Lentils are money-savers
Lentils are available in most supermarkets, both in dried and canned options, and are a cheap way to bulk up your meals or get that boost in protein. They’re worth stocking up and keeping in the pantry as they tend to have a long shelf life!
Now that you know how great the lovely lentil is, why not whip up some delicious Lentil Burgers?
This Lentil Burger recipe from THE BOD app is a winner any night of the week!
- 1 cup Sweet Potato
- 2 cups Green Lentils, cooked
- 142g Brown Onion
- 3g Garlic Clove
- 120g Carrot
- 1 cup Breadcrumbs
- 1 Medium Egg
- 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
- 1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
- 1 tbs Reduced Sugar Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbs Parsley
- Olive Oil Spray
- 4 tbs Light Tzatziki
- 320g Rye Bread slices
- If using the oven to cook the patties, preheat to 180°C fan-forced and line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Chop sweet potato and add to a saucepan of water and cook until soft.
- Drain water, mash and set aside.
- Using a grater, finely grate the onion and carrot.
- In a bowl, lightly beat the egg.
- In a separate bowl, combine the sweet potato, lentils, onion, crushed garlic, carrot, breadcrumbs, egg, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tomato sauce and chopped parsley.
- With wet hands, shape the mixture into 12 even-sized burger patties.
- If baking burger patties, arrange on a prepared tray and spray with oil. Bake for 40 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking. If frying burger patties, spray a large, heavy-based frying pan with oil.
- Cook the patties over medium heat for 5 minutes each side or until crisp, golden and cooked through.
- Serve on two slices of rye bread with light tzatziki and your choice of salad.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION PER SERVING:
Calories: 610 Protein: 23.5g Fat: 19.3g Carbs: 85.5g
Find more delicious and nutritious meals like this in THE BOD app!