French lentils make a flavorful, nutrient dense cornerstone to your diet. Whip up a batch on Sunday and eat them all week long.
We need to be eating more lentils, guys. Why?
- high in protein
- high in fiber
- low on the glycemic index
- low in calories
- rich in iron, folate and B vitamins
- packed with flavor
- easy to make
- keep well in the fridge
As I mentioned in my post on staying healthy, I’m trying to prepare for my meals a little better (instead of letting them sneak up on me.) Part of my strategy is having the fridge stocked with healthy foods that are pretty much ready to go. Foods like massaged kale, hummus and, most recently, lentils.
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Lentils are one of those precious healthy foods that don’t make me feel like I’m going without. I’m more than happy to eat a side of sautéed spinach. But, when I’m done, I’ll be looking for a starch. I find lentils just as satisfying as a side of roasted potatoes without the spike in blood sugar.
Why french lentils, though? Putting my raging francophilia aside, french lentils cook up quicker and maintain their shape better than regular lentils so they’re more appealing to me. But any lentils are better than no lentils at all.
I’m sharing my basic recipe for French lentils today and my next three posts will show you some scrumptious ways to use them at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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- 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil I use grapeseed
- 1 1//2 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/4 cup minced leek
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup dry french lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
Rinse lentils and discard any weird, shriveled or hard pieces.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
Sautée shallots and leeks until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add stock, lentils and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. There should be small burbles in the liquid and a little movement among the lentils.
Cook until the lentils are soft but not mushy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add water here and there, if necessary, so lentils remain barely covered throughout cooking time.
Drain remaining liquid and remove bay leaf.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Refrain from using salt until after lentils are completely cooked to keep them from getting too mushy.
Store in air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.