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It's Now Cool To Be A Lentil Eater



Lentils are a super food

Dr Padma Garvey/Plant-Based Doctor Mom

It's Now Cool To Be A Lentil Eater

Growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, I can attest to the fact that being a lentil eater was not always cool.  I vividly remember being teased during school lunch time because my food had 'bugs' in it.  I also remember that there was only one fledgling store that sold Indian lentils.  The small Indian community would meet at the store's back room to discuss raising money to build a temple.  Pittsburgh had the first Hindu temple in America.  Initially local businesses had some trepidations about a Hindu temple in the area .  Tourism to the area skyrocketed as Hindus from all over America came to visit the new temple, book rooms at the local motels, and eat at the local restaurants.  Since then Pittsburgh has lots of places serving and selling lentils and beans.   Luckily for me, the Hudson Valley has lots of temples, Indian grocery stores, and restaurants serving lentils and beans. 

my mom, little brother, little sister, and me 1972

People who consume lentils (and beans) on a regular basis are just plain healthier.  Lentils (and beans)  are a great source of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber.  They are a super food.  People who eat lentils regularly have much better control of their blood sugar levels.  In fact, eating lentils not only helps with your blood sugar level immediately after the meal, but seems to help with blood sugar levels after the next meal even if you don’t eat any lentils.  So lentils seem to have a sustained effect, being an ideal food for everyone, but especially for diabetics. 

Indian cuisine utilizes more types of lentils and makes them in more ways than any other cuisine I know.  They are so versatile and delicious.  The key is knowing how to cook them properly.  If you go into any Indian person’s home, you will find a pressure cooker.  That is because lentils taste best when they are thoroughly cooked to a soft texture.  A pressure cooker makes this easy. 

Here are five recipes showcasing lentils.  Take a chance and try something new.

Spinach Soup

Hearty and spicy.  This is a perfect soup to go with brown rice or quinoa.  Usually I pair it with roasted potato curry or roasted okra curry.

 

Mung bean and Coconut Rice

This is typically a breakfast dish in India but can be eaten anytime.  I usually have it with tomato chutney. It is great for runners. 

 

Tomato Garlic Lentil Stew

When my daughter comes home from college this is always on the list of things she wants me to make.  It is eaten with brown rice but you can also use quinoa.  I usually pair this with roasted eggplant curry.

 

Lentil Crepes

This is a quick dinner.  I soak the lentils in the morning.  It takes a few minutes to puree the batter when I get home.  I stuff mine with quinoa and have some tomato chutney on the side.

 

Falafel

The culinary concept of making lentil patties is found in many parts of the world.  In India, vadas are similar to falafels.  I love making this on Sundays when it is football season. My version is not fried.  To keep the falafels moist I add avocados to the batter.

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