Their main claim to fame: speed. Reds cook up—simmered in three times as much water or broth as lentils—in as little as 10 minutes. Cook them for 15 to 20 minutes and they turn to a stick-to-the-ribs coarse purée. (Brown lentils typically take 30 minutes or more.)
What to do with cooked red lentils
Then the fun begins. Add some curry powder, garlic, onion, fresh ginger, and fresh cilantro, and you’ve got a dish that would be at home in New Delhi. Make it garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, and crushed tomato, and you’re in Rome. Athens? No sweat. Mix in sautéed green pepper, dill, oregano, and sliced scallions.
Wait. There’s more. Looking to pump up your protein or fiber? Add some unseasoned cooked red lentils to your spaghetti sauce or chili or stew, to your puréed sweet potato, butternut squash, or carrots.
The vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc.
Each ¼ cup of dry red lentils (which makes ¾ cup when cooked) packs 9 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein, plus roughly 25 percent of a day’s folate, 15 percent of a day’s iron, 14 percent of a day’s zinc, 9 percent of a day’s magnesium, and 6 percent of a day’s potassium. Not bad for 180 calories, zero sodium, and around 25 cents per serving.
Try this red lentil recipe from The Healthy Cook.
Red Lentil Curry
Try tossing a bag of baby spinach into the pot just before serving. Then top each bowl with a dollop of plain yogurt.
Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup red lentils