Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Amazing Lentil Bean

Lentils have always gotten a bad rap. They're not as cool as garbanzo or mainstream as kidney and pinto.Yet they're one of the healthiest and surprisingly tastiest beans out there. They're also as versatile as their bean cousins and can be made into several different dishes. Try them anyway and be hooked.

Lentils have been around for millenia , feeding only the poor in times when they couldn't afford meat. In fact for most of history , the rich have scoffed at these nutritional wonders.Its' name come from the Latin word lens culinaris esculenta and our modern word lens comes from it because of the lentil''s convex shape. The bean was found both in archaeological sites dating back 8000 years and pharaohs tombs from 6000BCE. Lentils also figured  in Bible stories as well.\, especially the one where Jacob feeds Esau a a meal of bread and lentils. Lentils are from the pulse family and originated mostly like in India and Pakistan where it's still referred to as daal or dal (which is also the name for a spicy lentil soup).It comes in in red, green and yellow and there are two lentil peas to every pod.Lentils are high in proteins, folic acid and Vitamin B along with fiber and two essential amino acids,methionine and cysteine.

There are many recipes for lentils, the most common being lentil soup. This is a an easy to make bean soup that's chock full of good veggies and herbs. It's a good homey dish for a Saturday night supper.If you want to make something more exotic, then try South Indian sambar which is a tasty and spicy curry.It not only has lentils but also pumpkin and chicken for added flavor along with curries and dried chilis. Another lentil dish from the Subcontinent is Indian spiced rice that incorporates basmati rice, the legumes and a dash of cinnamon.Lentils can also be made into a hummus too.If your family has qualms there are some good lentil meat loaf recipes out there that can be subbed in for the more exotic fare.

Lentils are a great legume .Not only do they taste yummy but they have a lot of good stuff going for them. Have them in a spicy traditional dish or create your own to enjoy their rich nutty flavor.

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