Hi there, food lovers!
It’s me, Sierra. I love saving money on groceries and meals without compromising taste or succumbing to a boring menu of pasta, pasta, and more pasta.
Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta. Like LOVE pasta. But, like most things, if you eat the same foods over and over again simply because they’re cheap and easy, you’ll eventually tire of them.
Enter: The Lentil.
No, lentils are not boring.
If you think they are, then you’ve never seen the rainbow of options at your local grocery store: brown, green, yellow, red, black. Each variety is slightly different from the next, not only in color, but in size, shape, texture, and taste.
I’d never cooked with lentils before trying my hand at a plant-based diet for a year and a half. I’ve since reverted back to my old, non-plant-based ways of eating, but many of the foods I discovered while eating that way continue to make their way into my grocery cart week after week. Lentils have become one of those staple foods, and I have to say, I just love them. And these are the reasons why.
1. Lentils are cheap.
Many stores sell basic lentils for less than $1.50 for a 16 ounce bag. And, depending on the recipe you use, this amount can stretch over 2 to 3 meals. So, for the budget conscious among us, you simply can’t go wrong.
2. Lentils are nutritious.
They’re a great meat alternative, as they’re high in both protein and iron. Yet, they boast so many other nutritional benefits (thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, etc.), it’s really a no-brainer.
3. Lentils are delicious.
I know this is just an opinion, but it’s my blog. So…
4. Lentils are versatile.
If you’re trying to add more meatless meals into your repertoire, lentils are an amazing substitution. They can be substituted for ground beef in many of the recipes you love.
Their chewy/toothsome texture gives you the feeling that you’re eating a hearty, meaty meal, but without all the undesirables that come along with eating processed meat…think pesticides, high levels of cholesterol and sodium, ammonia, etc.
(For the record, I do eat processed meat, but I try to minimize it if only when cooking at home. Progress, not perfection.)
5. Lentils are easy and quick.
Lentils don’t require soaking, and they don’t take long to cook. They only take about 15-20 minutes on the stove top, and you can easily set and forget them as you prep/cook the other parts of your meal.
Just be mindful that they essentially turn to mush if they’re over cooked. (Great if you’re making a soup that will eventually be pureed. Not so great if your aim is to mimic the texture of ground beef.)
These are just a few of the reasons that lentils are a super-food in my house, but who needs more convincing than that?!
Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy them, as well as direct links to the recipes I use and love.
- Slow Cooker Taco Lentil Soup
- Hearty Lentil & Black Bean Soup with Smoked Paprika
- Vegetarian Lentil Tacos
I can only vouch for these recipes, but a quick Pinterest search will give you more options than you know what to do with (Meatballs! Burgers! Salads! Fritters! Curries!).
Now get out there and love up on some lentils! Let me know how it goes. 🙂