Ayurvedik India

Brown, Green, Red, Black Lentils: 9 Benefits, Easy Recipes and Much More

Introduction

Foodies, hello! Have you ever wondered about those tiny things that live in your cupboard and then mysteriously materialise into delicious meals? Despite their little size, these legumes are culinary powerhouses that enrich our meals with an abundance of nutrients. There’s more to the group than meets the eye, so let’s explore the lentil world and get to know them.
We’re going to give the mystery black lentils, or Beluga lentils as they prefer to call them, some attention. They’re like the rock stars of the lentil world, I promise; they elevate our platters with more than simply flavour. Aim for a culinary journey!

What are Lentils?

Edible seeds belonging to the legume family, lentils are widely consumed as a main course in several civilizations worldwide. A legume is any kind of plant belonging to the Fabaceae family, usually referred to as the pea, bean, or legume family, or its fruit or seed. Legumes are important for soil fertility because of their capacity to fix nitrogen in the soil through a symbiotic connection with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Benefits of Lentils

High in Protein: For the synthesis of enzymes and hormones, the maintenance of general muscular function, and the construction and repair of tissues, lentils are a great source of plant-based protein. Lentils are a complete protein supply for people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet since they contain all the necessary amino acids, unlike many other plant proteins.

High in Fibre: Dietary fibre, which helps with digestion and prevents constipation, is abundant in lentils. Regular bowel motions are encouraged by the fibre content, which gives the stool more volume. Because it slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, the soluble fibre in lentils also aids in blood sugar regulation, which is advantageous for those with diabetes or those trying to control their blood sugar levels. Fibre can help you keep your weight under control by making you feel full. This is because it lowers your total calorie intake.

Low in Fat: Saturated fat, in particular, is scarce in lentils. Eating meals low in saturated fat is linked to a decreased risk of heart problems. Lentils are mostly high in unsaturated fats, which are thought to be heart-healthy fats. These fats help keep cell structures strong and keep the circulatory system healthy in general.

Rich in Iron: A necessary mineral for the synthesis of haemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood, lentils are an excellent source of iron. Iron-rich foods, like lentils, can help keep you from getting iron deficiency anaemia, a condition that makes you tired, weak, and lowers your blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

Encourages Gut Health: Both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, which is abundant in lentils, support a healthy digestive system. By giving the stool more volume, fibre helps to maintain regular bowel motions and avoid constipation. Because lentils’ soluble fibre provides nourishment for good bacteria, it can help support a healthy gut flora. Enhanced digestion and general health are linked to a well-balanced microbiome.

Aids in Blood Sugar Regulation: Lentils’ fibre and complex carbs work together to control blood sugar levels. Soluble fibre prevents blood glucose rises by slowing down the digestion and absorption of sweets. Those who already have diabetes or are at risk for the condition may benefit the most from this, as controlling blood sugar levels is essential for maintaining general health and preventing disease.

Could Help With Weight Management: The satiety and fullness that lentils give can help with weight management. Lentils’ high fibre and protein content helps regulate hunger, which lowers the risk of overindulging. When it comes to supporting weight reduction attempts or maintaining a healthy weight, adding lentils to meals might be a useful tactic.

Flexible and reasonably priced: Because of their great adaptability, lentils may be used in a variety of recipes, such as salads, curries, soups, stews, and side dishes. They may be seasoned and spiced to fit a variety of tastes and cuisines. Lentils offer a cost-effective and convenient nutritional choice for both individuals and families, owing to their adaptability.

Sustainability of the Environment: As a source of protein, lentils are less harmful to the environment than some animal-based alternatives. Their reduced water requirements and reduced carbon footprint aid in maintaining environmental sustainability. A balanced diet that includes plant-based protein sources like lentils may be environmentally friendly and sustainable at the same time.

Different Types of Lentils

Brown Lentils

These tiny, lens-shaped legumes range in hue from pale to dark brown. They hold up nicely when cooked and have a sturdy texture with a subtle, earthy taste. When cooking, brown lentils usually take longer than red lentils but less time than green lentils. When cooked, they hold their structure and don’t get as soft.
Brown lentils are adaptable and work well in a variety of recipes. They are excellent in salads, casseroles, stews, and soups. They are a popular option in dishes where you want the lentils to keep their texture because of their capacity to stay their form.

Green Lentils:

Green lentils can range in colour from pale green to dark green or even speckled. They are slightly larger than brown lentils and have a lens-shaped appearance. Green lentils have a slightly peppery flavour and a firmer texture compared to brown lentils. They hold their shape well when cooked but may take a bit longer to become tender. Green lentils usually take a bit longer to cook than brown lentils, but they remain firm and hold their texture.

Green lentils are frequently used to soups, salads, and side dishes. Because of their hearty texture, they work well in situations where you want a lentil that stays crunchy even after cooking.

Red Lentils: 

Red lentils are smaller than brown and green lentils and have a vivid orange or red hue. When it comes to flavour, red lentils are sweeter and nuttier than brown and green lentils. When cooked, they have a tendency to go mushy and squishy, which makes them perfect for producing creamy textures. Red lentils cook rather rapidly, becoming mushy as they break down. They work nicely in recipes that call for a smoother texture.
Dal (lentil curry) and lentil soups are two common Middle Eastern and Indian meals that employ red lentils. They are also frequently used in meals that call for a thick, creamy texture, such as purees and sauces.

Black Lentils (Beluga Lentils):

Black lentils, also known as Beluga lentils, are small and round with a shiny, black exterior. They are named after Beluga caviar due to their resemblance. Black lentils have a rich, earthy flavour and maintain their shape well when cooked. They have a firm texture, making them suitable for salads and side dishes. Black lentils are often used in salads, pilafs, and side dishes. Their unique appearance adds visual interest to dishes, and they are well-suited for recipes where a distinct lentil texture is desired.

Best Recipes for your Lentils

Brown Lentil Recipe: Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

1 cup brown lentils

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions: In a large pot, sauté onion, carrots, celery, and garlic until softened. Add lentils, broth, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 25-30 minutes until lentils are tender. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

Green Lentil Recipe: Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup green lentils, cooked and cooled

1 cucumber, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

Feta cheese, crumbled

Kalamata olives, sliced

Fresh lemon juice

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: In a bowl, combine cooked green lentils, cucumber, red bell pepper, and red onion. Add crumbled feta and sliced olives. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, toss to combine, and refrigerate before serving.

Red Lentil Recipe: Red Lentil Curry (Dal)

Ingredients:

1 cup red lentils, rinsed

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, grated

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to taste)

Salt to taste

Fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions: In a pot, sauté onions, garlic, and ginger until softened. Add turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder. Stir for 1-2 minutes. Add red lentils, tomatoes, salt, and enough water to cover. Simmer until lentils are soft. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving. Serve over rice or with naan.

Black Lentil Recipe: Black Lentil Salad 

Ingredients:

1 cup black lentils, cooked and cooled

Cherry tomatoes, halved

Cucumber, diced

Red onion, finely chopped

Feta cheese, crumbled

Fresh basil, chopped

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

In a bowl, combine black lentils, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta, and fresh basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, chill before serving.

Conclusion

Every variety of lentils, from the dependable brown to the hearty green, the quick red to the sophisticated black Beluga, adds something unique to the meal.
As we come to the end of our lentil adventure, I hope you’re feeling motivated to include a little lentil magic into your own culinary creations. Let’s honour the humble lentil, which is a little food that packs a powerful punch. Happy cooking till the next time, and may your lentils always be delicious and savoury! Let’s toast to the rich and varied world of lentils!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top