Lentils are a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. In this guide, we will explore what lentils taste like, how to make them taste good, and what the best lentils for different dishes are. Read on to learn more about this humble legume.
What Are Lentils?
When you think of lentils, what comes to mind? A bland, beige mush that's only fit for vegetarians and health nuts? Something your grandma would eat to save money? Well, it's time to think again. This unassuming legume has a surprisingly rich history, and it's time we give it the credit it deserves.
The Origin Story
Lentils are believed to have originated in Central Asia or the Middle East, and they have been cultivated for thousands of years.
Lentils also play an important role in Indian cuisine dal is considered one of India's staple foods. In fact, the word "dal" comes from the Sanskrit word meaning "to split." This refers to the fact that lentils are usually split when they are cooked.
Lentils are edible seeds that come from a plant in the legume family. They are an annual plant, meaning they only grow for one season. They are small, round, and flat, and they come in a variety of colors including yellow, green, brown, black, and red. Lentils are high in protein and fiber and are a good source of iron and folate.
Most lentils are sold dried, but you can also find them canned or fresh. When cooked, lentils can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, salads, and even as a meat replacement in vegan and vegetarian dishes.
A Nutritious Superfood
Lentils are not only a budget-friendly ingredient but also extremely nutritious.
As mentioned before, they're high in protein and fiber, and they're also a good source of iron and folate. In fact, just one cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein and 12.5 grams of fiber.
That's more protein than a large egg and more fiber than a slice of whole-wheat bread!
What Do Lentils Taste Like?
Lentils are versatile and delicious food, but their taste can vary depending on the variety. Here are some of the most common types of lentils and what they taste like:
- Yellow Lentils: These lentils have a sweet, nutty flavor and become very soft when cooked. They are often used in Indian dishes such as dal.
- Brown lentils: These brown lentils taste earthy and have a mild flavor that is similar to green beans used in this pasta. They hold their shape well, making them ideal for salads and soups.
- French green lentils: Also known as Puy lentils, these green lentils taste peppery and have a nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture. They hold their shape well when cooked, making them ideal for dishes where you want the lentils to retain their shape, such as in a salad.
- Red lentils: These lentils have a sweet, earthy, nutty flavor and become very soft when cooked. They are often used in Indian and Pakistani dishes such as dal.
- Black beluga lentils: These small, round lentils have a rich, earthy flavor that is similar to mushrooms. They hold their shape well when cooked, making them ideal for salads and side dishes.
What is the Texture Of Lentils?
- Lentils are a type of pulse, and they are often used in soups and stews because of their hearty texture. When cooked, lentils have a similar texture to beans. They are slightly chewy with a bit of a bite. The skin of the lentil is also edible, so you don't have to worry about taking the time to remove it.
- Lentils can be cooked in a variety of ways, but one of the best methods is to simmer them in water or broth until they are tender. You can also add other vegetables, such as carrots or celery, to give the dish more flavor and texture.
- If you want your lentils to have a creamier texture, you can mash them or Puree them before adding them to your dish. Whatever method you choose, cooking lentils is a quick and easy way to add protein and fiber to your diet.
How To Cook Lentils
Cooking lentils is a simple process, but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that they turn out perfectly.
- Always sort through the lentils before cooking to remove any small stones or debris, if any this depends on where you buy the lentils from.
- Rinse the lentils several times to remove any dust or dirt, there is no need to soak lentils.
- Cook the lentils in plenty of water – at least three cups of water for every cup of lentils.
- Add seasonings after the lentils have cooked to prevent them from becoming over-seasoned.
- Finally, let the cooked lentils sit for a few minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
With these tips in mind, you'll be sure to produce a perfect pot of lentils every time.
How to Make Lentils Taste Good?
One of the keys to making lentils taste good is to cook them properly. Undercooked lentils will be crunchy and difficult to eat, while overcooked lentils will be mushy and bland.
The best way to cook lentils is to simmer them in water or broth until they are tender but not mushy. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes.
Once they are cooked, you can season your lentils with salt, pepper, and/or other spices as desired.
If you are using them in a soup or stew, you may also want to add some chopped vegetables such as carrots, celery, or onions. You can add chopped herbs or other greens for flavor and color for salads.
Picking the right type of lentil is important for creating a dish that tastes great and has the right texture. Be sure to choose the lentil that is best suited for your recipe.
Benefits Of Lentils
- Lentils are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Soluble fiber helps to slow down digestion and can help to regulate blood sugar levels, while insoluble fiber promotes regularity and prevents constipation.
- In addition, lentils are a good source of protein, minerals, and B vitamins. Because of their nutrient profile, lentils can be beneficial for both weight loss and maintenance.
- They are filling and satisfying yet low in calories, making them an ideal food for those looking to shed a few pounds.
- Lentils can also help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
So whether you're trying to lose weight or improve your overall health, lentils should definitely be a part of your diet!
So, what do you think? Are you ready to eat lentils? If so, be sure to check out some of our favorite recipes that feature this superfood ingredient. From chutneys to stews, there's a recipe to get you started!
Recipes With Lentils
People Also Ask [FAQs]
Lentils have an earthy, nutty flavor that is reminiscent of pinto beans.
Red lentils have a mild, earthy, and slightly sweet flavor.
Black lentils are both rich and earthy in taste, and they can be easily paired with a variety of different dishes.
Wrap Up: What Do Lentils Taste Like?
- In this guide, we've explored what lentils taste like, how to make them taste good, and what the best lentil for different dishes is.
- Lentils are a versatile, delicious, and nutritious ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes.
- They are high in protein and fiber and are a good source of iron and folate.
- Lentils come in a variety of colors, including yellow, brown, green, black, and red. Each color lentil has its own unique flavor and texture.
- They can be used in soups (green or brown lentils work well), stews, salads, veggie burgers... the list goes on and on.
So there you have it, the next time you're looking for an inexpensive yet nutritious meal option, don't overlook the humble lentil—it might just surprise you.
How To Cook Lentils In Rice Cooker
For Cooking Lentils
- 1 cup brown lentils sorted and rinsed, you could also use green lentils.
- 2 cups water
- 1 small carrot peeled and diced
- 1 stalk celery cleaned and diced
- ½ onion diced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For Tempering: Optional
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 50 grams pancetta or bacon
- 1 tablespoon parsley leaves finely chopped for garnishing.
- To start, simply gather your ingredients
- Once you have your ingredients prepared, simply add the rinsed lentils to your rice cooker along with the water, carrot, celery, and onion.
- Set the cooker to grain mode or high and let the lentils cook until they are soft but still slightly al dente, roughly about 35 - 40 mins.
- Once they are cooked, add in your seasonings - the salt and pepper - and stir everything together.
- To finish off your delicious lentil soup, this step is optional.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a separate pan over medium heat.
- Add in your crushed clove of garlic and diced pancetta or bacon pieces and stir until the garlic is fragrant.
- Then pour this mixture into the rice cooker bowl with the lentil soup and mix well. Garnish with chopped parsley leaves before serving for an extra touch of flavor.
- 1 cup of dried lentils will yield about 2 cups of cooked lentils.
- Brown and green lentils work best with this recipe.
- If you want a bit of spice add ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the tempering.
- If you are looking for a vegan or vegetarian-friendly version of this recipe, simply omit the pancetta or bacon and add 1 teaspoon of parmesan if you want to make this recipe vegetarian. If you want to make it vegan, just add some croutons of your choice. The soup will still be delicious and flavorful.