Lentils come in a variety of colors but we mostly see green, brown and red at our local markets. The green and brown lentils tend to contain the highest levels of nutrients and fiber. Lentils are packed with protein and contain virtually no fat. In fact, a serving of lentils supplies more protein than an equivalent serving of beef. They are rich in B vitamins, especially folate (B9). They are also loaded with many major minerals but particularly magnesium which is reputed to be the “anti-stress” mineral , iron which is good for energy levels and zinc which boosts immunity.
Lentils are one of the few beans that do not need to be soaked before cooking. Dried lentils are quick to cook in simmering water and will be ready in about 20 minutes. Canned lentils contain almost as many nutrients as dried ones.
Since they hold their shape particularly well after cooking, they make a great addition to dishes that benefit from some texture: sides, soups and salads. They even serve as a great burrito filling!
Nutritionally, lentils are worth a fortune! Luckily, they don’t really cost one. They are a great way to get protein bang for the buck!