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Lentils: How do I cook with them?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lentils/AN01640
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Lentils: How do I cook with them?
I know lentils are supposed to be good for me. But what are they and how do I prepare them?
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
Lentils are grouped with beans and peas as part of the legume family because, like all legumes, they grow in pods. Lentils are high in protein and fiber and low in fat, which makes them a healthy substitute for meat. They're also packed with folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium and fiber.
Lentils come in three main varieties: brown, green and red. Most grocery stores carry brown lentils, usually dried. Green and red lentils may be found at specialty food markets. Here are some tips for choosing your color:
- Brown lentils. The least expensive, they soften when cooked and can become mushy. Use for soups.
- Green lentils. Also called French lentils, these have a nuttier flavor and stay firm when cooked. Green lentils are the best choice for salads.
- Red lentils. The fastest cooking, these lose their shape and turn golden when cooked. They taste milder and sweeter than green lentils. Use them for purees and Indian dals.
Unlike other legumes, lentils cook quickly without pre-soaking. Just make sure to rinse away any dirt, dust or debris before adding them to recipes. Lentils work well in soups, stews and salads. Or you boil them for 15 to 30 minutes, add turmeric, ginger or other seasonings, and serve over rice or mix with other vegetables and enjoy.Next question
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- How do I cook lentils? American Dietetic Association. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442458743&terms=lentils. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 30, 2011.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Larousse Gastronomique: The World's Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia. New York, N.Y.: Clarkson Potter; 2009:610.