Did you spend the week stocking up on non-perishable food and now looking for a way to start consuming them without having to go out to buy more groceries? Well, if you have some lentils in your pantry, now is the perfect time to whip up some easy 20-minute one pot lentils. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, packed with protein, and highly nutritious with immunity-boosting properties.
Lentils Boost Your Immune System
With all that is going on in the world right now regarding covid-19 (coronavirus), it's important to consume a healthy diet, especially one that contains immunity-boosting properties. Lentils are just that. They are the optimal self-quarantine meal. They are loaded with immune-boosting zinc, iron, and vitamin B6 (which creates infection-fighting white blood cells). These vitamins and minerals are essential for immune function.
Lentils also have a number of other important health benefits including:
- strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties (aka cancer fighting food)
- lowers risk of heart disease and improves cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- aiding in digestion and improving overall gut function
- supports weight loss
- great source of folate and iron
And on top of all that, these one pot lentils are spiced with both turmeric and cumin, which you guessed it, help boost the immune system.
Lentils are also a great meal to whip up when you don't want to spend all your time in the kitchen and would rather use your time doing other things. They are super easy to prepare, require very little cooking time, and since you throw everything into one pot, there is minimal clean up required. Plus, they are cheap.
How to Cook the Best Lentils
The secret to preparing the best lentils, and one that I learned from my mother, lies in the way that you prepare the lentils before cooking. Most lentil recipes call for a quick rinse and draining of dry lentils before placing into the cooking pot. But to get the best results, the key is to soak the lentils for about 10-15 minutes in hot water. This not only cleans the lentils (you will notice the dark brown coloured-water when you drain the soaked lentils), but it actually removes the gassiness from them. Meaning, they will be easier to digest and will cause less gas issues once you have at them. You could call it an old wives' tale, but it works. It actually works.
Another tip to getting the perfect lentil, is to be mindful of the type of lentil you are using. I like to cook with brown lentils because I like their earthy flavour and because they hold their shape really well after cooking. Lentils should be slightly soft or even crunchy, but of course if super mushy lentils are your thing, (which to be honest are pretty amazing), then just keep cooking them until you get the consistency that you are looking for.
How to Store Cooked Lentils
These lentils reheat really well and makes for amazing leftovers. They can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They also freeze really well and can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to eat, simply allow the lentils to thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat for a few minutes in a saucepan. The best part is that frozen lentils will taste the same way they did on first day that you made them. This is why I never cook a small batch. I always double up on the recipe so that I can freeze any extras for weeks or months to come.