Lentils are a large part of the vegetarian diet due to their high protein content. So I hear. They are commonly combined with a grain such as rice to form a complete protein (a protein containing all essential amino acids). Apart from protein, lentils are beneficial due to their dietary fiber, vitamin B1 and minerals such as folate and magnesium. High soluble fiber serves as a blood sugar stabilizer.
Although lentils come in all colors: brown, black, red, green and white, their shape remains the same. Here in Peru, we have one color which comes in two sizes, Lentejon (large lentil) and Lentejita (tiny lentil). I used to go on long outrageous searches for the tiny sized lentils, claiming that they tasted oh-so-much-better. Now, they are sold packaged at the supermarket!
Intriguingly, lentils are named after the word lens, whose shape they also resemble.
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped celery
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 7 cups of water
- 1 1/2 cups of dried lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 dried red chile pepper
- 1 (8-ounce) can of tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Add water, dried lentils, bay leaves, and chile. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
- Stir in tomato sauce, vinegar, salt, and black pepper; discard bay leaves and chile.