Lentils are a low cost alternative to animal based protein. Lentil beans are a great substitute where you might add ground beef in a recipe. Below I’ve compiled a list of ideas on how you can easily add lentils into your diet.
Make Lentil Soup or Chili
Lentil soup is a very quick and hardy dish. Accompanied with bread and a side salad, lentil soup could be served as a main course. Lentil soup can be made a dozen of ways and since lentils do not need to pre-soak like most beans do, this is a great idea for a weeknight dinner. A delicious lentil soup recipe can be found here.
Lentils are also really good in chili replacing the ground beef in your existing recipe. When cooking your lentils for chili I recommend adding a bouillon cube to the cooking water. After the lentils are cooked simply add them to your favorite chili recipe for a lower fat substitute that still tastes delicious.
Make Lentil Sloppy Joe Sandwiches
Below is my super quick version of Lentil Sloppy Joe Sandwiches.
1 package lentil beans
1 can Sloppy Joe sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup ketchup or BBQ sauce
2 Tbsp oil (optional)
Cook your lentils according to the package directions. After they are fully cooked add the last 6 ingredients to the cooked lentils and serve. The oil is optional in this recipe but I like to add it because it helps to mimic hamburger that already has it’s own greasiness that lentils don’t have naturally.
Lentil Sloppy Joe sandwiches are a wonderful kid friendly dish. I will sometimes use the leftovers from Lentil Sloppy Joes as a topping for baked potatoes. Leftover Lentil Sloppy Joe mixture is also delicious served over white rice. I often make quick new dishes from existing leftovers so my family won’t complain about eating the same food two days in a row.
Make Lentil Rice (also know as Mujadra)
Mujadara is a popular Middle Eastern dish that uses lentil beans as the main course. This very inexpensive and easy to make meal consists of caramelized onions, lentils and white rice. A good recipe for Mujadara is found here. I like to serve this dish with a cucumber and tomato salad (also known as Fatoosh).
Lentils are quick to cook, they take on any flavors and spices well and they are extremely nutritious. They are also a good source of iron which gives you energy and stabilizes blood sugar. Try adding lentils to your next menu to help save money and contribute to a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.