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All About Lentils

Lentils were one of the first crops produced between 9,500 and 13,000 years ago! The plants are considered part of the legume family and the actual  lentils are considered seeds. Lentils vary in color from green , yellow, red, brown and black and pack a mean punch in the nutrition department.

Health benefits

Lentils contain the third highest amount of protein out of all nuts and legumes. They are extremely filling containing significant portions of folate, fiber and vitamin B. Lentils also provide over half days serving of iron in only one cup. 

How to pick it

Lentils come in many different varieties and the intended use depends on the variety to choose.

Varieties include:

 

French green lentils are known for its peppery flavor and are a great addition to many meals including soups, salad, or sides.

 

Puy Lentils also come from France and can be substituted with Green lentils, but offer more nutritional value and peppery flavor than French green.

 

Bengal gram lentils are red in color and provide a nutty flavor great in Indian dishes.

 

Gram Dal are small yellow lentils also popular in Indian dishes with an also nutty flavor and slight sweetness. This type of lentil is very delicate so it is best used in soups and purees.

 

Brown lentils are most commonly found in grocery stores around the United States and have a n earthy flavor. They hold their shape well making them great for salads and side dishes.

How to store it

Lentils are best used within one year of purchase but are known to have an indefinite shelf life. Keep your lentils in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

How to prepare it

The cook time for lentils depend on its size, ranging from 10-40 minute cook times. It's best to follow the direction on the package to get the exact cook time. Lentils can be cooked in a variety of ways and create hearty vegetarian and vegan mains as well as nutrient dense sides. Lentils are great in soups, curries and salads.

Recipes

Lauki Chana Dal ( Bottle gourd & Lentil curry) 

Red Lentil Soup 

Spicy lentils and smoked tofu  

Fun Facts

Green lentils are higher in fiber than red or pink lentils

Pullman, Washington is the produces the most lentil in all the regions of the United States.

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Chef Tips and Tricks

VIDEO: Chicken Quesadillas

These quick and easy chicken quesadillas are the perfect, last-minute family dinner!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup of chives, chopped
  • 1 tsp. of Mexican spice mix
  • 4 Tortillas
  • Cheddar
  • Salt, to taste

METHOD:

  1. Put shredded chicken breast, tomato sauce, chives, and mexican spice mix in a bowl and mix together.
  2. Lay out the tortillas. Place a slice of cheddar in the center, and cover with the chicken mix.
  3. Fold up tortillas, and heat in a frying pan until golden.
  4. Enjoy!

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