Monday, October 29, 2012

Cooking with Lentils and Two Recipes for Soup

Last weekend at the Blissdom Canada 2012 conference, Canadian Lentils was one of the sponsors.  In addition to handing out some cookies and treats made with lentils,  Chef Michael Smith was there posing for pictures with attendees and putting on a demonstration. 


As a way to promote cooking with lentils,  small gift bags were distributed that included a recipe book and a jar of red lentils. 

I like lentils.  Being part Italian, my family cooked with lentils when I was a kid, putting them in soups, salads and pastas.  We mostly used green lentils, which are bigger and meatier than red lentils, but I sometimes use red lentils in cooking, especially when making certain Indian dishes. 

Lentils are a great food to incorporate into any diet for a variety of reasons.  They're naturally gluten free, making them a great choice for people who can't eat gluten.  They're low in fat, and high in protein, fibre, potassium and iron.  Just 100g of uncooked green lentils provide 25g of protein, an entire day's worth of fibre, 26% of daily requirement of potassium, and 50% of an adult's intake of iron.  The numbers for red lentils are similar (source).

So I decided to try out a recipe from the lentil recipe book included in the gift bag.  I thought about making a dessert, but most called for regular flour, and I wanted to make something that didn't have to be modified to be gluten free.  Instead I chose a Lemon Lentil Soup.  The recipe can be found on the Canadian Lentils website.  It took me about 5 minutes to get the ingredients prepped and in the pot, and then it took about 30 minutes of simmering for the lentils to break down and the soup to thicken up.  I was really happy with the results.  The cumin adds a nice depth of flavour, and the lemon brightens everything up just enough.

I regularly make different versions of lentil soup, sometimes using tomatoes, other times using greens or sausage to add depth to the flavour of the lentils.  It's traditional on New Year's Eve to eat lentil soup, as their shape is reminiscent of Roman coins and so they represent wealth in all areas of life.  I've posted my recipe before, and will include it again below.  This soup is delicious year round, so if you're interested in a great vegetarian green lentil soup, this recipe is for you!  New Year's Eve Green Lentil Soup

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