Heart Healthy and Delicious Lentils
Out of all the ingredients in my pantry, I consider lentils a super star ingredient. Like other legumes, such as beans, lentils are an excellent source of dietary fiber with 16 grams per cup. You may have also heard that lentils are good for the heart. That’s because lentils are a good source of fiber and magnesium. Including more dietary fiber in the diet helps reduce cholesterol and the magnesium plays a key role in regulating heart muscle activity. Sounds like lentils are working hard for our health!
I started incorporating more lentils into my meals when I found out that they are an excellent source of fiber (about 37% of the recommended daily value). Vegetarians, especially women, are more likely to have low iron levels so it is important to find a good plant source, like lentils.
Health benefits aside, what I love about lentils are that they cook faster than beans but are just as versatile. They can be used for veggie burgers, soups, stews, and salads. The salad below could be a great side dish or perfectly good on its own. I generally like to use mango in this recipe but I changed it up a little this time by adding pineapple instead. Pineapple makes the salad sweeter but equally flavorful combined with the red pepper and other ingredients. The final result is vibrant and colorful, like confetti that you can eat!
A tip for cooking lentils: Avoid mushy lentils by adding salt at the end of the cooking process. Adding salt too early can keep the lentils crunchy instead of tender, making it seem like they have not cooked fully.
Confetti Lentil Salad
Ingredients & Method
- 1 cup dry mixed lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup diced pineapple or mango
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 red small onion, chopped
- ½ c. cooked black beans
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
Rinse lentils then in a small pot add the lentils and 2 cups of water (2:1 ratio). Bring the lentils to a rapid simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cook, covered or uncovered, for about 20-30 minutes. Add more water if needed and check for doneness. Add salt to taste at this point.
Once you’ve diced the pineapple (or mango), bell pepper, and onion, combine it in a mixing bowl. Fold in the black beans and lentils.
In a small bowl whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over the lentil mixture.
Chop some cilantro and mix it with the salad last. Enjoy salad at room temperature or chilled.