As far as my personal taste in foods goes; I have never really been a ‘bean lover’ per se but ‘legumes’ like French Lentils are one of my personal exceptions for delicious eating!

It’s a great choice to add when trying to create “healthy dishes” that not only have taste and great flavor but also that creative adaptableness, which can sometimes be a challenge to keeping meals interesting and outside the routine.

Once my taste buds were introduced to the world of the ‘French Lentil’… I was hooked on their unique flavor, nutrition, and versatility. This became one my all time favorite healthy eating “go to’s”.

My introduction to the world of the French Lentil…

The alternative to traditional comfort food is recreated!

The best way to prepare Lentils is the same way you would normally cook rice. This would be 2 parts water to 1 part legume to allow them space to expand.

Cook the lentil in your pot on medium heat until au sec (almost dry) of liquid.

When using the unique ‘Red lentil’,  you can replace your favorite American chili with a healthier delicious version!

Like many Midwestern families, I grew up on mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese with country fried chicken.

However, I grew to love macaroni so much so, that this is was the only entree that my maman would say that she didn’t have to force me to eat.

But when you reach adulthood, your realization that you can’t live off starch, fried foods or mac n’ cheese.

It becomes apparently clear as your body starts letting you know.

Eating a steady diet of starchy or any other processed carbohydrates will NOT help you in aging well, nor will it maintain your body in the best shape.

Before graduating culinary school; as I started maturing into a young adult, most of my experience with incorporating some healthy vegetables to my diet were the ones that were steamed.

Steaming is not the best way to get flavor from all vegetables…

After acquiring culinary training, I soon discovered a world of untapped choices for recipes and ingredients.

As I transitioned, many of my traditional vegetable entrees started losing their appeal as my palate became bored.

But then a pinnacle moment arrived!

I was introduced to a most interesting, little non-familiar legume, almost as small as a pea known as The Lentil.

Discovering how to prepare this exciting legume will let you finally say ‘Au Revoir’ (goodbye) to the everyday Kidney bean or Black bean!

This recipe is one of the many flavorful recipes that my clients have access to in the ‘Chic Women Don’t Diet’ Lifestyle.

To learn how to make another favorite vegetable of mine that is not only an exotic vegetable but also French style cooking

The Celery Root Puree, raw celery root has an odd rustic shape with sharp aromas and a thick skin. After a little practice—cutting the skin off becomes a piece of cake. But caution is recommended, as you will need a super-sharp knife. You can find my recipe as my guest post on The Chopping Block blog site.

What makes the green Lentil so interesting is that it is one of those exotic legumes that most people are unaware of their true history, nor that they may not be eating the real Puy Lentil.

According to Regions of France, “the green lentil is considered as “Pearls of Central France”, the French Lentille is still a budget gourmet product that French people like to enjoy in salads during summer.

French Lentilles vertes are naturally tasty and rich in vegetable proteins and fibers.

Which explains why many cooks and housewives in France use the so-called “Poor’s caviar” to complement their meat dishes rather than potatoes, rice or pasta.

The authentic Auvergne lentils cultivated in the volcanic soils of Le Puy are dark green in color.

They are tiny and fine vegetables that actually require much time and attention from the local French farmers: picking them too early would prevent them from ripening properly!”

Not only do the green Lentil have an amazing history but they are cost effective as well.

High nutrient of the Lentel Legume

The lentil bean ranges in color from brown/green and yellow/orange to red.

Lentils are rich in folate acid, which helps prevent birth defects and may help protect the heart as well as the brain.

According to Medical News Today, the same 100 g serving provides the following proportion of your daily intake:

  • 45 percent of folate

  • 36 percent of iron

  • 70 percent of manganese

  • 28 percent of phosphorus

  • 58 percent of thiamin

  • 14 percent of potassium

  • 127 percent of vitamin B6

Lentils are also a source of riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium.

How to cook lentil for easy digestion?

Not everyone can easily consume legumes (or beans) which includes the lentil. There are strategies that you can use to minimize any problems you may have with digestion.

The best way to cook them is soaking them overnight; the same as most beans, however, the cooking time is only 20 minutes the next day.

Certain herbs that are medicinal, as well as culinary, can help to defuse any issues with digestion.

You may add in herbs such as epazote, fennel seeds, or ginger to the cooking water.  Here are other strategies:

  • pour out and discard the soaking water the next day

  • or try sprouting them over a few days

  • skim off any foam that forms during cooking process…

  • buy organic beans from a farmers market…

  • taking digestive enzymes prior to eating

If you desire a heavier, denser taste– then you can add in a starch ingredient such as a sweet or white potato. In terms of how you season it, the sky is the limit for flavorful herbs and spices!

There are so many ways to cook this unique legume from braised, stewed or sauteed, to adding in global flavors of curry, tahini, and cumin.

You can even elect to make it heartier with chickpeas and walnuts if you like. Fold it into yogurt for a light lunch.  Most importantly, add some seasonings such as salt, pepper, and chives to taste.

If you are not sure what spices to use, try and sample a different spice monthly [which is put together for you HERE]:

What You Receive Each Month!

  • Four new spice blends from a single region or country

  • Four chef-developed recipes showcasing each of the monthly spice blends

  • Online access to recipes, ingredient substitutes, and alternative uses

A Healthy Version of an Old Favorite

I love preparing ethnic, international cuisines so I combined two regions—Warm Lentil Salad with Lardons and Sauteed Spicy Spinach (French) with grilled Cod (Maine); to create an exciting replacement for your more traditional evening dinner.

To look good and feel good… choose food that is more healthy, flavorful; but always strive make your plating “chef worthy gorgeous” by drizzling it with some reduced balsamic glaze. We eat with our eyes first!

Now that you know how to prepare a ‘Warm French Lentil Salad with Lardons and French Spinach’, take your knowledge even further by enrolling in our 6-week Elegance in the Kitchen Cooking Workshop which includes classy menu planning to improve your good eating habits, discover the art of easy, healthy, and upscale recipes for dining in, and age-defying wellness strategies for the weeks ahead. You can dine out but why not dine elegant, classy and easy at home?

 

Photo Source: Puy Lentel Le Pain Quoitidien