I created this recipe for my “Fantastic Fiber” theme at work. Lentils are high in fiber and so versatile. Because of their high fiber content, they are considered to be one of the cleansing foods. This is a new way to enjoy lentils, an idea I got from the Indian dishes idlis and vadas, which are commonly eaten in South India. It was also suitable for my “Heavenly Hors D’oeuvres” theme–as they make great little appetizers.
Peppery Red Lentil Patties
½ cup red lentils, soaked for at least 2 hours
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped spring onions or scallions
½ teaspoon chopped and seeded jalapeño peppers
Good quality cooking oil for sautéing
Drain the soaked lentils and rinse. Add lentils, water, salt, garlic and black pepper to a blender. Blend all ingredients until they are smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chopped onions/scallions and jalapeños. Heat a little oil in a non-stick (preferably ceramic) skillet over medium heat, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Stir the batter. Add about 1 tablespoon batter to the heated pan for each patty. Smooth out to desired thickness. Cook a couple of minutes until golden brown. Turn and cook the other side for 1–2 minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm or hot. Makes approximately 10 mini (2-inch) patties. Serve with chutney, yogurt, sour cream, or your favorite condiment. Enjoy!
Lentil Health Benefits
Though all lentils provide fantastic health benefits, red lentils cook more quickly and are considered to be the tastiest of the bunch. While cooking, they usually turn from reddish to a lighter yellow color. Lentils should be rinsed before cooking. Like any legume, soaking lentils overnight and discarding the water helps speed up the cooking process and helps remove impurities.
- Protein– Lentils are rich in protein, which is well known to the vegetarian and vegan communities. In fact, a 1 cup serving of lentils provides nearly 40% of your daily recommended value of protein, and you will only be getting 230 calories for that entire cup!
- Iron– Often another big problem for vegetarians and vegans is getting enough iron in their diets. Lentils provide iron, without the fat and cholesterol associated with red meat. Women, especially pregnant women, and children should be especially careful to get adequate amounts of iron as their needs are greater.
- Fiber– Lentils are another great vegetable source of fiber, and their high fiber content helps you to feel full with less food. High fiber legumes like lentils are especially useful for those trying to stabilize blood sugar levels, as your metabolism burns them very slowly over time. The fiber is also effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
- Anti-oxidants– Lentils contain anti-oxidants similar to those in tea, red wine and other foods.
- Heart-Healthy– In addition to the fiber, magnesium and folate, a B vitamin, are found in lentils and very important nutrients to heart health.