Need a new way to get more plant-based protein into your life? Here’s a delicious way to do it!
With the focus on tofu and other soy products, lentils are often one of the more overlooked plant-based proteins. Packed with fiber and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, they make an excellent addition to your weekly protein offerings. A few reasons on why we need more lentils in our life:
Lentils are an excellent source of dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Soluble fiber supports our heart by binding cholesterol within the digestive tract, allowing it to be excreted. This helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for heart disease. Additionally, lentils contain folate and magnesium, two nutrients that play a key role in heart health.
It all comes back to the fiber! At 16 grams per cup, lentils help ensure that your digestive system is functioning optimally. Soluble and insoluble fiber are both essential for digestive health. Research has shown that a diet high in dietary fiber may reduce the risk of colon cancer and other digestive diseases.
In addition to the digestive and heart benefits, lentils also provide a sustained source of energy by keeping blood sugar balanced and energy levels up. Again, fiber is the key player here. Soluble fiber helps slow the transit of food through the digestive tract, thus slowly releasing glucose (sugar) and other nutrients into the bloodstream. This prevents the blood sugar spike (and energy crash) that can occur after eating a meal that’s high in carbohydrates.
Are you more convinced that you need to add more lentils to your life?
If not, perhaps this lentil bruschetta will. Lentils are one of the easier plant-based proteins to prepare and take only 20-30 minutes to cook. Serve over a bed of spaghetti squash or on whole grain rye bread with a side of leafy greens. It also makes a good appetizer – serve in endive boats or on top of zucchini slices.
- 1 cup dried green or brown lentils
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes sliced in quarters
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup feta cheese optional
- sea salt and pepper to taste
For the full recipe and instructions, head over to the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: KATHERINE RATLIFF
Katherine Ratliff, MS, RDN is a Minneapolis-based Registered Dietitian with a passion for transforming food into simple, delicious, and nourishing meals. She believes the path to health and happiness comes from focusing on foods that help nourish, heal and grow. By focusing on the six pillars of health, Katherine helps others create vibrant and meaningful lives. To read more, visit her at At Katherine’s Table.