notes from Cindy DeOms
NOTES: Over the days of this fast we will share with you notes and insight from Cindy who has been a leader at our church. Her insight will help us to stick to the fast and make it successful.
Lentils are small round seeds that come in a multitude of colors. The most commonly seen in stores here are the brown ones but green and red are also easy to find. Lentils are part of the legume family, related to beans and peas. They are low in fat, high in fiber and protein and are a good source of potassium, vitamin B1 and iron. They are a powerhouse of good for you!
Nutritional data can be found here. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/list
You may have already eaten lentils without knowing what they are exactly because they are frequently mixed with rice to cook together. Some of those ready to eat packages of rice have lentils in them. Many pre-packaged foods have ingredients not allowed on the Daniel fast (not to mention they are expensive!) but you can make your own. You can cook the rice and lentils together or separate, depending on how you like them cooked (firm vs. mushy). Lentils cook a little bit faster than brown rice. Use vegetable broth or seasonings (garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, whatever suits you) in the water. A traditional middle Eastern dish is Mujadrra, which is lentils and rice mixed together and topped with caramelized onions. Here's a link with a recipe for that, if interested.
You don't need to soak dried lentils like you do dried beans, which makes them easy to use. They are a great addition to soups or stews and can be put in 20-30 minutes or so before done cooking. Cook a batch (keeps in the fridge for about a week) to toss in salads or enjoy by themselves. You may want to add a little oil, vinegar/lemon juice or other seasonings to them because they are rather plain in flavor. When off the Daniel fast, they can be a healthy addition to things like meatloaf.
The green and brown can be used interchangeably but be aware that the red ones have a different taste and texture and may not be appropriate for every recipe. Red lentils are frequently seen in Indian cuisine. The brown ones get softer and are slightly better suited for soups and stews while the green are firmer and are good when added to things such as salads or side dishes.
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