Colourful lentil varieties
If you think back to the lentil dishes of your childhood days, it’s probably Grandma's green-brown stew with Frankfurter sausages that comes to mind. But in the meantime, lentils have shed their peasant food image and have found their way into gourmet kitchens. At home, too, the range of types brings colour to the table and variety to the menu:
A type of mountain lentil that is peeled. That's why it's cooked after 20 minutes and easily takes on the taste of spices.
The brown lentil (which can also be green) is very common in Europe and is a classic for stews.
The yellow lentil is also peeled, quickly cooked and an important component of Indian cuisine. Both red and yellow lentils are particularly suitable for soups.
Often found in salads, the Beluga lentil is the smallest and darkest of all lentil varieties and has a firm bite. The Puy lentil is the more extravagant variety and grows on volcanic soil in the Auvergne, a region in central France.
What makes lentils especially healthy?
Lentils contain a lot of protein; only soy beans contain even more at 35%. This is why the pulse is such a popular meat substitute with vegetarians and vegans. Lentils are also rich in vitamins and minerals. They have only a few calories, but will keep you feeling satisfied for a long time. This is because the fibre and healthy, complex carbohydrates in the lentils cause blood sugar levels to rise and drop gradually. In addition, lentils are said to have positive effects on blood pressure and heart rate.
Basic recipe for lentil soups
The peeled lentil varieties are particularly suitable for soups. Easier to digest than unpeeled lentils, there is also no need to soak them. Soups containing red and yellow lentils are particularly quick to make. But be aware that lentils approximately double their volume when cooked.
Lentils are best combined with potatoes, rice and other vegetables as this ensures that the protein is well absorbed by the body. Oriental and Indian cuisines feature lentil soups in numerous variations.
Origin of the pulse
Together with beans, peas and peanuts, lentils are classified as pulses, one of mankind's oldest crops. The biggest producers are Canada, India and Turkey.