Lentils with Fried Onions and Brown Rice
Lentils are an under appreciated super food. They are often referred to as legumes but they are called pulses which are the seeds within the legume pod (Nutrition Source, 2019). They have been associated with regulating insulin levels in both healthy and diabetic people especially when replacing them for unrefined grains in your diet (Clark et. al., 2022).
Keeping your insulin stable is important for your overall health because your insulin levels effect every one of your organs, from your brain to your kidneys and even your skin (Emily, 2022).
These small but mighty pulses can also help lower your cholesterol because of their fiber content and potassium. This in turn can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. They can even help people who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease by lowering their cholesterol (The Bean Institute, n.d.).
Getting creative with lentils can be a little tricky if you are new to them, but don’t be afraid, they are forgiving! If you have some extra time cook up a large batch and store them in your fridge- they can last you all week. They make easy delicious breakfast (yes, you read that correctly), lunch and dinner with just a few ingredients needed to spice them up.
The first step on this journey is to choose a lentil variety that you like. Each color of lentils is unique in texture, flavor, and nutrition.
Let’s use green lentils for this week’s recipe. They are full of antioxidants, iron, and magnesium plus packing 24 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber and 80 mg of calcium in ½ cup of dried beans (Weg, 2017).
Cook more than you think you will need, lentils and brown rice store well in both the fridge (for about a week) and the freezer. Reheating them in the microwave makes for a fast lunch or dinner.
*Note; the brown rice will take about 25 minutes longer to cook than the lentils.
*It will be worth checking the back of your packaged lentils, their simmering time does tend to differ in between brands. On average brown rice needs around 45 minutes to simmer. Lentils can range from 15- 45 minutes of cooking time depending on the brand you buy.
When you are cooking your lentils check for your desired texture by carefully scooping a few out of the pot and cooling them down for a moment.
You can top this basic recipe with any number of options from shredded chicken to a fried egg or a few spices such as cumin, smoked paprika or even a preservative free curry sauce. This combo may become your favorite versatile staple to keep in your fridge!
Yield: 4-5 servings Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 45 min Total time 1 hr
- 1C Green Lentils
- 1C Brown Rice
- 1/3 Small Onion
- Organic Tzatziki Sauce
(Staples not listed in the ingredient list are olive oil, salt and pepper)
- Fried egg
- Shredded chicken
- A large dallop of curry sauce
- Assorted spices such as smoked paprika and cumin
- Place 2 1/4 cups of water (or vegetable broth) on the stove and add the brown rice and a bit of olive oil. Bring to a boil then cover and turn the stove top down to a simmer. Let simmer for 45 minutes (alternatively you can use a rice cooker)
- Place 3 cups of water on the stove bring to a boil then add lentils. Turn down the stove top to a simmer and loosely cover with a lid. Simmer for 12-15 minutes, depending on what your packaging says.
- Drain the lentils with a colander when finished and set aside. Rinse the pot as you can use it for your onion next.
- Dice the onion into small pieces and add to your rinsed out lentil pot with olive oil. Cook until lightly browned. Set aside.
- When your brown rice is finished you are ready to plate your food!
- Place brown rice down first, top with an equal amount of lentils and your fried onions, add a dallop of tzatziki sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
Clarke,S., Sarfaraz, S., Qi,Xinye., Ramdath, D., Fougere,G., & Ramdath, D. (2022, Feb 18). A Review in the relationship Between Lentil Serving and and Acute Postprandial Blood Glucose Response: Effects of Dietary Fiber, Protein and Carbohydrates. Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8877848/
Emily, J. (2022, Feb. 12). 8 Ways Balancing Your Blood Sugar can Improve Your Health. Metabolic Health. https://www.veri.co/learn/7-benefits-of-stable-blood-sugar
The Nutrition Source. (2019). Legumes and pulses.
Weg, A. (2017, Oct. 24). Red Lentils vs Green Lentils: Which Type is Best? Cooking Light.