Red lentils give a unique twist to traditional hummus. Fresh and ready in a snap, you may never buy hummus from the store again!
Confession. I’ve received several pointed reminders that there’s only ONE lentil recipe on my slice of the Internet. It seems Lenses and Lentils is a misleading moniker. Although, in my defense, the name is a fantastic play on words. The lentil plant’s Latin name, “Lens culinaris,” is the origin of the word ‘lens’ for its similar shape.
Anyway, excuses aside, it’s a little shameful, I know, but nothing I can’t fix. In the meantime, I recommend getting your crockpot off its shelf and throwing together this Moroccan Crockpot Lentil Stew for tonight’s dinner.
Now, as you know, I’m not vegetarian. I don’t really like labelling the way that I eat (but when asked, I call it healthy). That being said, it’s safe to say that the highest percentage of my meals are composed of plants. There are very few fruits and vegetables that I won’t eat. Oftentimes, though, I struggle to get enough protein to keep me full. A large salad might work for you, and that’s great, but I learned that it simply doesn’t cut it for me.
Think you can guess what direction we’re heading in?
If you answered lentils, then ding ding ding, we have a winner!
Anyone running a kitchen on a budget is sure to find a best friend in this unassuming legume. They’re cheap and easy to cook. You can make a large pot at the beginning of the week to use in a variety of ways, such as salads, veggie burgers, soups, and this red lentil hummus.
As we mentioned, lentils are a killer source of lean protein, with 18 grams per cup. Unlike animal sources, there’s essentially no saturated fat, making these a better choice for improving heart health. Keep in mind, you won’t get all the essential amino acids from lentils, so make sure to pair them with something else for a complete protein.
One cup of lentils also contains nearly as much fiber as protein. You can kiss those digestive issues goodbye, at least to some extent. An interesting note about fiber is that it reduces the effect of carbs on the body. When looking at the total carbohydrate count of a food, subtract the amount of dietary fiber to get the “net carbs.” This is especially good for anyone who needs to eat a low-carb diet because of something like diabetes. (Just to be clear, I’m not promoting a low-carb diet as the best option for everyone. Carbohydrates are a really important energy source, and frankly delicious.)
In case you thought that marked the end of why lentils are good for you… think again. Last week I had an exam in Intro to Nutrition, focusing on vitamins and minerals. A fun fact, in the loosest sense of the term, is that anemia, iron deficiency characterized by insufficient amounts of hemoglobin in the blood, is one of the most common diseases, affecting 1.6 billion people worldwide. At least, according to my textbook that’s the statistic.
In an ideal world, there would be plenty of resources available for everyone and things like anemia wouldn’t exist. But, alas, that’s not the case, although iron is one of the more easily supplemented minerals. Lentils are a good place to start. Since they’re a plant, they provide non-heme iron, which is less bioavailable than the heme iron found in animal sources. Eating it together with vitamin C helps the body absorb the iron better. Non-vegetarians can improve their iron intake by pairing the lentils with meat, poultry, or fish.
Speaking of food pairings, this week I’ve been putting my blender to plenty of use making various dips and spreads. Whenever I’m eating anything, I just like dipping, and getting that creamy touch to finish off a dish.
The lemon juice in this hummus makes it taste really fresh, with the subtle taste of red lentils laced through the chickpeas. You can also add in herbs, like rosemary, thyme, and/or oregano. It’s easy to play around and make hummus customized exactly to you!
The biggest plug for this, though, is that you barely have to do anything. Never thought you could get delicious homemade hummus with minimal effort, but… think again!
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram to share!
- 1 (16 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 3-4 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp tahini
- ¼ tsp salt
- OPTIONAL: ½ tsp rosemary, thyme, or oregano
- Put lentils and 3 cups water into a pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and cook covered for 5 minutes. Lentils should be soft.
- Drain the lentils. Add all ingredients to high-powered blender or food processor. Process for about 3 minutes, until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.