Lentils are having a moment.
The littlest of legumes are now breaking out of the pack. Could lentils be the new chickpea?
Lentils were identified as one of the top 10 natural food trends of 2014, and are now appearing in everything from snack chips and crackers to breakfast cereal, pasta and waffles. Lentil flour has become a popular gluten-free choice for baking.
The lentil trend is catching on due to the growing consumer demand for products high in protein and fiber and free of gluten and soy. Their ancient Middle Eastern pedigree helps give them an exotic appeal. As a source of plant-based protein, lentils have not only become a favorite of food manufactuers. Healthy Aperture bloggers have been having lots of fun with lentils -- cooking up lentil burgers, meat balls, sloppy joes, tacos, burritos, quinoa bowls, pizza, pasta, dips, salads, soups, curries and other entrees. Pictured above is Lentil Quinoa Salad by Veggies Don't Bite.
A member of the pulse family, lentils come in a variety of colors: brown, green, red, black and various shades in between. They're simple to prepare (no soaking needed like their dry bean cousins) and they're extremely versatile. Plus, each tiny, earthy-tasting morsel is packed with protein, fiber and other nutrients.
Here's a sampling of some of the Healthy Aperture creations with lentils:
Lentil Walnut-Apple Burgers
To get the recipe for the Lentil Walnut-Apple Burgers, visit Dreena Burton's Plant-Powered Kitchen.
Lentil Sloppy Joes
To make these vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes, visit Lemons and Basil.
Lentil Bowls with Middle Eastern Vegetables
The recipe for Lentil Bowls with Middle Eastern Grilled Vegetables can be found at Apples and Sparkle.
Curried Red Lentils and Quinoa Bowl
Visit Oh My Veggies to get the recipe for Curried Red Lentil and Quinoa Bowls.
Lentil Salad with Moroccan Coconut Dressing
To make the Lentil Salad with Moroccan Coconut Dressing, check out the recipe at ifoodreal.
Creamy Red Lentil and Kale Soup
For the recipe, visit Healthy Family and Home.
Looking for more info on lentils? Check out:
A comprehensive guide to lentils by Oh My Veggies
Meet the pulses by the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council
Lentils by The World's Healthiest Foods
Five mistakes people make when cooking lentils by Bon Appetit