Lentils come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, they’re full of nutrients, fibre, carbohydrates and folic acid. For a low calorie, inexpensive protein dish they can’t be beaten. Add grains, eggs, nuts, seeds or meat for a complete protein dish.
Low in fats and cholesterol and extremely high folic acid which is especially necessary for women of childbearing age and pregnant women. One cup of lentils (cooked) can provide 90% of the RDA, recommended daily allowance.
Combining lentils with Vitamin C rich vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and broccoli helps the body absorb the iron much more efficiently.
Another benefit of lentils is the amount of soluble fibre they contain which is an excellent cleaner for the digestive system.
Lentils have been grown for thousands of years and remains have been found in 4,000 year-old Egyptian tombs.
In the Bible Esau sold his birthright in Genesis 25:34 for a pottage of lentils.
This spicy sausage and lentil stew is an easy if not very quick one-pot dish, full of nutrients and a great hearty dish on a cold day.
It tastes even better if made in advance and slowly re-heated or cooked in a slow-cooker - this really brings out the flavours. Try the spiciest, hottest sausages you can find and you’ll be hooked on the simplicity and tastiness of this dish and the best is it is really economical, healthy and the kids like it too!
Lentils with Spicy Spanish Sausage
2 cups lentils, washed and picked clean
4 cups water
2 cups chicken stock or white wine
4 tbs olive oil
2 large tomatoes - skinned, de-seeded and chopped
2 slices bacon – cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic - crushed
3 bay leaves
salt to taste
1.5 kg spicy chorizo sausages – cut into chunks
1 large onion - chopped
1 large carrot - diced
2 stalks celery - chopped
1 red pepper - de-seeded and chopped
In a large saucepan add the lentils, water, wine or stock, oil, tomatoes, bacon, garlic, half the peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt, bring gradually to the boil and then lower the heat, cover and leave to simmer for about half an hour.
Add the sausage chunks, onion, carrot, celery, pepper and bay leaves to the pan and simmer for a further 30 minutes
Serve with some fresh crusty wholemeal bread and heaps of crunchy green vegetables.
Lentils and sausages are often combined and served New Year´s Day in Italy as lentils are meant to symbolize money; it’s believed that eating them will bring a year of prosperity and good luck.