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June 24, 2019

The Ingredient: Lentils

Here’s the pulse on this pulse crop.

Photography by Kevan Morin

Old Reliable

Archaeological excavations at Greece’s Franchthi Cave give evidence that lentils were one of mankind’s earliest food crops. Their use dates as far back as the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic eras .

Canadian Pride

Canada is the leading producer and exporter of lentils worldwide, with Turkey, Bangladesh, Egypt, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates as some of our top export destinations. Ninety-nine percent of our lentils are grown in Saskatchewan, while the rest are grown in southern Manitoba and southern Alberta.

Gain by the Gram

100 grams of lentils equals one day’s worth of fibre, more potassium than a large banana, more protein than a yogurt serving and 50 per cent of your daily iron according to the website, Canadian Lentils.

The Lentil Advantage

Just a few reasons to make this ingredient a kitchen-cupboard standby.

1) Lentils do not need to soak before use, cutting cooking time far below that of beans.

2) Think it won’t keep? Think again. Dry lentils have a one-year shelf life.

3) Stews, soups, purees, salads and breakfast bars all benefit from the nutty flavour of this multi-use ingredient.

RECIPE

Make it (Taste) Great

Lentil Sloppy Joes

* Recipe Courtesy of The Vitality Kitchen’s Bianca Osbourne

1 tsp olive oil

medium onion, minced

red or green pepper, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 -2 cups water

cup strained tomatoes

cup low sugar or homemade ketchup

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp blackstrap molasses

tsp chili powder

tsp sea salt

tsp black pepper

tsp red pepper flakes

cup green lentils

In a large skillet or pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add minced onions, green and red peppers and garlic. Cook until onions and peppers are soft and fragrant, 6-8 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until the lentils are tender but not breaking down, 25-30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings while cooking. Serve on a bun or toasted bread.

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