20 years ago, the only place where you could find lentils was your grandma’s soup.
But today, they are popular enough to deserve a place in mainstream and even fancy restaurants!
You’ll see menus listing lentil soup, salad, lentil burgers, and so much more.
Now, you’re wondering, what does lentil soup even taste like? Not so fast! The taste of a lentil depends on its color and variation.
Sounds fun, right? Let’s dive into this lentil soup!
What Are Lentils?
Lentils are proud members of the legume family (beans being their more renowned cousin). These are plants that contain edible seeds that have external protective skin. You can eat lentils with or without this seed coating, whole or split, depending on your preference. Your choice affects the texture and cook time of the lentils.
These little discs are packed with protein, with the amazing potential to reduce the risk of heart disease. Lentils have become a staple in many diets and cultures and are a great addition to your diet! Especially if you’re trying to be healthier.
Dried lentils have 42 to 47% starch, 63% carbs, 26% protein, and 8% water. They are packed with minerals and an excellent source of phosphorus, potassium, zinc, calcium, and magnesium.
But enough with the boring nutrition facts and back to the age-old question: what do lentils taste like?
It depends on the color, and there are many and varied colors.
True, even those colors aren’t very likely to ease a lentil’s way onto your kid’s plate. But hey, at least not everything is about health!
Lentil Colors and Tastes
Healthy living does not always have to be boring and bland. Lentils have at least 12 varieties, which all have different tastes and textures. The three most common varieties that we’re going to talk about are commonly used for stews, curries, salad, side dishes, and soups.
You can get these types in your local store. They include:
Yes, that’s exactly the type you’ll find in most dishes (cut to that amazing biryani dish you had).
They are either brown or dark black, and all have a mild, earthy flavor and a creamy texture. When cooked, they remain firm, making them perfect for side dishes, salads, or a stand-alone meal. They even add that heartiness in soups that makes us feel fuzzy inside.
Common brown lentil varieties are German Brown, Spanish Brown, and Indian Brown. There are blackest and tiniest lentils called Beluga lentils, known for their rich and deep earthy flavor.
Cook time: 20 to 30 minutes
Despite the name, they are not always red: in fact, their color ranges from yellow to bright orange or, finally, red. Depends on where you go in the market!
They have the sweetest and nuttiest taste of all lentil varieties. It’s not candies alright, but it gives your meal a lovely taste and aroma.
A little warning, though: don’t freak out when your red lentils become mushy, as they are not firm when cooked. This mushiness is ideal for curries, thickening soups, and Indian dals. Red lentil varieties include Red Chief and Crimson, which can be found in Indian or Middle Eastern markets.
Red lentils do not have an outer covering, making them cook quicker than the others.
Cook time: 15 to 20 minutes
Green and Puy lentils
These lentils can range from pale to mottled green-brown color with a glossy protective covering. They have a robust, peppery flavor. Green lentils take quite a while to cook, however, they keep a firm shape and texture.
This makes them ideal for side dishes or salads. Their peppery taste can also give your chili the kick it needs. Puy lentils are the caviar of lentils and have the same grey-green color as green lentils. They have the best flavor and texture of all types of lentils, which is why it is quite pricey.
Cook time: 45 minutes
Is Soaking My Lentils Before Making My Famous Soup Necessary?
Lentil soup is a popular bowl made from lentils, vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots, spices such as salt and pepper, or other dried herbs and vegetable broth. You can also use chicken broth if you want!
Before cooking your lentils, it is best to cover them with water and soak for 3 to 4 hours. This is to get a better end product, as the lentils become tender and you can get rid of any rocks or debris.
Soaking your lentils also increases the mineral absorption rate of your body, which allows you to get the best taste plus nutrients. Also, you won’t get gas!
If you couldn’t soak your lentils because you started dinner late, that’s okay! Just add a teaspoon of oil or butter before boiling them so that they won’t stick together. Allow the water from the covered lentils to boil until it goes to half, then put it to simmer on low for its cooking time until it’s al dente.
What’s in It for Me? Health Benefits of Lentils
There are actually a host of benefits when you add lentils to your diet. Here are 5 top ones:
- Supports the digestive system. Lentils are rich in fiber, which helps healthy bowel work.
- Reduces risk of chronic diseases. Lentils’ protective plant compounds boost this legume as an antioxidant.
- Good for your heart. Lentils contain fiber, potassium, and folate, making them cardio-protective.
- Helps to manage your blood sugar levels. They have a low glycaemic index (GI) which improves blood sugar management.
- An excellent source of plant protein. Lentils are rich in protein, making it a good alternative to meat and fish.
Lentils have great potential, and you can unlock them by merely dunking some into a pot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I eat lentils every day?
I’m not sure if anyone would want to eat even the best meal every day, but you can if you really want to! Eating one serving of lentils a day can significantly reduce your risk of bad cholesterol and fill your body up with nutrients it loves. However, make sure you don’t have an allergy to lentils as they may be harmful.
What can I add to lentils for flavor?
Lentils are your canvas, and you can design them however you’d like. The most common combination of spices includes graham masala, salt, ginger, garlic, paprika, and turmeric. When boiling lentils, you can also add a bay leaf with a clove of fresh garlic in the water.
Are lentils good for weight loss?
Including lentils on your weight loss journey will help you lose weight and maintain the loss. Using lentils to replace high-calorie foods will help you prevent or manage obesity and allow you to lose weight healthily.
How to reduce gas when eating lentils?
Apart from soaking your lentils before cooking, you can also use supplements that contain this enzyme: alpha-galactosidase, which will help your digestive process, reducing gassiness.