Lentils are the perfect legume to eat in any dish. Perfect in meals like summer salads, dips and spreads, wintery soups, stir-fries, curries - and even patties!
I always choose ingredients that are easy to cook with, and lentils are a hassle-free compliment to any meal. Not only are they delicious and perfect for volumising meals, they actually have a high nutritional value that anyone can benefit from if they incorporate this legume regularly in their diet. Health benefits include:
1. Lowering Cholesterol and Promoting Heart Health
The soluble fibre in lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol, which in turn reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by keeping your arteries sparkling clean! Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which help lower your homocysteine levels (a serious risk factor for heart disease), and also improve blood flow (so that oxygen and nutrients travel better around the body).
2. Promoting Gut Health
The insoluble fibre found in lentils helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. The fibre in lentils is also a key nutrient for feeding our friendly gut bacteria, helping to optimise our gut microbiota!
3. Stablising Blood Sugar
Adding to the many benefits of soluble fibre, it has the ability to trap carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilising blood sugars. This is especially helpful for those who have diabetes or insulin resistance.
4. Enhancing Plant-based Protein
Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein. At 26% protein, lentils are a wonderful source of plant-based protein!
5. Increasing Energy
Lentils are a good source of iron, which helps optimise oxygen transportation through the body (this is key for energy production!) The fibre and complex carbohydrates component of lentils also allows us to have steady-burning energy that can last for hours!
6. Weight Stability
Although lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fibre, protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories. One cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, and will still leave you feeling full and satisfied - in turn, allowing you to feel less hungry for more food afterwards.
Enough talk from me now... Let's get down to the important part of this post! If those health benefits have got you craving lentils, and you need an extra way to get legumes into your diet, then this is your perfect opportunity!
I present you...
Lentil, Mince & Veggie Patties!
This recipe is very budget friendly, freezes really well, and is so easy to make. Give it a go!
Total cost = $10.67
Serves = 6 ($1.77/serve (3 patties))
Preparation time = 10 minutes
Cooking time = 25 minutes
1 can lentils ($0.75)
200g lean beef mince ($2.80)
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil ($0.16)
2 medium red onions, finely sliced ($1.50)
2 tbs water
3 medium zucchinis, grated (drain to remove excess water) ($3.72)
4 Weet-Bix biscuits, crumbed finely ($0.18)
3 eggs, lightly beaten ($0.75)
1 tsp ground cumin ($0.40)
1 tsp ground coriander ($0.35)
1 tsp back pepper ($0.23)
1 tsp salt ($0.01)
Heat half of the oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until brown and soft. Add water and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes. Cool.
Place lentils, onion, zucchini, Weet-Bix crumbs, flour, eggs and spices in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into patties.
Heat remaining oil in a non-stick frypan over medium heat. Cook patties for 5 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on absorbent paper. Makes 18 patties.
Joyce Haddad, Director of A Dietitian's Mission, is an Adelaide based Dietitian, Nutritionist and Master Personal Trainer with a passion for health and wellbeing. ADM aims to help the public make informed and realistic nutritional choices and ensure everyone has a healthy relationship with their body and with food.