I live off buddha bowls most days. As a busy mama, I need quick throw-together meals that don’t require much cooking or recipes to follow. These super easy spiced lentils can be batch made and then thrown onto a buddha bowl, on top of a salad, or as a taco filling.
Not to spiced for the kiddos and a meal they enjoy as well!
A little confession, some days I am so busy I end up eating them right from the bowl while standing in front of my fridge. The door closed of course because I’m not a monster (wink wink).
Since lentils are so good for your health, I decided to throw in a bit of research, down below, cuz that’s how my nerd brain roll.
Oh and so you don’t leave empty-handed scroll down for the recipe for these easy spiced lentils! And for more easy lentil recipes check out (this easy lentil bolognese sauce, or this wickedly easy vegan lasagna)
So why are lentils good for you? Let me tell you
1. Lentils are high in protein and low in fat:
Lentils contain a good amount of protein and NON-protein antinutritional factors. While many people worry about the negative effects these antinutrients have, recent research suggests we don’t have as much to worry about as initially thought.
- First off, cooking lentils actually inactivating many of those anti-protein factors, thus increasing the digestibility of protein (4, 6) (more on that below).
- Lentils also contain a good amount of nitrogen, which is a fundamental component of amino acids and increases the bioavailability of protein (2).
FUN FACT: did you know that eating just 5 raw kidney beans could kill you!
2.What about phytic acid and the other antinutrients?
Phytic acid is a small molecule that is found in legumes, grains seeds, and nuts. It is often criticized because of its powerful mineral, protein, and starch binding properties. When e eat foods high in phytic acid, the bioavailability of these nutrients is decreased (7).
However, our small intestine has the ability to produce phytase, an enzyme that can break down phytic acid. Recent studies suggest that diets rich in foods containing phytic acid can prompt extra production of phytase (8). Isn’t our gut a wondrous thing!
More importantly, dietary phytic acid is actually believed to have a protective and health-promoting effect within our bodies. It is a powerful antioxidant (9), has protective effects against cancer and heart disease and may be responsible for the cancer-protective effects known from consuming high-fiber foods (5, 10, 9).
3. Lentils are high in iron and zinc, perfect for plant-based diets!
Iron and zinc are critical elements for many biological and metabolic processes, such as carbohydrate, lipid and protein synthesis, degradation and plasma membrane stabilization (5). Vegan diets are often criticized for being low in iron and zinc!
Lucky for us plant-eaters, lentils have a significant amount of iron and zinc. Just 1 cup of cooked lentils provides roughly 50-60% of your daily recommended iron intake and 80% of your daily recommended zinc intake (2).
4. Lentils have high vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant composition
5. Lentils are heart healthy:
Research has found an association between the consumption of lentils and low rates of heart disease (12, 2). It seems that eating foods rich in folate and fiber (like lentils specifically) help reduce cholesterol blood levels, LDL, and triglycerides (12)
6. Lentils help protect against cancer and can help manage diabetes.
Plant lectins and phytic acid are a unique group of proteins and glycoproteins with potent biological activity. Lectins have been associated with reducing certain types of cancer, activating innate defense mechanisms and managing obesity (4). Since lentils are high in lectin, lentils are suggested to be an important food for preventing certain cancers (2, 13, 14).
Recent discoveries of a plant lectin called ‘defensin’ have shown promising resulting in its ability to halt tumorigenesis due to its ability to block ion channels and protein translation (15).
Lentils are also a good food option for managing diabetes. Due to its low glycemic index and high fiber content, lentils can help attenuate post-meal spikes in blood sugar (2).
7. Lentils have a very short cooking time:
Probably my favorite reason for loving lentils! They require a short cooking time when compared to other pulses or legumes. They do not necessarily need to be soaked and can even be prepared in the Microwave.
- HOWEVER, for optimal bioavailability of mineral, vitamins, digestibility and a reduction in antinutrients, studies suggest germination and microwave cooking. The best condition seems to be a 9-hour soak in 0.1% citric acid solution or water followed by microwave cooking of the seeds (16, 6).
- PRO TIP: this also helps lentils become less gassy…if you know what I mean!
Ok now that this post is super long and SEO hates me, let’s move on tot he recipe shall we…
Spiced lentil Buddha Bowl, why you should eat more lentils!Course: Dinner, LunchCuisine: vegan, glutenfreeDifficulty: Easy
Easy spiced lentils are super nutricious and delicious. Perfect to meal prep and throw onto a buddha bowl, salad or as a taco filling.
2 cups cooked lentils, brown or french lentils
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs veggie bouillon ( I like this one) **
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.4 tsp salt
Juice of one lime
- Over a medium pan on medium high heat add the olive oil and lentils to the pan. Cook for a minute, to coat the lentils then add in the remaining ingredients, except for the lime.
- Continue to cook for 10 minutes to allow the flavours of the spices to come out. Add in the lime juice and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the bay leave then serve with some cooked quinoa and raw veggies or place into the fridge for later. Can be stores for 3-4 days in the fridge.
- ** if you don’t have bouillon powder you can skip altogther, you will still get a delicious meal. You can also add a bit of veggie stock and increase the cook time by a few minutes.
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Until then, tchau