Soak Lentils Before Soup Diet

How to Lose 15-20 Pounds by Eating Soup

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Pronounce it: len-til

The lentil plant (Lens Culinaris) originates from Asia and North Africa and is one of our oldest sources of food. A cousin to the pea and a rich provider of protein and carbohydrates the lentil is also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and B vitamins – making it an important diet staple the world over.

There are several different varieties – most commonly used in cooking are Brown, Red and Green lentils, although Puy and Yellow are stocked in many health and specialist shops.

Availability

Choose the best

Lentils can be bought, ready to eat, in a can and are ideal for adding bulk to salads and sides.

Most commonly, lentils are bought dried and ideally will be firm, clean and unshrivelled. The type of lentil you choose will depend on intended usage:

Green and brown: Ideal for warm salads, casseroles and stuffing as they tend to retain their shape after cooking.

Puy lentils: These grey-green lentils, grown in the French region of Le Puy, are often more expensive than other common cooking varieties and are thought to be superior in texture (which they retain after cooking) and taste. This makes them the perfect accompaniment to more expensive ingredients such as fish and game, as well as sausages.

Red split lentils: When cooked these lentils form a rich puree and therefore are superb for thickening dishes such as soups and casseroles. They are also often cooked with spices to make the Indian side dish, dhal.

Yellow lentils: Being quite similar to Red Split lentils, the yellow variety are used in a similar way and are great for adding colour to winter dishes.

Prepare it

Lentils do not require it but can be soaked in order to reduce cooking time by about half.

Before cooking, rinse lentils in cold water, pick over to remove debris or shrivelled lentils and then drain.

Keep lentils in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Although lentils can be kept and eaten indefinitely, they are best enjoyed within one year of purchase.

Boil lentils in three times more water than pulse and avoid cooking with anything acidic – such as vinegar.

Lentils will vary in their cooking times depending on their variety and age so always check the packet.

As a rough guide to cooking times:

Green and Brown lentils: 35 – 45 minutes

Red Split lentils: 15 – 20 minutes

Soaking Lentils (recipe plus video)

There are 3 types of lentils: green, brown, and red. I typically use green lentils as they hold their shape very well after cooking, but I have recently found the red lentil to be simply delightful in soups.

When combined in a dish with homemade stock as shown in this week’s video, lentils make an economical, nutritious alternative to meat. The gallon of lentil soup I make in this video only cost about $5 – and I used organic vegetables and organic lentils! This is about 25 cents a serving!

Even the cheapest fast food can’t beat that!

In tough economic times, incorporating lots of lentils into your meals is a smart way to keep the food budget in check without sacrificing anything in nutrition!

Incidentally, Dr. Weston A. Price considered lentils to be the most nutritious of all legumes as they are loaded with potassium,, calcium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins. I first learned this at the 2007 Wise Traditions Conference during Sally Fallon Morell’s talk on “Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner’. The soup recipe I show you how to make in this video is an adaptation of the lentil soup recipe Sally discussed during that seminar.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has over the past few years!

Soaking Lentils How-to Video

In the video below, I show you how to soak lentils prior to cooking them. This reduces phytates and other anti-nutrients so all the nutrition in the lentils can be easily absorbed. Making sure you do this preparation step also will reduce any gas that you might experience from cooked but unsoaked lentils.

Soaking Lentils

As discussed in the video above, soaking lentils prior to cooking significantly enhances the nutritional value of these tasty legumes. If time is a concern, you can soak large batches of lentils, rinse/low temperature dry and then freeze. This way, when you want to make a recipe using lentils, you can just grab some out of the freezer and cook immediately rather than have to wait several hours or overnight to soak some first.

If you wish to save even more time, you can skip the step requiring soaking lentils and use sprouted lentils instead. I have actually switched over to using sprouted lentils most of the time now that quality organic ones are available at the healthfood store.

You can use either organic sprouted green lentils or the sprouted lentils trio (black, red, and green lentils). The trio is my favorite.

Note: never use the soaking water from lentils for cooking. This new practice, known as aquafaba, is not traditional and has many dangers to your health.

Do You Need to Soak Lentils Before Cooking?

Few dishes are as simple or satisfying as a lentil soup.

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The list of reasons to include lentils in your diet is a long one. Lentils are high in protein and fiber, and offer many vitamins and minerals. Unlike other beans, lentils do not contain gas-producing substances, such as sulfur. Additionally, they do not have to be soaked before cooking, and because of their small size, they cook more quickly than other beans. Incorporate lentils into your meals to reap the many benefits.

Why to Soak Beans

Cooks soak beans for two reasons. The water penetrates the outer wall of the bean during soaking, softening the bean to reduce cooking time. Soaking also helps eliminate gas-producing compounds. This can alleviate bloating and flatulence, common side effects of consuming beans. Because lentils are small with tender skins, they cook quickly without soaking. Lentils also lack sulfur, so you do not need to soak them before cooking to eliminate gas.

Spill the Beans

Although you do not need to soak lentils, you must thoroughly inspect and rinse them before cooking. Spread them onto a cookie sheet or pour them into a large bowl. Check them carefully for wrinkled or darkened beans and foreign matter, such as small rocks. You certainly don't want to find something hard and indigestible in your soup or lentil burger. Once you have a clean batch of lentils, rinse them thoroughly to remove dirt.

Fast and Easy

Because you don't need to soak lentils, cooking them takes very little time. Brown and green lentils, found in most U.S. supermarkets, are ready in 20 to 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, lift several beans from the pot, rinse them under cold water and test for doneness. They should be completely tender when you bite into them. Cook them as an ingredient in lentil burgers or as additions to a variety of meals, such as mixed with rice or vegetables. Or add uncooked lentils directly to vegetable soups, where they will cook in about the same time as carrots and potatoes.

Delicious in Soup

Lentils can star in a variety of dishes, but you can never go wrong with the simplicity and deliciousness of a hearty, rustic lentil soup. Start by sauteing onions and garlic in a Dutch oven or non-stick pot. Add vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes or diced squash. Add clean lentils and sufficient water or broth. Cook the ingredients for 20 to 45 minutes, until all of the vegetables and lentils are soft. Add kale or other greens, if desired, and cook until the greens are wilted and bright green. Add in seasonings, such as parsley, thyme, cumin, salt and pepper, to taste.

References

  • The Oxford Companion to Food; Alan Davidson
  • The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What You Should Eat and Why; Jonny Bowden
  • The Bean Institute: Cooking With Dry Beans
  • My Recipes: Lentil Soup With Chard

About the Author

Laura McGowan has written and edited for universities and educational publishers for more than 13 years. She has also covered gardening and wild plant and animal life of Illinois and brings expertise in vegan and vegetarian cooking, Apple computers and Labrador Retrievers. McGowan holds a Master of Arts in English literature.


10:55 pm Updated by

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From low-carb diet, hi-protein diet, low fat diet and eating small meals 5-6 times a day diet, Fat Burning Soup Recipes is the only diet where I lost weight and most importantly kept it off!

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