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May 30, 2008

As a vegetarian it behooves me, and you, not to forget about the lentil. It may be small in stature, but it is a nutritional giant. Lentils are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin B1, and iron. After soybeans, lentils are the second-richest source of vegetarian protein.

If some background on this food doesn’t motivate you to eat more lentils, it at least might intrigue you. The lentil comes from a plant in the legume family and is actually the seed of the plant. The seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each, and they range in color from yellow, orange, and red to green, brown, and black.

Lentils can be mixed with grains, such as rice, to make a complete meal that cooks quickly and easily in a rice cooker, if you have one. Just put equal parts of rice and lentils in the rice cooker, and the same amount of water; then add some flavoring, perhaps crushed garlic and a veggie bouillon cube. In 20 or 30 minutes you’ll be eating.

Here is a quick and yummy red lentil soup that can be made with lemon juice. I used parts of both of these recipes:


I opted for a mix of cumin and coriander for the spices, used veggie broth, of course, and puréed it before serving.

However you decide to use your lentils, know your body will thank you for such a healthful meal.

—Gabrielle Harradine, Assistant Editor

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