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Lentils: Quick, Healthy, and Delicious

September 09, 2021

Last month, PCF staff had a special treat: Chef Nicole Derseweh volunteered to lead us in a virtual cooking class.  She created a healthy recipe for our employees, incorporating several ingredients from the Periodic Table of Microbiome-Friendly Foods, and we joined her from our individual home kitchens, under her expert guidance.

Now, we want to share her recipe with you. It’s quick and easy: while the lentils are cooking, you can prep the other ingredients. The leftovers are almost better the next day, cold or warmed up. And, nutrition-wise, it’s hard to beat. The 5 ingredients that Nicole chose from the Periodic Table are chock-full of fiber and micronutrients.

The microbiome refers to the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi living on and in your body (99% of which is in your gut). That means that whatever you eat, your gut bacteria eat, too; as it turns out, they especially like the fiber from plant foods that our bodies can’t digest. In turn, the bacteria pump out byproducts we need for our own health, such as vitamins B and K, and molecules called short-chain fatty acids that affect the immune system. Research links an unhealthy microbiome with chronic diseases such as allergies, asthma, obesity, and diabetes. The types of bacteria in your microbiome may even affect both the development of cancer and your response to cancer treatment.

What does that mean for your diet? Eat a variety of plant-based, high-fiber foods to foster a diverse array of gut bacteria.

One key ingredient here is lentils, a fiber powerhouse: a half-cup serving contains 8 grams of fiber. The recipe calls for French lentils—smaller and more delicate than the usual brown lentils—but you can use any variety that’s available. Cooking times may vary, so be sure to check for doneness. You don’t want lentil soup! You can sprout your lentils first by soaking them in water overnight, which increases the availability of nutrients to your body and shortens cooking time. Note: improper sprouting at home can make you sick. Take a few simple steps to avoid foodborne illness.

Read more about cookbook author and TV show host Chef Nicole Derseweh here.

PCF would also like to thank Kandarian Organic Farms for providing us with the lentils for the recipe at wholesale pricing. Larry Kandarian is a steward of the land and uses regenerative farming and heirloom seeds to grow organic lentils, beans, seeds and grains with nutritional, cultural and culinary value that taste great! Learn more at: https://www.kandarianorganicfarms.com/about