The Mediterranean diet is based on a lifestyle rather than a strict list of foods. It focuses on whole, fresh, and seasonal food and promotes healthy cooking techniques. The Mediterranean diet has been associated with longevity, which is why it’s often called the “longevity diet” or the “Mediterranean-style eating pattern. ”
I have chosen to focus on the Mediterranean diet because of its wide range of health benefits. It is known to be one of the best anti-aging diets and also helps reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and depression. If you are looking for a way to minimize premature aging and prolong your life this simple lentil stew is for you! It’s full of color with hints of citrus flavor along with a slight kick from red pepper flakes.
If you’ve been a little hesitant to try lentils because of their reputation as an unappealing health food, hold off no longer. Lentils are hearty and delicious, with a taste that can be brightened up with fresh herbs and lemon juice. Serve them alongside vegetables for an easy vegan dinner or pack them in your lunch box for a nutritious meal on the go.
What is the cooking time for the lentils?
There are many reasons to love legumes. To reap the full benefits of lentils, learn how to cook them well. Lentils have the advantage of not requiring prior soaking . All you need to do is rinse them quickly with cold water. Then place them in a large saucepan filled with three times their volume in cold water . Be careful not to salt the cooking water.
In water, lentils cook for an average of 20 to 25 minutes . This time is reduced to 15 minutes if you cook your lentils in a pressure cooker, and to 10 minutes on average for cooking in a pressure cooker. Keep in mind that the cooking time of the lentils will also depend on the type of legume chosen. Red lentils, for example, need a lot less time to cook than green lentils, which themselves need a lot less time to cook than blond lentils. If you’re dreading the cooking step, check out canned lentils for quick and easy recipes.
This recipe requires a slow cooker to cook the lentils. I chose to use green lentils because they tend to be a little less mushy than other types of lentils. They also have a more mild flavor and blend nicely with other ingredients in the stew.
In case you’re wondering, you don’t have to follow a Mediterranean diet to enjoy this delicious stew. It tastes amazing and would be great served with any type of fresh bread, pasta, or rice. I hope you enjoy it!
The Mediterranean Lentils Original Recipe
Lentils grown in the Mediterranean are small beans eaten throughout western Europe and eastern Asia since prehistoric times. Spanning the relatively short Lentils, though in size, can stretch quite a ways! This makes them perfect for stews, salads and soups. They are delicious eaten fresh from the pod or dried and then boiled, baked or steamed. They have a mild flavor that is slightly nutty with some sweetness. Make lentils a regular ingredient in your kitchen this season by adding them to your weekly meal plan alongside vegetables and grains.
Combine the dry lentils with the water in a slow cooker (at least 6 qt.).
Cover and cook on low for 12 hours or overnight. If you are cooking them on high, it will probably take less time.
After cooking, discard any remaining water from the slow cooker and drain the lentils into a colander to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onions and garlic until tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, ground coriander seeds, cumin, and cinnamon stick to the pot along with some of their oil or fat from the pan. (I added the cinnamon stick and bay leaves to the saucepan--it was easier than trying to remove them from the slow cooker.)
Bring the sauce to a boil.
Add the lentils, beans, and thyme leaves (if desired) to the saucepan and stir in well.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender (if you prefer them softer, you may cook longer).
Remove the saucepan from heat and discard all of the solids except for some of the oil from the sauce. (It’s okay to add more if there isn't enough at this point.)
Place stew back in slow cooker and stir well, making sure all lentils are coated in the sauce.
Serve with fresh bread, dolma, pita bread, or any other Middle Eastern flatbread such as lavash or tortillas.
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 379
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 10.5g17%
- Saturated Fat 1.5g8%
- Sodium 35mg2%
- Total Carbohydrate 55.2g19%
- Dietary Fiber 26g104%
- Sugars 6.4g
- Protein 19.9g40%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
-I added the cinnamon stick and bay leaves to the saucepan, as I mentioned in the fifth step, because removing them from the slow cooker would have been difficult.
-I used half of a crushed red pepper in place of the sugar because I wanted to tame the heat from my cayenne pepper.
-You could substitute a smaller amount of canned tomatoes for crushed tomatoes by using other tomatoes that you like such as peeled plum or cherry tomatoes.
-You may substitute parsley for the thyme.
-If you don’t want any heat, you can omit the crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper.