Many yogis choose to practice a plant-based lifestyle, based on the principle of non-violence to all living beings, to reduce their impact on the environment, or for other personal or health reasons.
Whether or not you are vegan, here are five fun facts about lentils and why you may want to switch out your regular burger for this tasty vegan and gluten-free version:
1. Lentils are high in plant-based protein. Just one cup of cooked lentils have almost 20 g of protein, which is comparable to 3 ozs. of chicken or beef.
2. Lentils are high in fiber. We eat far less fiber than our ancestors did and this reduction of fiber has negatively effected our microbiome, and therefore our overall health. Lentils have one of the highest concentrations of prebiotics, which are excellent for our gut health.
3. Compared to most beans, lentils are easier to digest and to prepare. Follow the basic cooking lentils guidelines below to ensure optimal digestion.
4. Lentils offer a significant source of plant-based iron. Iron is vital for consistent energy. Women and athletes tend to have higher needs for iron.
5. Lentils are considered a heart-healthy food, perhaps primarily due to their high fiber, magnesium and folate content. Numerous studies show that eating more legumes results in a significant reduction in heart disease; some as high as 80%!
VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE Lentil Burger with Grilled Pineapple and Mixed Greens
Step 1. Combine cooked lentils, onion, garlic, flax, sea salt, dried herbs, and curry powder in a large mixing bowl. Mash the ingredients well with a fork and form into burger patties. Add water or vegetable broth if the mixture is dry.
Step 2. Melt coconut oil in pan over high heat.
Step 3. Fry each burger patty until brown on both sides (about 3 to 5 minutes per side). These patties are gluten-free and without “fillers” to bind the ingredients, so be gentle when you’re turning them over. Once the burgers are done, set to the side.
Step 4. Briefly fry the pineapple slices for about 2 minutes per side and place on top of the burgers.
Step 5. Serve on a regular or gluten-free bun with your favorite condiments; or serve with mixed greens and your favorite salad dressing for a paleo version; or replace the mixed greens with crunchy lettuce for a low-carb wrap.
Cooking lentils is easy! Here’s how:
1. Rinse 1 cup of dried lentils and place into a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add 2 cups of water and ½ teaspoon salt, and cover (or use 2 cups of vegetable broth for extra flavor and veggie love (I recommend the Pacific Foods brand). Bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly to ensure that the lentils do not stick to the bottom.
3. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes.
4. Please note that some lentils take longer to cook than others due to the age of the lentil – the longer the lentils have been in storage, the longer they may take to cook.
5. After 30 minutes of cooking, taste to see if the lentils are tender. If they are still hard, add about 1⁄4 cup of water, cover, and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Remove lentils from heat and set aside to cool.
A nutrition coach, registered yoga teacher and IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) ambassador. Certified as a holistic health practitioner by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners; Kamala is passionate about sharing the art and science of what we put in our bodies and how we live, as a conduit to lasting transformation.