I am one of new year lucky foods but they are also able to give us a lot of health: for this reason lentils should be eaten regularly, not only on New Year’s Eve to attract good luck.
Italy can boast many variety to try and also many traditional recipes that have lentils as an ingredient, so enjoying their nutritional properties is really easy and tasty.
Looking forward to savoring them on the eve of 2023 and celebrating them on New Year’s Day, when the National Day dedicated to them, let’s find out because lentils are good for you e how to cook them.
The properties of lentils: full of vegetable proteins and more
Lentils are a very nutritious legume thanks tohigh in carbohydrates, vegetable proteins (100 grams of dried lentils contain 22 grams) e fibre. They are also an excellent source of vitaminsespecially those of the group Be di mineral saltsmostly potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.
The whole without saturated fat and cholesterolwhich instead are present in protein foods of animal origin, e gluten free. A mix of nutrients that makes them a very precious food for your well-being.
Lentils: the health benefits
Thanks to the great nutritional profile, lentils are a powerhouse fuel for the bodyuseful to counteract tiredness, fatigue and anemia.
I am also a antidote to bad mood because they are very rich in magnesium, with a relaxing effect, and in group B vitamins, in particular B9 (folic acid) and B1, which are important for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
The richness of iron and folic acid also makes them precious allies of female well-beingparticularly during the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy.
Lentils are also ideal to include in the diet of those with il diabetes: the high fiber content, in fact, helps to slow down the absorption of sugars, therefore it helps to regulate blood sugar levels it’s at prevent blood sugar spikes.
These legumes also represent a very valuable food for vegetarians and vegans thanks to their richness in vegetable proteins and are suitable for coeliacs because, as we have seen, they do not contain gluten.
In short, lentils are really good for everyone! Only Those with irritable bowel syndrome should eat them in moderation: like all legumes, in fact, they contain non-absorbable sugars which, fermenting in the intestine, could make them poorly tolerated e cause gastrointestinal disturbances such as bloating, pain and bloating (excessive gas in the gastrointestinal tract).
In all other cases, lentils have no contraindications, on the contrary, they should be brought to the table regularly, at least 2-3 times a weekalternating them with other legumes, to make the most of their positive effects.
Lentil varieties to try
For 2023 we offer you this good resolution: eat lentils more often, if you rarely consume them. A goal that is not difficult to achieve, also because there are so many varieties of lentils that they really satisfy all palates. Let’s get to know some of the most famous and tasty ones better:
- the Lentil of Castelluccio di Norcia PGIwhich is grown in the Sibillini National Park, in Umbria: small, round and with a thin skin, it does not require soaking, cooks in a few minutes and is perfect to be enjoyed stewed with cotechino.
- The Colfiorito lentilanother typical Umbrian product that takes its name from the homonymous plateau where it is grown: small and tasty, like that of Castelluccio, it does not need to be soaked and, as well as with cotechino and zampone, it is excellent for enriching soups.
- The Ustica lentilthe smallest variety in Italy, Presidio Slow Food with a tender and savory taste that cooks without soaking.
- The green lentil from Altamura PGIalso known as “giant” because it is larger than the other varieties, which is consumed after soaking for a few hours and which, due to its compact consistency, is excellent to be enjoyed as a side dish.
- The Villalba lentilin the province of Caltanissetta, Presidio Slow Food which is distinguished by its large size and particularly high iron and protein content.
- The lentil of Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Presidio Slow Foodgrown on the Gran Sasso plateau, in the Abruzzo National Park, very small and very tasty, to be cooked without soaking.
Tips for cooking lentils
Lentils are very simple to prepare. They are bought dry and are consumed after having them boil o cooked in a pan or in the pot with the other ingredients, if they are used as an ingredient in soups. As we have seen, soaking is not always necessary: when in doubt, to make no mistake, just read the instructions given on the packaging.
For some people, lentils are a bit difficult to digest. A solution to overcome this inconvenience is to buy them decorticated, i.e. deprived of the outer skinor add a bay leaf or mint while cooking. In fact, both of these aromatic herbs have a carminative action, that is, they help prevent the abdominal swelling that lentils can cause.
In Italy it is a tradition in many regions, from Umbria to Sicily, to taste lentils in soups and stewsto be enriched with cereals such as barley and spelled or to be enjoyed accompanying them with slices of toasted homemade bread.
But lentils are also great for preparing tasty second courses, combined with cotechino and zampone during the Christmas holidays or to sausages. Try them too in saladfor example together with onions and oranges.
Especially for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, but not only, these legumes are the perfect ingredient for preparing meat sauce, meatballs and vegetable burgers.
Not only the Italian one, but also other gastronomic cultures have lentils as an ingredient in many specialties: this is the case of Lentil Dahla very spicy ethnic recipe of Indian tradition, and del lentil tabbuleha salad of legumes and vegetables, combined with quinoa or bulgur, very common in Lebanese cuisine.
Lentils can also be used to prepare two Middle Eastern specialties which, in the original version, are prepared with chickpeas:hummus eh falafel.
In short, if you want to attract good luck and good health on New Year’s Eve, don’t miss lentils on the table, with the traditional cotechino or in an ethnic version. And get into the good habit of eating them regularly all year round.