Weekend Chew: Roasted Lentils

This year is the Year of the Pulse, and what better way to celebrate than with some roasted lentils! Lentils are a legume, and even further categorized as a pulse, or a legume that only includes the dry seed. Besides lentils, other types of pulses include beans, chickpeas, and dried peas.

Lentils are very nutrient-dense; a quarter-cup has 4.5 g of protein and 4 g of fiber, and it’s a good source of magnesium, phosphorous, and folate. Even better, they’re super easy to make, and they’re perfect for an on-the-go snack.

The great thing about lentils is that their neutral taste picks up any flavor you add to them. This makes them a great option for those who are trying to reduce their sodium intake. So long as they’re well flavored with your favorite herbs and spices, you don’t even need salt. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines advise limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. Most people don’t meet this sodium goal—average intake is around 3,400 mg per day—so roasted lentils are a perfect option.

Check out our seasoning blends below, and with so many different spices and seasonings, let your imagination run wild. Mix and match different spices to create your own blends.year of the pulse

Taco Seasoning: Chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper

Lemon Pepper: Lemon zest, sugar, onion powder, celery seed, black pepper

BBQ: Smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, brown sugar, thyme, mustard powder, black pepper

Italian Spice Blend: Parsley, basil, garlic powder, rosemary, onion powder, oregano, thyme, black pepper

Cinnamon Swirl: Brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg

To make roasted lentils, start by soaking them overnight in water. After soaking, in a large pot, add one cup of lentils and one cup of water. Bring to boil, then simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. (If you don’t want to cook the lentils, you can buy the canned variety, which come already cooked and ready to roast.)

When they’re done, the lentils should have sprouted and will be soft. Pre-heat the oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the lentils with a salt-free spice blend, then spread on the pan and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until crunchy. Let cool and enjoy.

Roasted lentils are a tasty, filling, and nutrient-dense snack that you can take on-the-go or enjoy on a lazy, weekend afternoon. Pair it with some fruits and vegetables for some antioxidants, or some nuts or seeds to get all the necessary amino acids.