Having caught the fancy of foodies across the globe, especially vegans, lentils (specifically dals) are all the rage today. When one of the top contenders at MasterChef Australia: Back to Win, Callum Hann, made a flavoursome turmeric-roasted cauliflower dish with yellow split pea (toor) dal, it blew the viewers’mind and wowed the judges—making people sit up and notice the immense potential of this humble (and comforting) food.
In Indian homes, lentils have been used since time immemorial—served almost every day in one form or another. Whether it’s the simple and comforting dal-chawal or a melt-in-the-mouth chana dal kebab, lentils are versatile and delicious.
All about health
Whichever way you may decide to use them, lentils are packed with nutrients. One of the most cost-effective legumes, lentils are easy to procure and cook, and are a great source of protein,which makes them immensely popular with vegetarians and vegans looking for their daily fix of quality plant-based protein. Lentils also contain folate, iron, potassium and manganese.
A paper on ‘Polyphenol-Rich Lentils and Their Health Promoting Effects’ published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences notes that “lentils have the highest total phenolic content in comparison to six other common legumes, such as green pea, chickpea, cowpea, yellow pea, mung bean and peanut”. This phenolic content lends lentils their antioxidants properties.
Lentils are also a rich source of fibre and may check cholesterol levels in diabetic patients. Perfect for those watching their weight, lentils are low on calories and are known to make you feel full for longer.