Black Lentils with Caramelized Cabbage & Onions

I wanted to create a new lentil recipe–something other than another lentil soup (which I often make). In the summertime I prepared lentil salads, but now that the weather is cooler I thought to try something new. Rather than make a cool salad with lentils, I prepared a warm lentil dish. Black lentils (and French lentils) hold their shape so work well for this recipe. The caramelized veggies add a lot flavor. I got great reviews!

Ingredients

2 cups (uncooked) black lentils, rinse and drain
4 cups vegetable broth
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil)
2 Tbs. minced garlic
1 large onion, finely chopped (3 cups chopped)
1 small head cabbage (3–4 cups chopped)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. adobo seasoning
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast

In a medium size pot, add lentils and broth.


Bring to a boil then cook on medium–high heat for 20–25 minutes, until water in absorbed. Check lentils: if lentils are still al dente, add 1 cup of water and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until lentils are tender but not mushy. Set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté briefly. Add onions, cabbage, salt, adobo and pepper. Stir to combine and cook on medium–high heat for 30–35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little water, if needed, to prevent sticking. Cook until cabbage and onions are tender and caramelized (starting to brown). Add cooked cabbage and onions, and nutritional yeast to lentils. Stir well to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8 (1-cup servings). 

Lentils Health Benefits

Lentils should be rinsed before cooking. Like any legume, soaking lentils overnight and discarding the water helps speed up the cooking process and helps remove impurities.

  • Protein– Lentils are rich in protein, which is well known to the vegetarian and vegan communities. In fact, a 1 cup serving of lentils provides nearly 40% of your daily recommended value of protein, and you will only be getting 230 calories for that entire cup!
  • Iron– Often another big problem for vegetarians and vegans is getting enough iron in their diets. Lentils provide iron, without the fat and cholesterol associated with red meat. Women, especially pregnant women, and children should be especially careful to get adequate amounts of iron as their needs are greater.
  • Fiber– Lentils are another great vegetable source of fiber, and their high fiber content helps you to feel full with less food. High fiber legumes like lentils are especially useful for those trying to stabilize blood sugar levels, as your metabolism burns them very slowly over time. The fiber is also effective in lowering blood cholestero
  • Heart-Healthy– In addition to the fiber, magnesium and folate, a B vitamin, are found in lentils and very important nutrients to heart health.
  • Black lentils do not require soaking, and they are also more resistant to falling apart while being cooked. When it comes to your health, black lentils contain several nutrients and have specific benefits. Carbs come in the form of simple and complex. Simple carbs cause a fast spike in blood sugar levels followed by a fast release of insulin. This in turn promotes weight gain. Complex carbs, on the other hand, digest slowly and give you a steady stream of energy. This causes a slow release of insulin. Legumes have a high amount of complex carbs.
  • High Fiber Content: Black lentils are chock-full of soluble fiber. A 1-cup serving contains 16 grams. Soluble fiber, which is absorbed in water, forms a gel inside the intestinal walls when consumed. Not only does this help regulate blood glucose levels, but it also helps lower cholesterol. Men up to age 50 should aim for at least 38 grams of total fiber a day, and men over 51 should get at least 30 grams. Women 50 years old or younger should get at least 25 grams and women over 51 should aim for at least 21 grams.
  • Protein: Black lentils have a high amount of protein. However, unlike animal sources, they are not complete proteins because they do not contain all of the essential amino acids. One cup of lentils contains 36 grams of protein. The daily recommended intake of protein is 56 grams for men 19 to 70 years old and 46 grams for women in this same age group.
  • Fat and Cholesterol: A diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol increases cholesterol levels and promotes the build-up of plaque inside the arteries. French green lentils are both fat and cholesterol free.
  • Iron and Vitamin C: Iron is commonly found in animal protein. This mineral is important for the transport of oxygen through the body. Legumes in general have a high iron content, which is beneficial in non-meat diets. One cup of French green lentils contains 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts immunity and promotes healthy connective tissue.
  • Eating cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables regularly might lower your risk for cancer, according to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Cabbage is a good source folate and vitamins C and K along with other antioxidants, and it also provides small amounts of potassium, vitamin B-6, manganese and both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Fiber in Cabbage:

Each 1-cup serving of chopped cabbage provides 2.2 grams of fiber, which is about 9 percent of the daily value for fiber of 25 grams.

  • The fiber in cabbage consists of 40 percent soluble fiber and 60 percent insoluble fiber.
  • Increasing Soluble Fiber:
    Consuming 8 grams of soluble fiber per day will provide you with heart-healthy benefits, according to an article published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2002. Other foods that are high in soluble fiber include oatmeal, beans, berries, apricots, apples, plums, peaches, pears, oranges, mangoes, asparagus, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
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