12 ways to rethink lentils

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12 ways to rethink lentils

Think lentils are fundamentally unsexy? Think again. 2016 is the official year of the pulse, so expect to see much more of these tiny protein powerhouses hogging the limelight this year

Talk about a major rebrand. Upon UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s announcement last November that 2016 would be the year of the pulse, you could practically hear the food trend forecasters tapping away on their keypads, hoping to be the first to proclaim the previous ugly betties hip enough to hang out with the cool kids in the pantry again. We’re looking at you quinoa and chia seeds.

Upon taking a closer look at dried lentils, chickpeas, split peas, beans and their brethren, it seems only logical that they’re currently currying favour in the foodie community. Low-GI and carb-conscious? Why, yes. High in protein? You betcha. In fact, they’re said to contain as much as twice the amount found in other whole grains such as wheat and barley. Environmentally friendly? Naturellement. Not only are pulses water efficient (1 kg of split peas or lentils take only about 50 litres of water to produce, as opposed to 1 kg of beef, which uses up to 13 000 litres), planting them leaves nitrogen in the soil, and their production’s carbon footprint is significantly lower than that of animal protein. Add to the fact that they’re packed with fibre and good-for-you nutrients (vitamin B, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc), can keep for months without losing their nutritional value and are affordable, and it’s pretty easy to see why everyone from vegetarians to carb dodgers are excited.

In celebration of the trendy food group, we’re casting the spotlight on lentils. Real little all-rounders, they lend themselves to everything from hearty soups to fiery curries, and are anything but boring when you show them a little love. Here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy them.


Lentil and dried fruit pilaf

Lentil, coriander and chilli salad with warm cauliflower florets

Stuffed vegetables with lentil rice, pine nuts and parsley


Lentil-and-bean soup

Lentil soup with chickpeas and lamb meatballs

Red lentil-and-chilli broth


Spicy red lentils and crisp tofu

Red lentil and roast butternut curry

Korma coconut curry with lentils


Baked pasta with cauliflower, lentils and Cheddar

Pasta with mushroom-lentil ragu

Egyptian koushari





Annette Klinger Article by: Annette Klinger

Woolworths TASTE’s features writer maintains that almost any dish can be improved with butter and cream. She’s a stickler for comfort food, especially German treats that remind her of her late grandmother, such as pork schnitzel with sauerkraut and spätzlen. She is a voracious reader of food magazines and recipe books, and instinctively switches over to the cooking channel whenever she checks into a hotel or guesthouse.

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  • Vanessa Christiane
    April 12, 2016

    Love making Lentil and Chorizo Soup in winter, but as above awesome recipe’s! Thank you ?