Health

15 Health Benefits of Lentils, According to Science (+8 Delicious Lentil Recipes)

Lentils are part of the legume family. Legumes are an edible, shelled crop, the most well known being peas, peanuts and beans. The history of lentils stretches in the BC era. Lentils are mentioned in the bible and have been found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. They have been consumed for centuries for their healthy properties.

There are three most common types of lentil. Brown, green and red. Each of these have a slightly different taste and texture but are cooked the same way and yield the same nutritional values.

Cooking with lentils is interesting as they are very versatile. They can be eaten in a number of different ways and even cooked, blended and used to thicken soups. In addition to being a delicious source of protein, low in fat and high in fiber, they are also packed with nutrients and minerals.

Many people seem to think of lentils as a boring food only for vegans and vegetarians. I think this comprehensive and impressive list of health benefits and delicious recipes may just sway you into giving them a try (if you don’t love them already).

1. Lentils Are Rich In Potassium

Lentils are packed with a load of vitamins, one being potassium. A potassium deficiency in the body can manifest itself in the following ways;

  • cramps in the muscles

  • build up of cellulite

  • general weariness and irritability

  • an increase in blood pressure

  • gaining weight.

Potassium rich foods include bananas, avocados and of course lentils. Interestingly, just 100 grams of lentils actually has more potassium in it than a big banana (1)!

Including more potassium rich foods into your diet can counteract the fluid retention that causes the buildup of cellulite (2). The fluid build up is usually caused by eating too many high sodium foods and potassium balances out the effects of sodium within the body.

Potassium also fights osteoporosis and plays a role in bone protection (3). It also plays a part in lowering blood pressure. Having high blood pressure is dangerous because of the strain it puts on your heart. If you have continuously high blood pressure, it could weaken the valves and muscle in your heart resulting in heart disease and heart attacks (4).

Lastly, eating potassium rich foods reduces the risk of having a stroke in women over the age of 50. A recent study showed strong evidence that women who ate a diet high in potassium had over a 20 percent lower risk of experiencing a stroke.

2. Sprouted Lentils Aid In Muscle Generation

Sprouted lentils are lentils that have been soaked in water for a number of hours, drained and left to grow. Sprouting lentils is easy to do yourself. When you sprout lentils, it changes the composition of the lentils and they take on different nutritional properties.

One of these being that sprouted lentils help the process of muscle generation. A steady supply of protein is crucial for muscle repair and generation. Sprouted lentils carry the amino acids that are crucial for the building of muscles throughout the body (5).

3. Lentils Increase Energy

Lentils are made up of a combination of fiber, proteins and complex carbohydrates. The result of consuming food made up of these is more energy for longer (6). The high percentage of fiber in lentils also prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar (7).

So this combination of carbs and fibre allows for slow release of energy while the iron present in lentils play a key part in developing more energy.

4. Lentils Are A Heart Healthy Food

Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in the United States. Heart disease is almost completely preventable through eating and lifestyle habits. Eating certain foods and exercising regularly can actually drastically reduce the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke (8).

Heart healthy foods are foods that are low in sodium and trans fats whilst being high in fiber (9). Lentils are a great heart healthy food because they are exactly that. Low sodium, low fat, high fiber. The magnesium, folate and potassium in lentils improve circulation and reduce homocysteine (an amino acid found the blood) levels. High levels of homocysteine in the blood may result in the calcification of arteries and the developing of blood clots (10).

5. Lentils Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol is dangerous because it blocks the arteries and slows down the flow of blood throughout the body. If you are experiencing chronic chest pain, it may be an indication of high cholesterol. If left untreated it can result in a heart attack or stroke.

There two types of cholesterol found in the body; LDL and HDL. One is bad and one is good. LDL (the bad) is the cholesterol that hardens and blocks the arteries, whereas HDL (the good) is the type that removes the LDL cholesterol from the arteries and sends it to the liver where the process of eliminating it takes place (11).

A study in Canada found that including one daily serving of lentils and other beans in your diet could reduce LDL cholesterol by up to five percent. The lowering of the LDL cholesterol in turn leads to a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease (12).

Apart from a healthy diet high in legumes and low in trans fats, doctor recommend regular exercise and no smoking.

6. Lentils Are Good For Your Digestive System

Lentils are packed with fiber, which is good news for your digestive system. Consuming enough lentils regularly helps to soothe or prevent from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diarrhea and constipation.

The fiber in sprouted lentils is particularly useful in combating something called diverticulitis. Your digestive tract is lined with thousands of small sacs called diverticula. When one of these become infected it is called diverticulitis. Having diverticulitis is incredibly painful and uncomfortable and often results in nausea, cramping, relentless abdominal pain and fever (13).

7. Lentils Are A Great Source Of Protein For Vegetarians And Vegans

Getting enough protein into your system is vital because proteins control the functions of all your cells, connective tissues, muscles and organs. Without protein they simply could not be. The very word protein comes from the Greek word “Protos” which is translated as “Taking first place”.

I don’t know about you, but when I think about about protein my mind conjures up images of big, juicy, rare steaks and chicken breast upon chicken breast. It can be tough sometimes to get enough protein into your body when consuming only a vegetarian or vegan diet. But meat products are absolutely not the only way to get enough protein into your body. Many plant based foods are rich in protein, and just one cup of cooked lentils holds up to 18 grams (14).

With each cup of cooked lentils also packing about 30 grams of fiber, it is a great meat substitute for those of us who choose not to consume animal products (15).

8. Lentils Contain Vitamin K

Vitamin K’s most important job is aiding in blood clotting. Not the dangerous blood clots, but the necessary clotting that stops us bleeding after we’ve been hurt.

Vitamin K also play a role in bone health. Studies have shown that patients with low levels of Vitamin K in their systems are more susceptible to bone fractures.

There is a cell present in our bones called osteoclasts. Osteoclasts perform a function called bone demineralization. This is where the cells remove minerals from our bones so that they can be used for other functions within the body. It is a necessary process but it does sometimes get out of control and can become damaging. Vitamin K makes sure that this surplus of osteoclasts doesn’t happen through killing excess existing cells and blocking the formation of new ones (16).

Vitamin K also has some health advantages for older men and women. Vitamin K improves the insulin levels of older men and the bone density in both mature men and women (17).

To get the most Vitamin K possible out of your lentil consumption, eat your lentils raw or cooked, not sprouted (18).

9. Lentils Are High In Zinc

Zinc is an element that is important for cell growth and division within the body.

A few signs of a zinc deficiency are hair loss, dermatitis, delayed wound healing, weak immune functions, frequent infections, impaired sense of taste and smell and delayed sexual maturation (19).

Getting the right amount of zinc is of great importance during pregnancy as it plays an integral part in synthesis and the growth of a baby’s cells (20). It is also useful for lactating women.

A zinc deficiency can also result in the delayed healing of wounds, which leaves you susceptible to infections.

10. Lentils Give You Iron

Legumes are a food group naturally high in iron. When we think iron we usually think about red meat, so finding alternative iron sources are important to vegans and vegetarians.

Just one cup of cooked lentils contains up to 7 percent iron (21).

Benefits of consuming iron include but are not limited to;

  • Battling chronic fatigue

  • Curing anemia

  • Treating renal failure anemia

  • Regulation of body temperature

  • Increasing brain and muscle function

  • Boosting one’s metabolism

11. Lentils Help Fight Free Radicals

Now for some Biology 101. Our bodies are made up of thousands of different types of cells. These cells are in turn made of molecules. The molecules are composed of atoms (stay with me!) which are joined by chemical bonds. Each atom within in our cells is surrounded by electrons. The number of electrons each atom has determines what its job inside the body will be.

Sometimes these bonds that are holding everything together become weak and split. When they split, the atom loses its electrons and this is how a free radical is formed. This free radical then goes about stealing the electrons of other atoms turning them into free radicals as well. While the formation of free radicals within the body does occur naturally on a very small scale, it is when it gets out of control that real damage can be done to your cells (22).

The reason that consuming lentils can help fight free radicals is that they are rich in antioxidants. Including antioxidant boosting food in your diet can help to keep this process of free radical formation in check (23). If you want to get the most antioxidant packing power out of your lentils, rather buy them dried and cook them yourself as opposed to ready cooked canned lentils.

12. Lentils Strengthen Circulation

Statistics show that millions of Americans suffer from poor circulation, and that’s only one country (24)! Poor blood circulation is when build up occurs in the arteries and it becomes difficult for blood to flow freely through your body. It can be incredibly painful and uncomfortable as well as very dangerous to your health. In the most severe cases it can even result in amputation and death.

Some signs that you may have poor circulation include;

  • Numb/cold hands and feet

  • Cracked, dry or flaking skin

  • Light blue coloration of the skin on your legs

  • Loss of hair on legs and feet

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Delayed healing of open wounds

  • Cracked, weak and brittle toe nails (25)

In order to protect yourself from developing poor circulation, doctors recommend that people do not or stop smoking, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Lentils are low fat and sodium, high fiber and protein and contains folate which makes them a good addition to an anti poor circulation diet. A study from 2011 shows that an increase in folic acid had a positive effect on the blood circulation in patients suffering from coronary artery disease (26).

13. Lentils Are Good For Pregnant Women

Lentils are nutritious to absolutely all that consume them, but they have extra perks for pregnant women.

Lentils contain folate. You may be more familiar with folic acid, which is just folate in synthetic form. We said earlier that folate improves blood circulation, but that is not all it has to offer. Folate can actually prevent birth defects such as spina bifida (a condition where the spine does not develop properly, resulting in a gap somewhere in the spine (27)) and anencephaly (an incredibly serious defect where parts of a baby's brain and skull do not develop (28)).

It is recommended that expecting mothers ingest 600 milligrams of folic acid daily, and one cup of lentils contains 356 milligrams of folate (29).

Folate or folic acid also helps to nullify any harmful side effects of absorbed through taking medication.

In addition to the folate, lentils are full of protein and fiber which are also huge advantages for pregnant women. Protein is imperative for muscle and cell growth for the baby, and the fiber aids with constipation which is something that many pregnant women are plagued with.

14. Lentils Help Regulate Blood Sugar

High blood sugar or hyperglycemia can result in the developing of eye problems, lead to strokes, and kidney and heart disease. It is particularly troubling for people suffering from diabetes (30).

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you may have high blood pressure;

  • Dry mouth

  • Intense thirst

  • Frequent urination

  • Recurring bladder and skin infections

  • Extreme weight loss (31)

A study carried in Canada yielded results showing healthy levels of blood sugar in patients being maintained through a diet high in beans and lentils (32). It’s the carbohydrates and fiber (which have a low glycemic index) found in lentils that are so good for blood sugar levels.

Maintaining a proper, healthy diet is absolutely essential to keeping your blood sugar levels in check (33).

15. Lentils Are Good For Losing Weight

Fiber, protein and low fat. The presence of these three make lentils a perfect weight loss aid.

Lentils offer up to 13 grams of protein per cup. Protein keeps your blood sugar level stable which in turn stops the body from craving sugary snacks.

A cup of cooked lentil yield only 230 calories. Less calories than a cup of cooked quinoa or cooked brown rice. They are filling and versatile as a food option. Lentils have lean protein. That combined with fiber means a longer release of energy and consistent bowel movements.

Lentils contain up to 19 grams of fiber per cooked cup. The fiber found in lentils is known as a resistant starch which basically mean that these fibers are harder to digest and increase the fat burning ability of your body (34).

High fiber food also prolongs chewing time and when you chew for longer signals get sent to your brain and your body recognizes the feeling of being full, which means that you are way less likely to overeat (35). Higher fiber food also curb the need to constantly snack. Studies have shown that eating a high fiber diet has a direct correlation with weight loss (36).

Lentils are also a source of carbs. Usually when people are trying to lose weight, they avoid carbs. Over the years carbs have taken on an almost sinister reputation when it comes to the world of diets, but carbs are really just cellulose, sugars and starch that our bodies break down and use for energy. What people also don't usually know is that there are two kinds of carbs.

Lentils carry complex carbs or the good carb, as do all legumes (peas, beans etc). Complex carbs are good because they basically take longer to complete the same process as usual carbs, that is being broken down into sugar that your body uses as energy. The slower the process takes, the more likely it is that those sugars are going to be used in a healthy way (exercise, walking home etc) rather than being stored as fat (37).

8 Delicious Lentil Recipes

For these recipes, we will be using dried lentils. Lentils do not require soaking (yay!) which cuts down on cooking time. It is possible to use already cooked, canned lentils. If you prefer to do that, omit the dried lentils and beef or vegetable stock/water from your recipe.

While canned lentils are obviously easier, we recommend cooking the lentils yourself to get the optimum amount of minerals and nutrition out of them. Happy cooking!

1. Lentil Tacos

Here is our healthier take on delicious, kind of sloppy, flavorful tacos! Lentils instead of ground beef make this recipe suitable for vegetarians and vegans if you omit the cheese.

Ingredients

1 Avocado

1 Cup Greek yogurt

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Coconut oil

1 onion, diced

2 Cups mushrooms, diced

1 Cup lentils, dried

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Oregano

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Cayenne

3 Cloves garlic, minced

2 Cups vegetable broth (you can use water, but we recommend broth for extra flavor)

1 tsp Tomato paste

6-8 Taco shells (soft or hard, but soft is recommended!)

2 Cups shredded lettuce

1 Cup grated cheese (if desired)

Directions

1. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil and garlic, then toss in the onions and mushrooms. Combine the ingredients then cover your pan and leave it to cook until the mushrooms are soft and the onions take on a translucency, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the tomato paste, oregano, cumin and cayenne and cook for a further 2 minutes.

3. Next add the lentils and vegetable broth. Bring your pan to a simmer and cover again, leaving the mixture to cook for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are completely soft. Remember to stir occasionally. After they are cooked, add the tablespoon salt or salt to taste.

4. While your lentils are cooking, chop up your avocado and prepare any other toppings you might like to add to your taco (salsa etc)

5. Remove the lid and let it cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often until the mixture is thick.

6. Now it’s time to fill your tacos! Greek yogurt is on our ingredients list because it can be used as an equally delicious and much healthier alternative to sour cream.

You can also use the lentil mixture, avocado, cheese, salsa and lettuce to make a burrito or taco salad. The options are endless! Add some tabasco to your lentils if you like a little kick.

2. Lentil Quinoa Balls

Planning on spaghetti bolognaise for dinner tonight? A vegetarian substitute for meat balls, these lentil quinoa balls are delicious, not to mention way lower in fat and stuffed with goodness.

Ingredients

1 Cup lentils, dried

2 Cups vegetable broth

1 Onion, minced

3 Cloves of garlic, minced

½ Cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Pepper

1 tsp Oregano

1 tsp Rosemary

¼ Cup shredded basil

1 Egg

½ cup Finely grated parmesan

3 tsp Olive oil

Directions

1. In a large pot, cook lentils in the vegetable broth until soft.

2. Take the pot off of the stove. Drain the remaining vegetable broth. Mash the lentils with the back of a fork or a potato masher. Once mashed, add the cooked quinoa and mix together.

3. In a pan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion until translucent. Next, add the salt, pepper, oregano and rosemary and mix well. (Do not wash the pan, you will need it again later).

4. Add the onion and spice mixture to the lentils and quinoa. Add the egg, parmesan and basil. Mix thoroughly.

5. Take a tablespoon to scoop up some of the mixture and using your hands, roll it into balls. After drizzling a tsp of olive oil into it, place the balls into the pan you used to cook the onions (this will provide extra flavor) and cook for 10 minutes, turning them occasionally.

These lentil balls can be added to a tomato sauce eaten over pasta, or in a pita bread instead of a falafel, or just by themselves. You can even make the balls bigger and flatten them to use as a vegetarian burger patty. Leave out the parmesan cheese if you want to make it vegan.

3. Chicken Lentil Coconut Curry

A hearty, healthy coconut curry perfect for cold nights and warm days alike. This curry is great because thanks to the coconut milk, it has a creamy consistency without the heavy cream!

Ingredients

3 Skinned chopped chicken breasts

1 Can coconut milk

6 Cloves garlic, minced

1 Cup roughly chopped cilantro

4 tsp Coconut oil

1 Cup lentils, dried

1 tsp Tomato paste

1 Can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp Cayenne powder

1 tsp Paprika

2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Turmeric

4 Cups water or vegetable stock

Directions

1. Heat the coconut oil and garlic in a large pot. Add the chopped chicken breasts and continue turning them until cooked.

2. Add the turmeric, cayenne powder, salt, paprika, tomato paste and can of crushed tomatoes to the pot. Stirring intermittently for five minutes.

3. Once all your ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add the cup of lentils and four cups of water or vegetable stock. Give the ingredients in the pot a good mix. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer. Cover with a lid and allow to sit for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally so the lentils do not collect at the bottom of the pot and become stuck.

4. After 40 minutes, check the consistency of your lentils. If they are soft, stir in your coconut milk and chopped cilantro and allow to simmer for a further ten minutes.

If desired, you can omit the chicken and make this a vegetarian meal. Perfect for meatless Mondays! Enjoy over brown rice of with whole wheat naan.

4. Lentil Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes are notoriously messy and not very nutritious, but in this variation you don’t have to feel guilty (it’s still messy though!).

Ingredients

1 Cup lentils, dried

2 Cups beef or vegetable broth

1 Onion, diced

3 Cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp salt

1 tsp Pepper

1 tsp Thyme

1 tsp Oregano

2 tsp Soya sauce

1 Can black beans, drained

2 tsp Olive oil

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ Cup tomato paste

6 Hamburger buns/portuguese rolls

6 Slices cheddar (if desired)

Directions

1. In a large pot, combine the olive oil, garlic and onion. Cook until the onion is browned.

2. Add the lentils and beef or vegetable stock to the pot. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, thyme, oregano, pepper, salt and soya sauce. Mix well and cover again. Bring the mixture down to a simmer and leave for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Slice your buns or rolls in half and butter. Place the buns or rolls buttered side down in a pan and toast. If desired, put a slice of cheddar on one side of each bun or roll. Ladle the lentil mixture onto the bun or roll and enjoy!

I have found this meal to be a tried and tested total hit with kids as well as with adult. This lentil mixture could also easily be served over pasta or used as a filling for a vegetarian lasagna.

5. Lentil and Veggie Nuggets

Now something for the kids, (and by kids we mean everyone!), switch out your chicken nuggets for some seriously healthy lentil and veggie nuggets.

Ingredients

2 Eggs

2 Garlic cloves

1 Cauliflower head

1 Broccoli head

1 Cup shredded carrot

1 Cup bread crumbs

2 tsp salt

1 tsp Onion powder

1 Cup Frozen peas

1 Cup frozen corn

1 Cup lentils, dried

2 Cups vegetable broth

1 Cup grated cheese

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 390 degrees fahrenheit or 200 degrees celsius.

2. In a pot mix the lentils and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and cook until the lentils are soft. Once cooked, drain the lentils and either blend in a food processor, or mash with a potato masher.

3. Cut up the broccoli and cauliflower heads and boil together until soft. Drain the water and use a potato masher to mash them. You can add them to the lentils and mash them all together if you prefer.

4. Mix the mashed lentils, cauliflower and broccoli, onion powder, shredded carrot, bread crumbs, grated cheese, garlic, salt, corn and peas in a mixing bowl and combine well. Using your hands is messy but best!

5. Once combined, roll the mixture on balls using the palms of your hands. Put a sheet of wax paper on a baking tray and place the nuggets on the paper. Using the back of a spoon, flatten the nuggets before placing into the oven.

6. Bake the nuggets for 15 nuggets before turning and baking for a further 10 minutes. Take the nuggets out, allow to cool for a bit and tuck in.

These nuggets are a perfect way to trick your little ones in eating their veggies. It is possible to switch out veggies in the recipe for any others you may like. If you are fond of dipping sauces, try combining greek yogurt, lemon juice and some dill to keep things light.

6. Lentil Cottage Pie

Cottage pie is an absolute staple in my household. One of the dishes that taste as good heated up the next day as it did the day before!

Ingredients

1 Onion, diced

1 tsp Olive oil

2 Cups frozen peas

2 tsp Soya sauce

1 Cup mushrooms, chopped

1 Cup beef or vegetable stock (depending on if you want to keep it vegetarian or not)

1 tsp Thyme

1 tsp Rosemary

8 Large potatoes

2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Pepper

3 Cloves garlic, minced

2 Carrots, peeled and chopped

½ Cup red wine

1 tsp Butter

¼ Cup milk

1 ½ Cups lentils, dried

1 Cup grated cheese (optional)

Directions

1. Peel, chop and boil potatoes. Add the butter, 1 tsp salt and milk and use a potato masher to mash the cooked potatoes until there are no lumps. Set aside for later.

2. In a large pot, add the olive oil, onions and garlic and cook for four minutes. Throw in the mushrooms and saute until the onions are brown and the mushrooms are soft.

3. Pour the lentils and stock into the pot and stir. Cover the pot for 5 minutes.

4. Add the soya sauce, rosemary, 1 tsp salt, pepper, frozen peas, thyme and red wine. Mix well and cover the pot once again. Allow to cook over a low heat for approximately 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

5. Once cooked, pour the lentil mixture into a casserole dish. Take your mashed potatoes and spread them over the top of the lentils. If desired, cover the mash in grated cheese and place the casserole dish in the oven under the grill until the cheese is browned.

Using the lentils instead of ground beef makes this dish perfect for vegetarians. You could also use cauliflower instead of potatoes for a low carb mash.

7. Veggie Lentil Bake

Now for a more grown version of the Lentil and Veggie Nuggets; Veggie Lentil Bake. This bake is filling, tasty and wholly satisfying.

Ingredients

2 Cups lentils, dried

2 tsp Olive oil

4 Cups vegetable broth

1 Cauliflower head

1 Broccoli head

1 tsp Salt

2 tsp Pepper

2 Cups mushrooms, chopped

2 Cups frozen peas

2 Cups frozen corn

2 tsp Oregano

2 Large carrots

1 tsp Paprika

1 Onion, diced

3 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Medium spaghetti squash

1 Cup grated cheese (optional)

Directions

1. Cut up the cauliflower, broccoli, squash and carrots and steam them.

2. Remove the seeds from the spaghetti squash and use a fork to scrape the flesh out into a bowl. Add the steamed cauliflower, carrots and broccoli to the bowl and set aside.

3. In a large pot add the olive oil, onion, mushrooms and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are browned.

4. Add the dried lentils and vegetable stock. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes stirring every now and then.

5. After 10 minutes stir in the frozen peas and corn, paprika, salt, pepper and oregano. Cover and let cook for another 25 minutes.

6. Once the liquid has disappeared and the lentils are soft, add in your bowl of steamed vegetables. Stir well and add more salt if necessary.

7. Scoop your veggie mixture into a casserole dish and cover with grated cheese. Place the dish into the oven and broil for a few minutes until the cheese turns golden brown.

Enjoy this Lentil Veggie Bake with a side salad or even by itself. If you like a bit of extra crunch, spread a cup of breadcrumbs on top of the cheese before broiling.

8. Lentil Salad

Now for a much lighter option! This Lentil Salad is perfect as a side dish or a main meal.

Ingredients

Salad

1 tsp olive oil

2 Medium sweet potatoes, cut into cubes

1 Can chickpeas, drained

1 Cup dried lentils

2 Cups vegetable stock

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp pepper

1 Cup crumbed feta cheese

1 ½ Cups rockets (arugula)

Salad dressing

4 tsp Olive oil

5 tsp Balsamic vinegar

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 355 degrees fahrenheit or 180 degrees celsius.

2. Add the dried lentils and vegetable to a pot. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the liquid disappears and the lentils are soft. Stir occasionally to avoid the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pot.

3. In a bowl combine the cubed sweet potatoes, salt, olive oil and pepper. Once the sweet potato cubes are thoroughly coated, place them on a greased pan and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until soft.

4. In your salad bowl, combine the cooked lentils, sweet potatoes, rocket, drained chickpeas and feta. Mix well.

5. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Pour the mixture over your salad and enjoy!

Cooked lentils can be used as a base for any ingredients you may prefer in a salad. Get creative while staying healthy!

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