If you eat a minimal amount of meat and animal products, then it can be tricky trying to work protein into meals like breakfast. Most breakfast foods like oats, other cereals, fruit and toast do not contain much protein.
But did you know that red lentils can be cooked up as a breakfast porridge? Well, they can, and they taste good too. A little odd if you are used to eating regular oats porridge for breakfast – but pretty good once you adjust. And dates, maple syrup, coconut oil and cinnamon go a long way to making this porridge into a tasty breakfast.
Why Use Red Lentils as a Breakfast Porridge?
Red lentils have a less savory flavor than their green, and brown counterparts. This makes red lentils more suitable for cooking up into breakfast porridge.
Also, red lentils cook faster than green or brown lentils , at an average of 5-7 minutes. This is perfect for on-the-go breakfasts.
Besides being of a suitable flavor for a breakfast food, and quick and easy to cook, red lentils are also nutritional speaking an almost perfect breakfast option.
So before we go to the recipe, let’s quickly take a look at the nutritional profile of lentils, and why this makes them a great food to eat as breakfast.
Health Benefits of Red Lentils
Red lentils contain the following nutritional elements:
Good Levels of Protein
For a plant based food, red lentils contain attractive levels of protein. One cup yields about 18 grams of protein. This is only about a third of an average person’s daily requirement, but seeing as you still have two more meals to get in more protein during the day – a cup of red lentils for breakfast would put you right on target.
High Amounts of Fibre
Red lentils also contain impressive amounts of fibre, at 15 grams per 1 cup serving. This is just under half the total daily fibre requirements for the average person. This high amount of fibre also means that starches in the lentils are absorbed at a retarded rate, and the energy released from red lentils is slow and steady over an extended period of time after eating. Perfect in a breakfast food!
Lots of B Vitamins
Red lentils contain outstanding amounts of B vitamins. In the case of vitamin B9 (folate), one cup of red lentils provides almost 90% of the average person’s daily needs. For people who follow a low or no meat diet, B vitamins are a set of nutrients which can be in shortage in the diet.
A Low GI Index
Due to the high fibre content of red lentils, they have a GI index reading of 21. This is very low, which is a good thing because that it means that the they will not spike your blood sugar levels, and the starches that they contain will be taken up by the body very slowly. Which will give you a long steady source of energy.
Iron is another nutrient which can sometimes be in short supply in a diet which does not contain much meat. Even people on high meat diets can sometimes be iron deficient. Due to menstruation, women need more iron that men, and many have issues consuming enough iron.
Red lentils contain 6,6 mg of iron per cup. This is enough to provide about 80 percent of a man’s daily requirement and 32 percent of a woman’s daily requirement.
Unlock the Iron in Lentils by Soaking
If you wish to maximise the availability of the iron in your red lentils, soak them before cooking, in warm water. You can soak them overnight, or for a couple hours.
Lentils contain an iron inhibitor called phytic acid which can reduce the amount of iron available to the body. Soaking lentils before cooking leaches out much of the phytic acid.
As you can see, all of these nutritional aspects make red lentils an ideal breakfast food, especially if you need something that will keep you going for the whole morning.
So, ready to make some red lentil porridge? : )
Red Lentil Porridge Protein Breakfast (V)Print This
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3 cups water
- 100 grams finely chopped dates
- pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegan butter for each bowl
- Sugar or maple syrup to taste
- Chopped dates for garnishing
- Combine water, lentils, chopped dates and a pinch of salt into a pot.
- Set to simmer until red lentils are soft and fully cooked – about 7 minutes.
- Dish up the desired amount, adding roughly 2 tablespoons of vegan butter or coconut oil to each bowl.
- Add in a few extra chopped dates for garnish, drizzle with sugar or syrup and enjoy!
If you wish to enhance the availability of the iron content in your red lentils, soak them overnight or for a couple hours in warm water.