I never knew what a lentil fan was until I went on the SCD low oxalate diet and found myself so limited with legume options. Lentils are one of the only low oxalate options when it comes to legumes so I was excited to explore what interesting recipes I could come up with using lentils. I was pleased to discover how versatile and delicious lentils can be. And they are super nutritious too! Today, I eat lentils all the time; in soups, pasta dishes, salads, even ground up and used as a flour to bread chicken and meat! This lentil salad is one of my favorite quick eats for lunch. I tend to soak a large batch of lentils on weekends and store them in ziplocks in the freezer so I can easily grab some when needed.
Quick Guide to Soaking Lentils for Improved Digestion:
- Wash lentils and place in a large bowl
- Cover with water (use a 4:1 ratio of water to beans)
- Soak for 8-10 hours. Do not oversoak.
- Drain off water and continue on to cook lentils or freeze as is.
How to cook Lentils
- Bring water to a boil
- Remove any accumulation of foam with a spoon
- Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20-35 minutes until tender, depending on the lentil type.
Types of Lentils
Red Lentils have a nice color and are super flavorful. The tend toward a much softer consistency when cooked so are best in soups and stews. I also love using red lentils to make dal. Cooking time: approximately 15-20 minutes.
Green, Brown, and Black lentils are heartier and maintain their firmness well after cooking. They are the best option to be used in side dishes and salads. Cooking time: Approximately 30 minutes.
Lentils are low glycemic, making them a great choice for those who struggle with blood sugar management. They are high in fiber, supporting the growth of healthy bacteria and promote regular bowel movements. Lentils are also rich in protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium. To top it all off, lentils are also packed with polyphenols, which reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, anticarcinogenic properties and are cardioprotective. I recommend my clients regularly include lentils in their diets to reap all these benefits.
|Lentil Health Benefits|
|High fiber content boosts satiety|
|Supports regular bowel movements|
|Improves the microbiota (good gut bacteria)|
|Low glycemic- promote stable blood sugar levels|
Lentils contain lectins, which if consumed in excess, may impair the gut barrier leading to leaky gut in susceptible people with inadequate enzymes. Fortunately, this effect is reduced by soaking lentils overnight prior to cooking, which is what is required by the SCD diet. I usually batch soak and cook my legumes over the weekends and freeze so I always have some on hand. Granted, legumes are considered a more advanced choice on the SCD diet after digestive symptoms have improved for 2-3 months.
|Include Lentils in these Diets||Do not include Lentils in these Diets|
|Low oxalate||Whole 30|
|Low FODMAP (limit to 1/4 cup)|
Best Lentil Salad
- 1 cup green lentils soaked overnight and cooked per package instructions (use canned for low FODMAP)
- 0.5 red bell pepper chopped
- 2 cups romaine lettuce chopped
- 0.5 cup purple cabbage chopped
- 0.25 cup scallions, chopped (use green parts only if on low FODMAP diet)
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise (make homemade if on SCD/GAPS diet)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 bunch parsley
- Place all the vegetables, minus the scallions, in a large bowl.
- Stir in the mayo. Then drizzle in the oil, vinegar, and remaining ingredients and stir well.
- Sprinkle the scallions on top and enjoy!