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The 5 Reasons Lentils Can Save the World … (only slightly exaggerating)

So – I’ll just come out with it … I LOVE lentils. As a food enthusiast who is passionate about DELICIOUS FOOD that is nutritious, inexpensive and environmentally friendly - there is nothing about these little brown gems I can’t rave about!

Here’s my top 5 things I love about a lentil ..

1. Sustainability Rock Star. As we can see from this EWG graph, compared to many other protein options, lentils emit very few greenhouse gas emissions. They are also low on water and land use, are low in packaging if you purchase them dry (which is the only way to go – canned lentils are really not good, seriously). Also – because they’re transported in their dry form and rehydrated at home, the transportation weight is reduced, which lowers the energy required to move them around.

2. Cooks quickly which redefines fast food! SO easy to prepare and have some always on the ready to incorporate into recipes. Watch this video for my easy, passive preparation method which converts dry lentils to a great ground beef replacement in a snap. Cook 2 pounds at a time to have leftovers for the refridg or freezer. They are also amazing travel companions because they’re a low-weight, compact, shelf-stable protein. This chart shows the grams of protein per gram of product for various shelf-stable protein options … lentils pack a lot of protein in a light package!

Data from March, 2023

This applies to backpacking, camping and many other travel needs. Compared to other backpacking proteins such as tuna or canned beans, these win the weight per gram of protein competition!

3. They are a nutritional Super hero. Lentils are fiber-rich proteins loaded with pre-biotics, so your gut will thank you! Unlike animal-based proteins, the protein and fiber (which most American’s don’t get enough of) are packaged together. They are also packed with antioxidants and vitamins.

4. They’re inexpensive – like crazy cheap! Check out this chart comparing cost per gram of various protein options. Yet again, lentils are the winner! This helps anyone struggling with food insecurity and is especially now with the rising cost of groceries!

Data from March, 2023

5. Flavor adaptability – Lentils are “flavor chameleons” … One day they’re decking out your pasta with Italian-inspired flavors and the next they’re in your spicy taco and next they’re the base of your coconut curry! They are up for the flavor-changing challenge!! This is likely due to their high surface area to volume ratio so they have lots of flavor grip-ability.

Alrighty – I think I make my case clear. Note that this doesn’t have to be an “all-or-nothing” swap out. Consider mixing lentils with animal proteins in your favorite recipes to give them a fiber boost and help stretch your grocery dollar, all while being more gentle to the earth and its resources.

If you're new to lentils - or also love lentils - here is a series of short videos with some recipe options. The possibilities are endless!


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