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Lentils are an easy-to-cook legume since they don’t need an soaking before cooking. They are also nutritious, providing you with several nutrients and protein. However, the protein in lentils is incomplete, since it does not contain one of the essential amino acids.
The body can make some amino acids but there are some amino acids that the body can’t make so we have to consume them. That’s why they are called “essential”.
Amino acids are the building blocks or protein.
When we eat food the protein from the foods is broken down into amino acids and used to build protein that make up body tissues.
Grains such corn, can act as complementary proteins for lentils, providing the amino acid that lentils are missing. And lentils provide the missing amino acid that corn lacks.
Lentils (or legumes) + Grains = A complementary Protein Pairing = A Complete Protein
Another option for complementary proteins for lentils is nuts or seeds. This complementary pairing is better than that of legumes + grains, because it provides you with more complete protein.
Lentils + Nuts or Seeds = A Complete Protein
TIP: I frequently make these spicy lentils as a side dish instead of a main dish as described here. And the Creamy Adobo Sauce is an easy and flavorful way to dress up any Mexican meal.
This recipe is listed in the My Fitness Pal database under Maria Faires’ Spicy Lentil Tacos in Creamy Adobo Sauce.
Nutrition Note: this is high in sodium so reduce your sodium intake the rest of the day. This is an excellent source of Vitamin A and Calcium.
Makes 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 1 package (1.25 ounce) 30% less Sodium taco seasoning (McCormick)
- 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream
- 1 finely chopped chipotle chili from 1 small can Chipotles in Adobo (Found in the Mexican section of the store near the enchilada sauce)
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1 1/4 cups julienned romaine lettuce
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- 1 cup shredded reduced-fat (2 percent) sharp cheddar (the sharp cheddar provides more flavor than a mild or medium cheddar)
- 4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and salt until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add lentils and taco seasoning. Cook until spices are fragrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
For the sauce creamy adobo sauce, mix sour cream, 1 finely chopped chipotle chili from the adobo sauce can (use half for less spice) and 2 teaspoons of the adobo sauce in a bowl. (Tip: you will have leftover chipotles in adobo. Put the can in a small ziplock bag and freeze).
Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Mash with a rubber spatula.
Spoon about 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each tortilla. Top with 2 heaping teaspoons sour cream mixture, lettuce, tomato and cheese. Sprinkle with 1/2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds.
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 24 g||36 %|
|Saturated Fat 8 g||40 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 7 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 6 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 28 mg||9 %|
|Sodium 993 mg||41 %|
|Potassium 485 mg||14 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 46 g||15 %|
|Dietary Fiber 9 g||37 %|
|Sugars 9 g|
|Protein 24 g||48 %|
|Vitamin A||45 %|
|Vitamin C||29 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|