In the Four Hour Body, Tim recommends buying canned beans and lentils because they’re quick and easy. True, and if that’s the only way you’re going to incorporate them into your eating, plan, go for the cans.
The downside to can beans is that there can be a lot of sodium. Yes, of course you can rinse, but according to Eating Well magazine’s nutritional analysis, rinsing canned beans thoroughly removes up to 35 percent of sodium. If you’re watching your sodium intake, you may want to try cooking your own.
Canned beans are also considerably more expensive. On average in Australia, a small bag of dried lentils will yield me 10-12 servings and is about $3.00. A single can on lentils range anywhere from .75 to $1.75 – not horrifically expensive by any means, but if your household is consuming lentils at the same rate as mine, this savings does add up. Things are a bit more expensive in Australia as well, so I’d imagine you can get bulk lentils fairly cheap in the US at a local market or co-op, like Rainbow Grocers in San Francisco.
The basic preparation for lentils is the same, no matter what the end recipe. I do a large batch and put the lentils into containers to refrigerate and then make smaller batches with different seasonings throughout the week. My favorite recipe is still Spiced Bacon Lentils. You can also also cook in a broth or stock and add spices in directly during the cooking process.
Here is the basic recipe:
- Rinse the lentils thoroughly in cold water, removing any leaves, twigs, or stones
- Cover the lentils with cold water, using 4 cups of water for each cup of lentils.
- Bring the water to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer.
- Cook the lentils for 35-45 minutes, or until tender.
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