Happy Monday friends,
Ah les lentilles françaises, un vrai délice! If you’re French is a bit rusty, that means: Ah French lentils, how delicious!
French lentils, sometimes called Puy lentils (from the Puy region in France where they are cultivated) are often my go-to bean when I need to make a soup, a salad or in this case, a patty cake. One of the reason is that those little gems are slightly smaller in size then their cousins the brown and green lentils and they also hold their shape much better. The taste is also slightly different. The French lentils tend to taste earthier, in contrast to the brown and green lentils that I find taste a bit more…peppery.
I also choose lentils over other beans, generally speaking, because of their nutritional makeup. These little guys are serious power houses. According to a great article written by Dr.Axe, lentils have been found to lower bad cholesterol and prevent heart disease, improve digestive health, help alkalize the body and regulate the pH level, help manage blood sugar levels, are high in protein and improve immunity. Not bad for such a little pod!
The nutritional data of one cup of cooked French lentils breaks down like this:
- 230 calories
- 18 grams protein
- 15 grams of fiber
- 3.5 grams sugar
- less than 1 gram fat
- 358 milligrams folate (90 percent DV)
- 1 milligram manganese (49 percent DV)
- 6.6 milligrams iron (37 percent DV)
- 356 milligrams phosphorus (36 percent DV)
- 0.5 milligrams copper (25 percent DV)
- 0.5 milligrams thiamine (22 percent DV)
- 731 milligrams potassium (21 percent DV)
- 71 milligrams magnesium (18 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligrams vitamin B6 (18 percent DV)
- 2.5 milligrams zinc (17 percent DV)
- 1.3 milligrams vitamin B5/pantothenic acid (13 percent DV)
I told you it was good stuff!
Fiber and protein are the two big winners for me here (along with folate, manganese, iron…but let’s stick to the basics).
When eating a plant based diet and living a very active lifestyle, you want to make sure your body is getting enough protein. The average recommended intake is 42 grams of protein, give or take a little depending on your lifestyle. So lentils here are a no brainer, providing 43% of your daily protein intake in just one cup! But fiber plays just as vital a role and is not nearly as talked about as protein. Sadly, very few people here in North America still meet their minimum daily fiber requirement.
According to Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM over at NutritionFacts.org, “less than 3% of Americans get even the recommended minimum adequate intake of fiber. On average, we get only about 15 grams a day. The minimum daily requirement is 31.5 [grams], so we get less than half the minimum. Men are particularly deficient. If we break down intake by age and gender, after studying the diets of 12,761 Americans, the percent of men between ages 14 and 50 getting the minimum adequate intake is zero.”
“This deficit is stunning in that dietary fiber has been protectively associated in population studies with the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and various cancers as well high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugars. Therefore, it is not surprising that fiber is listed as a nutrient of concern reported by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.”
This is not good news my friends! But with just one cup of cooked lentils, you reach half your daily fiber intake goal. Add a pear, a banana and a nice oat muffin and you’ve easily met your total daily goal. Heck, you could even combine all of those in one meal. And you’ll feel so much better when you do!
This recipe for French lentil cakes easily allows you to meet your total daily fiber intake. I don’t normally calculate nutrition information for my recipes because I believe you should eat intuitively (promise I will write a post on that very soon) but I did calculate the fiber content per serving of this recipe and it adds up to 34 grams of fiber ( I used this calculator).
I hope you and your family enjoy these power house French lentil cakes. Leave me a comment and let me know how you make sure you have enough fiber in your diet.
- 2 Cups cooked French lentils, canned
- 1 Cup sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 2 carrots, peeled and cubed
- 2 Cups parsnips, peeled and cubed
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tsp olive oil – divided
- 1 tsp Italian herb mix
- 1 tsp roasted garlic, ground
- 1/4 Cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 Cup brown rice flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add your root vegetables to a steamer basket and set over a pot of water. Make sure you’ve peeled and cut your root vegetables about the same size so they’ll steam in the same time.
- Bring the water to a boil and allow the vegetables to cook for 10 minutes or until fork tender.
- In the meantime, in a pan, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add the onion and the garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the Italian herb mix and stir.
- Remove from heat and add to a mixing bowl.
- Add the French lentils and the root vegetables once cooked.
- With a potato masher, mash the mixture until you reach a thick but smooth consistency.
- Add the brown rice flour, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- The mixture will get thick.
- Add the parsley.
- If you have a few extra minutes to spare, put in the fridge to set for 10-15 minutes. The cakes will be easier to form.
- Spray a plate with some oil.
- With an ice cream scoop, scoop out portions of the mixture and flatten with a spatula on the plate.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.
- Place the patty cakes in the pan and cook 3 minutes on each side until lightly brown.