Doreen Wennberg

Lentils—A Hearty Little Staple and A Great Meat Replacer
Thursday, October 12, 2023 by Doreen Wennberg

What do you know about Lentils? For many people, Lentils may be a once-in-a-while item to throw in a soup and certainly not a staple food.

But Lentils are so much more than that. Did you know that Lentils are edible seeds from the legume family? Lentils are inexpensive and packed with fiber and protein.

If you are a die-hard meat eater, this post may not be for you. But if you are curious about some great meatless meal options—keep reading.

I was curious about the cost of meat these days and astounded at what I saw! Maybe that’s why meatless meals have grown in popularity.

Why even go meatless?

There are several reasons that you might consider going meatless.

First, let’s take a look at the cost of meat.

Wow, how much does meat cost now?

I haven’t eaten red meat in a few years, so I have not paid attention to the rising cost of staple meats I used to buy and stocked regularly. A quick Google search of grocery stores popped up different prices.

Is it true that people are paying anywhere from $8.08 to $12.29 per pound for Stew meat? To be fair— I checked Sam’s Club, which was my go-to for bulk meat buying. They did have it at $5.28/lb for a total of $36.96 for 7 lbs. Bulk stores like BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s are still the way to go for savings.

But for the average shopper needing just 1 lb at a grocery store—the prices are staggering.

I was curious to see the cost of Ground beef and found Lean ground beef is going anywhere from $6.98 to 13.33 per pound at the time of writing! Ground chuck of course, was slightly lower.

For a boneless Chuck roast, prices ranged from $12.70/lb costing $34.95 for a 2.75 lb roast! Slightly lower was a price of $7.48 lb, {a 3lb roast total: $22.44}.

Phew, I am glad I am not paying those prices anymore! Especially when I pay only $1.34 for a lb. of dry Lentils!

Risk of Heart Disease

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Research shows that people who eat red meat are at a higher risk of death from heart disease, stroke, or diabetes.”

Many people eat red meat not just for its taste—but also because it is a good source of protein, iron, vitamin B12, and zinc. However, points out, “it may also be high in saturated fat and sodium, which we know can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.”

One of the best things about using Lentils in meatless meals is that they mimic meat so well. Really! Cooked lentils are so versatile. Lentils can replace ground beef in taco meat, burritos, burgers, chili, meatballs, —any recipe calling for ground beef—at a fraction of the price!

Lentils take on whatever seasoning you use to satisfy the palate. Not only do they taste delicious, but they are good for you too! Lentils are high in fiber and protein and have no sodium, cholesterol, or saturated fat!

Cooking and Storage

Lentils are easy to cook. Three simple steps: rinse, simmer, and toss into your desired recipe.

Lentils are also a great time-saver in the kitchen. Cook up a batch and freeze ready-made portions for different recipes. I often make a batch and freeze 1 cup portions plain, and I freeze other portions seasoned and ready to go for taco meat, chili, or taquitos.

If you are trying to lose weight and want to cut out saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium from your diet, go meatless one or two times a week and replace lentils in your meat recipes. You will be amazed at how good tacos, tostadas, or even stuffed peppers can taste with lentils instead of ground beef.

I usually use 1 cup of Lentils in place of 1 lb of meat. You can simmer plain or add your seasonings right to your simmering pot and continue with your recipe. It’s that easy—try a meatless meal tonight and enjoy better health and more savings from buying less meat!



Mayo Clinic


Health.Harvard Red Meat


Health Harvard Lentils


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