|Images from Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Thamizhpparithi Maari and Rainer Zenz|
Lentils make a great substitute for ground beef crumbles in a recipe. They are close to the same shape and size, and they can be cooked up in about the same amount of time. Lentils are much cheaper and more environmentally friendly (estimates vary, but a pound of beef takes about 2500 gallons of water to produce, while a pound of wheat takes about 25 [source]).
Tips for using lentils in a recipe in place of ground beef:
- Use about 3/4 cup raw lentils, cooked, in place of a pound of ground beef
- Cook your lentils in unsalted water (or other liquid), otherwise they may not soften
- Lentils are moister. Consider reducing the liquid in your recipe by about 1/4 cup, or add it slowly until you get the right amount.
- Lentils will get mushy and disintegrate if cooked for too long, so consider cooking them separately and then adding them at the end.
- You may need to punch up the flavoring in your recipe by adding extra spices, salt, vegetable broth or bouillon in place of water, etc.
Here are some recipes adapted to use lentils in place of ground beef:
Have you cooked with lentils before? Do you have any favorite recipes that use lentils?