Cooking with Lentils

I’m trying to plan a semi-vegan menu for a small diner party next weekend and other than a lot of salads I’m struggling for ideas.

Last week I cooked a really tasty dish of lentils, butternut squash, curry etc. It was great but almost immediately my stomach bloated up to the point where I looked 6 month pregnant. A very uncomfortable evening followed. I’d love to serve it but don’t want my guests to be all gassed up! Is there anything that can be done in the preparation of lentils to mitigate the bloating?

For that matter any tricks to employ with any of the gassy vegetables? The older I get, the worse it gets :-/

I don’t know, but you could consider mixing the lentils with rice, and/or possibly having cold pasta or something. In addition, dandelion greens are great, as I eat them most days as a salad for lunch. They sell organic dandelion greens at most health food stores, and you could use the dandelion greens as a “bed” for whatever you serve.

I like lentils, but surely you could make a vegetable curry with tofu or something. There are plenty of vegetarian main courses to consider that won’t overdose people who don’t normally eat a lot of fiber. Serve the lentil casserole as a side dish, maybe.

There are foods and products that you can add to dishes to make them less gassy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiflatulent

Don’t know whether it helps with the gas, but you can sprout lentils and add them to salads. Cheap, easy, healthy, tasty.

the WIKI link was helpful. Thanks. Does anyone know if the method of cooking makes a difference?

You need to soak the lentils before cooking. Soak in cold water overnight, or quick soak where you pour boiling water on them and let them sit for at least an hour. Drain and rinse after soaking. The water absorbs a lot of starch which leads to the gas.

Cooking them in excess water and then draining may help. They probably need to cook longer than the squash so you can partially cook them ahead of time, drain them well, then add to the squash.

A good friend of mine from Iran used to make Keshmesh Pollo, a delicious meal made with lentils, raisins and rice.

Please, what is “semi-vegan” ? Vegan cooking seems to have very strict rules that cannot easily partly without losing ist “veganity”, but then I do not know that much about it.

All I meant by semi vegan is that 2 of the 8 people are vegan so I need to make sure that everyone will have enough food that they will enjoy.

Thanks for the advice.

How fantastic that you are making such an effort to for your vegan guests. Most people throw a salad on the table and forget about them. Lentils are not particularly gas causing, they aren’t like beans. Sweet potatoes, uncooked onion, and peas are probably more to blame than lentils. In any case, your vegan guests will be fine, they’re used to lots of fiber. An easy cheat is to use Girardin faux “meat” as main entree, found in the frozen health/natural section of many stores, you can just add a potato, greens and bread and you’ve got a meal vegans and meat eaters will enjoy. My dad, who loves his steak, likes the faux beef tips. Just be sure to make your sauce for the meat first, then cook according to package direction (nonstick pan, a little oil and brown for a few minutes) and add to your sauce one cooked.

Pasta primavera, penne with cauliflower, pignoli nuts, raisins and Panko breadcrumbs, rigatoni with eggplant and mushroom. Pasta with veggie choices are many.

I always use canned lentils over the dried, and don’t have problems with gas.

Soaking helps but also try red lentils. Red lentils are the easiest variety to digest.

Also consider that your vegan guests will be able to tolerate foods that you might not, their GI tracts having adjusted over the years.

What **standingwave **said. It’s not the lentils, it’s that you don’t eat them often. The bacteria in your gut gorged themselves on an unfamiliar starch, and they farted a lot as a result. That gas became your gas. It’s farts all the way down.

When you increase fiber - from any source - it’s likely in increase gas production temporarily. Fiber should be increased slowly to reduce this, or significant bloating and discomfort may result.

If your veg/vegan friends regularly consume large amounts of lentils/beans (and there’s really no telling from the label alone; some vegetarians eat nothing much besides mac and cheese and french fries) then the lentils won’t bother them.

But yes, an overnight soak and then a rinse the next morning is supposed to help legumes like lentils not trigger so much gas. It removes some of the starches most likely to trigger gas, but the fiber will still be present and also triggers gas if you’re not used to it. So soaking reduces but does not eliminate excess gas. (Which is why canned lentils are also less likely to produce gas; they’re already soaked, rinsed and cooked.)