Lentils, Sweet Potatoes, and Stew: Add These to Your Winter Repertoire

sweet-potato-1666707_1920There’s no meal like one that’s home cooked. Just the other day, we caught ourselves clicking around for some winter comfort food inspiration, and happened upon the New York Times (NYT) Cooking section. Is it even possible anyone could escape feeling enticed by a recipe for Lentil Stew with Sweet Potatoes? We think not. Besides the yummy end result we’re itching to gobble up, there’s a couple of other reasons why a dish like this should be added to your winter repertoire.

  1. An Excellent Source of Vitamin A
    Vitamin A, also known as retinol, comes in handy in regard to quite a few aspects of your health. Namely, your immune system, eye/vision health, and skin health. Dishes containing sweet potatoes are always rich in vitamin A. We especially like the benefits this vitamin has on immune system health given that fall is not only a season for indulging in hearty stews like this one, but also cold and flu season.
  2. High in Magnesium
    Magnesium, which in this stew comes from lentils, is magnificent for a lot of reasons. MDLinx comments on one of the top benefits of magnesium in relation to another vital nutrient - calcium: “Magnesium is needed for absorption [of calcium]. […] it helps deposit calcium into our bones, preventing osteoporosis. Without magnesium, calcium would become toxic, depositing itself in soft tissue, which can lead to arthritis.
  3. Protein Powerhouse
    Move over quinoa! Lentils have twice the protein of quinoa – up to 9 grams of protein. Blend lentils with grains like Timeless Natural Food Semi-Pearled Purple Prairie Barley® or Farro and you’ll have a “complete” protein.
  4. What’s that about “iron poor blood?”
    Get 20-40% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron from a single serving of lentils. Women, especially pregnant women, take note.
  5. Folate? What’s “folate?”
    Folate, one of the B vitamins, is especially important for the healthy development of unborn children. Get 53% of your RDA of folate from a single serving of lentils.
  6. Don’t Miss Out on Your Fiber
    Forget about all those processed cereals and breads that brag about having lots of fiber. Your serving of lentils will give you nearly one-third of the recommended intake of dietary fiber.
  7. Eat lentils, not vitamin pills!
    Those tiny little seeds are full of a wide range of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. And not a pill bottle in sight!

Now that we’ve talked about how good these ingredients are for you, let’s talk about good places to get these ingredients.

For readers concerned with striving to cook meals from a wholesome, farm to table approach, let’s talk where to responsibly purchase lentils. From Organic Black Beluga Lentils® (one of the easiest lentils to prepare) to Organic Green Lentils, these specialty pulses can be purchased right off our website. Other options include checking your neighborhood natural grocery store or food co-ops.

Wait, there’s more!

Now, let’s yak about yams – and/or sweet potatoes. For readers interested in cooking things up from a garden to table approach, they’re a pretty darn easy vegetable to grow -- and they’re easy to cook too (just like specialty pulses and heirloom grains). For all the nitty gritty botanical details on what this veggie likes and dislikes, we recommend reading through the ever-reliable Old Farmer’s Almanac where you can dive into more than you ever wanted to know about these amazing root.

We’re aware it’s worth noting that Montana’s a tough nugget of an environment to grow anything in. But, any of our beautiful state’s avid gardeners will tell you that the first best thing about growing sweet potatoes here is that they’re inaccessible to the typical garden terrorists (i.e. urban deer) given they’re a root and grow underground.

In terms of Montana’s harsh climate, you have to be really considerate of your planting and growth timeline. Always plant your slips about 3-4 months prior to harvest which’ll almost always line up with the first week of September. That first fall frost seems to always fall right around the first Monday of September. Attempting to avoid the late spring frosts to get this lined up makes it tricky, but doable.

The reason sweet potato/yam and lentil dishes like this stew make such a great winter meal is not just because it’s warm and comforting. It’s also because root vegetables and dry lentils keep well, making them perfect for a lot of winter meals.

For similar recipes to the one we discovered in the NYT, we encourage you to visit our recipes page. A whole slew of perfect options for the winter season are available to you there. Whether you decide to cook up some scrumptious eats from our site’s recipe collection, or from any other resources, know that you are adding not only new favorites to your seasonal inventory, but also adding healthy vitamins and minerals which – during the dark days of winter when food-based temptations run rampant – will help keep you in a state of healthy wellbeing.

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