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Guide to Lentils

Lentils are extremely versatile, tasty, easy to cook and very filling and should be a pantry essential. People seem to be afraid of them!  Lentils classed as a Pulses – A pulse is an edible seed that grows in a pod which includes beans, lentils, and peas.


Nutrition in Lentils

Lentils make an inexpensive, convenient and a healthy alternative to animal sources of protein and fiber.

Whatever colour you chose they have of calcium, phosphorus, iron and Vitamin B. And they’re all extremely low in fat and sodium.

They also count towards your recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

Which Lentils

Lentils can be bought dried, ready to eat, in a can. The type of lentil you choose will depend on intended usage:


They also keep a firm texture but take a bit longer to cook

Cooking: 40 + minutes

Brown:   lovely earthy flavour and also retain their shape and firm texture after cooking. These cook quickly, making them a good choice for a simple side dish

Ideal for warm salads, casseroles and stuffing as they.

Cooking: 25 – 30 minutes

Brown and green lentils are great to use as a meat substitute for meals that traditionally require mince.

Puy lentils: peppery taste – These grey-green lentils, grown in the French region of Le Puy, are often more expensive than other common cooking varieties and are thought to be superior in texture (which they retain after cooking) and taste. This makes them the perfect accompaniment to more expensive ingredients such as fish and game, as well as sausages.

Red split lentils: When cooked these lentils form a rich puree and therefore are superb for thickening dishes such as soups and casseroles. They are also often cooked with spices to make the Indian side dish, dhal.

Yellow lentils: Being quite similar to Red Split lentils, the yellow variety are used in a similar way and are great for adding colour to winter dishes.

Cooking: 20 minutes

Red and yellow – Small split lentils with a tendency to break down during cooking. Great for making thick soups or dal, an Indian lentil stew usually served with rice

Black (Beluga)

Cooking Tips:

Lentils do not require it but can be soaked in order to reduce cooking time by about half.

Before cooking, rinse lentils in cold water, pick over to remove debris or shrivelled lentils and then drain.

Lentils: A Miracle of Nutrition

Lentils Research



Polyphenol-Rich Lentils and Their Health Promoting Effects – Lentil is a great source of polyphenol compounds with various health-promoting properties. Polyphenol-rich lentils have a potential effect on human health, possessing properties such as antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-obesity, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory and anticancer.

Current Knowledge on Genetic Biofortification in Lentil ​- Studies revealed that a single serving of lentils could provide a significant amount of the recommended daily allowance of micronutrients and vitamins for adults.

Lentils (Lens culinaris Medikus Subspecies culinaris): a whole food for increased iron and zinc intake –  lentils have great potential as a whole food source of Fe and Zn for people affected by these nutrient deficiencies.

Lentil and Kale: Complementary Nutrient-Rich Whole Food Sources to Combat Micronutrient and Calorie Malnutrition – complementary nutrient-rich whole food source to combat global malnutrition and calorie issues.

Louise Burton-Payne

Passionate about feeding my body a plant-based vegan food to benefit my health, save the planet and protect animals.

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