Dried lentils are a pantry staple– they’re hearty, earthy, and inexpensive. Not only are they super tasty, but they’re high in protein, fiber, and minerals. Lentils are also good for your heart, low in calories, and will boost your energy. With all these health benefits, there’s no doubt we need to have lentils on the dinner table more often!
I know I’ve mistaken lentils for being part of the bean family, but they are actually part of the legume family. That means, you don’t need to soak them overnight like dried beans and they’ll cook up in about twenty minutes. Talk about a convenient and nutritious side dish– what’s not to love?
Check it out our guide for all of the different types of lentil varieties that you might spot when you’re strolling down the aisle at the grocery store. We’ve also included a recipe to get you started.
Brown lentils are one of the most common varieties of lentils sold in the United States. You can find them at most grocery stores and they hold their shape nicely once cooked. Brown lentils have a mild, earthy flavor and can be a natural thickener in a soup or veggie burgers.
2. Green Lentils
Another common type of lentils is green lentils. They have a slightly peppery flavor and firm texture but do have the longest cooking time out of all the varieties (about 40 minutes).
Green lentils are great to use in a French-style salad or as a warm side dish. This Green Lentil Salad is refreshing and the perfect make-ahead dish that the whole family will love.
3. Red Lentils
Red lentils are small split lentils that cook in no time. They’re commonly used in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisines and have a very soft texture when cooked, so they’re ideal to use in soups, purées, and stews.
4. Yellow Lentils
Yellow lentils are very similar to red lentils, but have a gorgeous bright yellow color. They’re sweet, nutty and will cook in about 15 minutes.
Another common variety found in Indian cuisine, yellow lentils are the star of the show in this Yellow Lentil Dal with Curry recipe. Creamy, nutritious, and filled with aromatic spices, you’ll love whipping up this simple dish during the week for a quick meal.
5. Black Lentils/ Beluga Lentils
Black lentils, also known as beluga lentils, are eye-catching black lentils that resembles beluga caviar. They have a deep, earthy flavor, firm texture and are the most nutritious out of all the types of lentils.
Black lentils make a great side dish to pair with fish or chicken. You have to try this Black Lentil Salad with Chickpeas and Mint Lemon Dressing. Toss in some cooked couscous to complete this vegetarian meal.