Lentils are often categorized by their color, which can range from yellow and red to green, brown or black.
Here are some of the most common lentil types:
- Brown: These are the most widely eaten type. They have an earthy flavor, hold their shape well during cooking and are great in stews.
- Puy: These come from the French region Le Puy. They’re similar in color but about one-third of the size of green lentils and have a peppery taste.
- Green: These can vary in size and are usually a cheaper alternative to Puy lentils in recipes.
- Yellow and red: These lentils are split and cook quickly. They’re great for making dal and have a somewhat sweet and nutty flavor.
- Beluga: These are tiny black lentils that look almost like caviar. They make a great base for warm salads.
There are many different varieties of lentils, but brown, green, yellow and red, as well as Puy and Beluga are the most widely consumed.
Lentils are often overlooked, even though they’re an inexpensive way of getting a wide range of nutrients.
For example, they’re packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Lentils are made up of over 25% protein, which makes them an excellent meat alternative. They’re also a great source of iron, a mineral that is sometimes lacking in vegetarian diets (1Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).
Though different types of lentils may vary slightly in their nutrient contents, one cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils generally provides about (4):
- Calories: 230
- Carbs: 39.9 grams
- Protein: 17.9 grams
- Fat: 0.8 grams
- Fiber: 15.6 grams
- Thiamine: 22% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Niacin: 10% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 18% of the RDI
- Folate: 90% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 13% of the RDI
- Iron: 37% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
- Phosphorous: 36% of the RDI
- Potassium: 21% of the RDI
- Zinc: 17% of the RDI
- Copper: 25% of the RDI
- Manganese: 49% of the RDI
Lentils are high in fiber, which supports regular bowel movements and the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Eating lentils can increase your stool weight and improve your overall gut function (5Trusted Source).
Furthermore, lentils contain a broad range of beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals, many of which protect against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes (1Trusted Source).
Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They’re also a great source of plant-based protein and fiber.
PARDINA LENTILS – This brown lentil is smaller than other lentils. The skin is tender and it retains its shape when cooked. And, above all, it is exquisite. In other words: small on the outside, big on the inside.
LENTILS – This Spanish cultivar of green lentil is big and shiny, with a slight brownish tint. It is a good candidate to the ‘Queen of the lentils’ title: not only it cooks well with different types of water, it is also very nutritious and flavourful!
FRENCH GREEN LENTILS – This green lentil is a treasure to be discovered; its speckled green shade should become a staple in all kitchen cupboards: a source of fibre, cooks fast and has a creamy texture without breaking down.
REGULAR LENTILS – The name says it all. This lentil, originally from the USA, cooks in less time; your meals will be ready and on the table in a record time, so you will have longer to enjoy them.
PEELED LENTILS – This pulse has been an amazing discovery: without a skin it is more tender and easier to digest. It also cooks in the blink of an eye. A perfect option to get kids used to pulses and a great alternative for those who don’t digest them well. Excellent to bulk up soups and innovate in the kitchen.
ESTON LENTILS – The Lanzarote variety is a small pale green lentil, with a mild flavour. It doesn’t take long to cook and, best of all, it won’t lose its skin, so it is perfect to add to stews or salads.