Lentils are a staple in many vegetarians’ diets. They’re chewy, hearty, versatile, and leave you feeling satiated (thanks to their high dietary fibre content).
They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals, including folate, thiamine, copper, manganese, and phosphorus. Plus, they’re high in protein and iron, dietary components that are often said to be lacking in a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Types of lentils
Lentils come in a variety of colours and sizes. The following will help you navigate the bulk lentil aisle.
This black variety is chewy with a strong earthy flavour. When cooked, they shine like beluga caviar. Toss them with roasted veggies, salads, or as a side with braised cabbage dishes.
These lentils have a mild, meaty flavour and a slightly chewy texture. Add them to soups, stews, casseroles, salads, or as a base for veggie burger patties.
French green lentils (Puy lentils)
This variety has a rich, peppery flavour and stays firm when cooked. They’re ideal for pilafs, tabbouleh, and salads.
Nutty and slightly sweet, this variety is common in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. They cook very quickly and so are best in Indian dals, baked goods, creamy soups, and spreads.
White lentils (ivory lentils)
White lentils are actually skinned and split black lentils. They have a mild taste and soft texture and are great in stews, soups, and casseroles.
These lentils have a slightly nutty flavour and don’t hold their shape when cooked. Try them in Indian dals, curry and squash soups, spreads, and baked goods.
Cooking with lentils
Incorporating lentils into your diet is easy. They’re one of the only legumes that don’t require pre-soaking overnight, and they cook quickly. Add them to pasta sauces, soups, stews, or puréed into baked goods to add moisture and nutritional value.
Or try one of these five staff-approved recipes featuring the lovely lentil.