Five types of lentils

Although botanists call lentils pulses the “pulse” actually refers to the edible seeds inside the pod. They’re one of the world’s oldest crops and were eaten as far back as the Stone Ages. And thousands of years later, they remain an absolute superfood.  With levels between 25-30%, they’re a great source of plant-based protein making them popular among vegetarians and vegans. Lentils come in different sizes and have different flavours. Here are five of the most popular varieties.

Beluga lentils

Beluga lentils are small, black lentils which get their name from their resemblance to Beluga caviar. They have a strong flavour and taste good in salads.

Brown lentils

Probably the most common lentil variety. An earthy flavour and a thick consistency mean they work well in traditional stews or pea soups. The lentils are still green after harvesting and only turn their typical brown colour later. They measure 6-7mm in diameter and are some of the largest in the lentil family.

Red lentils

These lentils come from India. Sold with the husk already removed, they disintegrate quickly when cooked to absorb the flavour of herbs and spices more easily. Red lentils are a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine and are often used to thicken soups or stews.

Puy lentils

Just like Beluga lentils, Puy lentils frequently appear in salads. Both varieties number among the most expensive lentils. The name comes from Le-Puy-en-Valey, where these blue-mottled lentils are farmed in the rich volcanic soil in France’s Auvergne region. Only lentils grown here may bear the name “Puy”. Others are known simply as “green lentils” or “French green lentils”.

Pardina lentils

Pardina lentils come from Spain. The brown seeds measure 4-5 mm and have a nutty flavour. As they hold their shape when cooked, they’re a popular choice for salads and starters, as well as an excellent accompaniment to meat and fish.

What’s your favourite recipe with lentils?