Red, yellow, green and brown lentils are a good source of protein. Dried lentils are an inexpensive store cupboard ingredient and will keep for one year in a dry container. Canned green lentils are also available.
These grey brown French lentils are considered the finest. They have a distinctive earthy flavour, and keep their shape and colour when cooked. Serve as an accompaniment to sausages, grilled meats or in salad recipes. French lentils are olive-grey or slate coloured and will cook up firm, while Persian green lentils are tender and retain their shape too.
Red and yellow lentils
These cook quickly, turning soft and pulpy. Ideal for thickening stews and soups, also pureed and flavoured with spices to make Indian dhal.
How to cook
Lentils do not need soaking. Rinse then cook in water or in stock as described in the recipe. Boil for the first 5 minutes, then simmer until tender, which will taking anything from 10 minutes to an hour depending on type and age of lentils. Salt toughens them so season at the end of cooking.
Read our blog about different types of lentils.