Healthy Foods: Lentils

There are four main types of lentils:

  • Brown lentils are the cheapest and soften the most upon cooking. They are best used in soups and stews.
  • Green lentils have a nuttier flavor. They stay firm when cooked and make good salad or taco toppers.
  • Red lentils have a milder taste. They are used in Indian dals and purees.
  • Black lentils are also known as beluga lentils, as they look like caviar when cooked.


Unlike dried beans, lentils do not require soaking. Rinse away any dirt from the lentils and discard any damaged lentils or foreign material.

Place the lentils into a pot and add two cups of water.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer to desired tenderness, typically about 15 to 20 minutes. One cup of dried lentils will swell to 2 cups when cooked.