Lentils are a type of pulse crop. Other pulses include beans, field peas, chickpeas, and faba beans. The term “pulse” is used to describe the dry, edible seeds of legumes.
Lentils come in a range of colours, they also differ in shapes and sizes. In Canada, we grow several varieties of lentils including:
- Large green lentils are the main variety grown in Canada and the most commonly found lentils on the grocerystore shelf.
- Split red lentils start as whole red lentils but have had their brownish seed coat removed and the inner part of the lentil, known as the cotyledon, is red and has been split in half. Split lentils cook much faster than whole lentils and are excellent for use in curries, as a thickener in soups, and for purees, whereas whole lentils tend to work better in salads or other applications where texture is desired.
- French green lentils are a less commonly grown variety and usually found in specialty food stores.
- Black Beluga lentils are also a less commonly grown variety and usually found in specialty food stores.
Lentils have an earthy flavour that is slightly peppery. Whole lentil varieties can be used interchangeably in recipes. Watch the video to learn more.