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Difference Between Red and Green Lentils

lentil-pdRed vs Green Lentils

Lentils are small bean-like legumes that are widely varied, and contain nutrients that are very nourishing. Often, they are eaten with soups and stews, and they are common in Indian and Middle Eastern delicacies. Lentils are shaped somewhat like beans, but are generally smaller than beans; with some types having more rounded shapes, while others are a bit flatter. Lentils have a high protein and fiber content, but they are not wholly protein. They cook fairly faster than beans, because they are smaller in size than beans. Historically, lentils are known to be the oldest legume to be grown in the Middle East.
There are three main types of lentils: Green, red and brown. Brown lentils are the most abundant, and probably the ones most commonly found on supermarket shelves. They do have a greenish tint, especially the Spanish variety of brown lentils.

The green lentils have two varieties: The French green variety or the Lentilles du Puy, which are quite similar, except that the Lentilles du Puy come from the French town of Puy, where they are cultivated. Green lentils have a dark green color which is glossy, and their earthy flavor is stronger than that of the brown ones. They also tend to cost more than any other variety.

The red ones, even though called red lentils, are actually orange in color. These are the rarest ones, and in fact, they are almost only found in Indian or Middle Eastern markets. They are commonly known by the name ‘mansoor’, which is their Indian name. There are a number of varieties of the red lentils, including: Crimson, red chief, petite golden and canary gold.

The seeds, when removed from the pods, also vary in color. Lentils may be sold either whole or split, and you could also buy them canned. Red lentils, when cooked for a long time, will break into fragments, as the hulls have been removed. Due to this fact, red lentils are good for stew thickeners. Green lentils cook the firmest, as they retain their shape with continued cooking. They normally turn brownish and tender, and have the strongest flavor.

Lentils generally have a long shelf life when kept dry, but their color fades as they age, and their flavor slightly reduces. Cooked lentils are stored in a refrigerator, and may be kept for up to six months.

Summary:
Green lentils come in two varieties, while red lentils come in more than two varieties.
Green lentils have a stronger earthy flavor than the red lentils.
Green lentils, when cooked, remain firm, and will not disintegrate with longer cooking times, while red lentils disintegrate with prolonged cooking.
Green lentils are more costly than red lentils.


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2 Comments

  1. Great article, thanks for sharing the information. There seems to be so many different types of Lentil’s. I just purchased some organic ones named: Montana Organic Black Beluga Lentils.

  2. Interesting… great information! I only found out yesterday that there existed red lentils… xD
    And actually, here in Portugal, the red lentils are more costly than the green ones, have no ideia why…

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