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All About Lentils

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2011

Lentils come in numerous varieties, each of which has a distinct appearance, flavor, and texture.

We prepared different types using the slow-cooking method developed for our lentil salad recipes and asked our tasters to evaluate them.

TYPEAPPEARANCEFLAVORTEXTUREAPPLICATION
French greenSmall, dark greenEarthy, slightly starchy tasteFirm, resilient texture that won’t fall apart even when long-cookedSalads and side dishes
Black or “beluga”Tiny, jet blackRobust, meaty tasteFirm, creamy texture that holds shape wellSalads and side dishes
Green, brownMedium, pale green or brownVegetal, mineral tasteRelatively firm texture when cookedSalads, soups, and side dishes
RedSmall, orangeDelicate taste with floral hintsDisintegrates completely when cookedSoups, Indian dal
YellowMedium, pale goldenBland, starchy tasteDisintegrates completely when cooked Soups, Indian dal