Lentils are a member of the pea family, grown in pods on a vine. They originate from the Mediterranean region but are also commonly used in Middle Eastern & Asian cooking.
Whole lentils still have their husks on. This is in contrast to split lentils, which have had the husks removed. Whole lentils are higher in fibre than split lentils, and though they take a little longer to cook, are worth the effort.
Health Benefits of Lentils:
Lentils are easy to digest (red split being the easiest). They are high in protein, iron, zinc and have a good level of potassium and B vitamins. Those who prefer not to eat meat will find lentils an excellent source of protein.
Cooking with Lentils:
Lentils are used in soups, stews, curries, pies and salads. They go well with fish, chicken, ham & pork, rice and vegetables such as spinach, potatoes or salad veg. Lentils can also be ground down into flour, for savoury breads and general baking. Whole lentils generally cook in about half an hour: just boil in a large pan of water.
Split lentils have had their outer skins removed. By doing this, the lentils naturally separate in two, hence the name "split".
Split lentils include Red Split lentils and Yellow Split Peas which are also sometimes called Yellow Lentils.
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