Vegetal protein: 7 delicious and nutritious lentils

This tasty legume, rich in fiber and iron, is a healthy source of complex carbohydrates and plant proteins. At the table, each variety invites you to enjoy a unique flavor and texture.

The lentils are an excellent source of protein (23.5% of the dry weight), group B vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc. If the protein intake is high, the carbohydrate intake practically doubles it, exceeding half its dry weight. This means a great supply of energy both for physical activities and to feed the brain in concentration and study.

They are also complex and slowly absorbed carbohydrates, so glucose passes into the blood progressively without causing peaks in blood glucose. This is particularly beneficial for people with diabetes. Its glycemic index, between 21 and 30 depending on the variety, is well below average.

Finally, they are extraordinarily rich in digestive fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which contributes to the slow absorption of glucose. Fiber also provides a high satiating power, facilitates intestinal transit, exerts a prebiotic effect on the microbiota and reduces the risk of colon cancer. It also helps eliminate bile salts and cholesterol.

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  • This unique lentil comes from Canada and is called beluga because the tiny size of its pellet-shaped grains is reminiscent of caviar, as well as its shiny black color.
  • It is not very common in our country, but in health food stores it can be found organically grown.
  • It is also highly appreciated by the great chefs, who serve it in trendy restaurants, as an accompaniment to white fish or in sophisticated salads.
  • It cooks over low heat in 20 minutes, and it is preferable not to let it soak, as it loses its attractive color. It is the richest lentil in protein


  • As its name suggests, this limited-production lentil is small in size and pale green in color, with some dark spots.
  • Although the most appreciated are grown in the region of La Sagra, in Toledo, it is known and consumed less in Spain than in South American countries and the United States.
  • Its skin is very fine, and it has a creamy texture that makes it suitable for baked dishes and for preparing casserole stews.
  • It is quick to cook and is often seasoned with hot spices.

Castilian blonde

  • Also called “La Reina” lentil or lentil, it is the one most consumed in Spain, and is produced mainly in Castilla-La Mancha, Salamanca and Cuenca.
  • Its richness in fiber is exceptional, but the thickness of its skin requires prolonged cooking and can cause flatulence problems. To reduce this inconvenience, you can add a little Kombu seaweed to the cooking water.
  • Light green in color, it combines very well with rice and is one of the best when it comes to preparing stews and stews.
  • Bay leaves and spices like sweet paprika are good for it


  • This oriental lentil, whose original name is masur dhal, is easily recognized by its striking orange color.
  • It can be found in dietetics and specialized stores, either whole or split.
  • Its main characteristic is that it is sold without skin, so it does not need to be soaked and it cooks very quickly. When cooked it falls apart easily, which makes it suitable for the preparation of purees and even pates.
  • Its slightly sweet taste goes well with spices such as curry.
  • As it contains less fiber than other lentils, it is easier to digest.


  • This small, reddish-brown lentil is of French origin, although it is also grown abundantly in the provinces of Palencia and Burgos.
  • It has a spicy and slightly astringent flavor, and despite being tender and does not require soaking, it remains whole when cooked.
  • In the skin it has less oligosaccharides than other lentils, which makes it easier to digest and less flatulent.
  • It is ideal for salads, as it is very tasty when served cold, although it also combines well with fresh pasta, for example in a lasagna.

Armuña lentil

  • This legume, with a designation of origin, is grown in the natural region of Armuña, in the province of Salamanca.
  • It bears many similarities to the Castilian blonde, but it is larger and of a paler green color.
  • Its texture is homogeneous and very buttery, and it has a fine skin that does not peel. This lentil provides a lot of magnesium and its richness in vitamins is above average.
  • Due to its size, it needs some soaking to reduce cooking time and it is usually prepared with plants that give it Mediterranean flavors and aromas.

From Puy

  • This tiny lentil is produced in the town of Le Puy, in the south-east of the Auvergne (France).
  • The great mineral wealth of this volcanic soil has given rise to a bluish-green legume with a fine texture and nutty flavor that achieved worldwide fame thanks to nouvelle cuisine.
  • It is rich in minerals, does not require soaking, absorbs flavors well and contains less starch than other lentils.
  • Because of the latter, it retains less water, which gives it consistency when cooked and makes it optimal for preparing spoon dishes, such as a lentil soup with fine herbs.

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