Red Lentils
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Red Lentils are thought of as a variety of Lentils in the kitchen, but are actually really de-hulled Brown Lentils. With the brown hull removed, the remaining portion of the Lentil appears red, hence the name. The distinction is very similar to how the same Rice grain can be either White Rice or Brown Rice, depending on whether the Rice Bran is retained or removed. 


To ensure the best quality and shelf life of your Red Lentils, buy Red Lentils that have a bright uniform color; a dull color indicates a lack of freshness and vitality. Also look for Red Lentils that are uniform in size since varied sizes result in uneven cooking times. Inspect the Red Lentils for cracks or holes and avoid buying any packaging that has been damaged. Red Lentils are sold whole or split into halves.


Dried Lentils are known for their long, almost indefinite shelf life. Store your dried Red Lentils in a sealed package or airtight container in a cool and dry area, such as your pantry. Refer to the expiration dates on the package to determine how long they can be stored. For best flavor and presentation, use dried Red Lentils within one year. Fresh Red Lentils should last about 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

For more information about Lentils, see Smart Kitchen's General Lentil Information Resource.

Culinary Uses

Red Lentils have a mild, sweet flavor. When cooked, they turn a golden color. Red Lentils are typically prepped by rinsing them and Boiling is the most common cooking method. During the cooking process, the Red Lentils absorb some of the cooking water, so it is a good idea to flavor the Boiling Liquid with some Herbs or Vegetables that will make the Red Lentils even tastier.

The major point to remember about Red Lentils is that Red Lentils do not hold their shape very well. They are very susceptible to overcooking and will become mushy with little provocation. Therefore, Red Lentils are best used for Purées or as a Thickening Agent in Recipes.

Nutritional Value

Red Lentils, cooked

1 cup

(198.00 grams) Calories: 230

 Molybdenum 330%

 Folate 89.5%

 Fiber 62.5%

 Copper 55.5%

 Phosphorus 50.9%

 Manganese 49%

 Iron 36.6%

 Protein 35.7%

Vitamin B12 7.5%

 Pantothenic acid 25.2%

 Zinc 22.8%

 Potassium 20.8%

 Vitamin B620.5%


Red Lentils are a good source of Calcium, Potassium, Niacin, Zinc and Vitamin K. They are a particularly good source of Dietary Fiber, Lean Protein, Iron and Folate.

Gluten Free


Low Fat


Low Calorie