Brown or green lentils

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Brown Lentils
Green Lentils

Brown Lentils and Green Lentils are lumped together and sometimes called Continental Lentils. Within this category fall many local European lentils such as Puy lentils (lentilles de Puy) and Berry lentils (lentilles vertes du Berry). These are the lentils of European cookery.

These lentils are quite large and flat and keep their shape after cooking unlike the Indian lentils which tend to softness and mushiness. Brown and green lentils have a homely feel, a bold earthy taste that goes well with fatty pork and bacon, or on their own. Brown lentils are great with game or strong gamey sausages, even if less good looking than crisps. Or delicious lentil soups - the Italian zuppa di lenticchie springs to mind.

To prepare:

Cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until cooked, or about an hour to be mushy.

Food and Flavour Pairing

Brown lentils and green lentils go well with:


Lentils last for a good length of time, but do toughen with age, so buy in smallish quantities. If you buy in bulk, check for dirt and insects as these are not uncommon and should be anticipated. Store somewhere dark and cool, and free from potential insect contamination.

Further reading

  • Christian, G. (2005) Real Flavours: the handbook of gourmet & deli ingredients, Grub Street. ISBN 1904943209.
  • Stobart, T. (1981) The Cook's Encyclopedia: ingredients & processes, Harper & Row. ISBN 0060141271.