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Lentils

Tiny, flat, lens–shaped pulses that grow in pods. Originating in Southeast Asia, lentils are now grow worldwide in warm countries, and vary in colour and size. The most common lentils are green, brown and red. Some of the rarer varieties are named after the area they are grown in, such as lenticchie di Castelluccio, Puglian lentils from Alta Mura in Italy, and lentilles vertes du Puy from France. Lentils have a high food value (they are high in protein, fibre and B vitamins) and are considered adequate protein to replace meat. Lentils must be cooked and can be puréed and used in soups and curries or added to stews and salads. But choose your lentils accordingly: some lentils, such as the red and brown ones, will cook to a mush and are good for purées; others, like Puy lentils, will hold their shape no matter how much you cook them.