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Red Lentils vs. Green Lentils — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on November 7, 2023
Red Lentils are small, split, and cook quickly, turning mushy, often used in soups. Green Lentils are larger, retain shape when cooked, and have a nuttier taste, suitable for salads.
Red Lentils vs. Green Lentils — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Red Lentils and Green Lentils


Key Differences

Red Lentils are a popular variety of lentils known for their orange-red hue. They typically come split and are known for their relatively quick cooking time. On the other hand, Green Lentils, as the name implies, have a greenish hue and are often whole, not split.
In terms of texture, Red Lentils become soft and mushy when cooked. This characteristic makes them ideal for dishes that require a creamy consistency, such as dals and soups. Green Lentils, in contrast, maintain their shape and offer a firmer bite even after cooking. Their robust texture makes them a favorite in dishes like stews and salads.
Flavor profiles also differ between the two. Red Lentils have a somewhat sweet and nutty flavor but are milder than their green counterparts. Green Lentils, on the other hand, boast a more earthy and peppery taste, which can add depth to various dishes.
Nutritionally, both Red Lentils and Green Lentils are powerhouses, offering protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. However, the nutrient content can slightly vary between the two, with Green Lentils generally having a higher fiber content. Both varieties, though, are an excellent addition to a health-conscious diet.

Comparison Chart



Texture When Cooked

Soft and mushy
Retain shape and firmer


Mild, slightly sweet and nutty
Earthy and peppery

Typical Use

Soups, dals
Salads, stews

Nutritional Content

Rich in protein, slightly lower fiber
Rich in protein, generally higher fiber

Compare with Definitions

Red Lentils

Small legumes that cook quickly and turn mushy.
Use Red Lentils if you want your soup to have a creamy texture.

Green Lentils

Nutrient-rich legumes with a higher fiber content compared to some other varieties.
For a fiber boost, she added Green Lentils to her diet.

Red Lentils

Lentils often used in soups and dals due to their consistency when cooked.
Red Lentils dissolve seamlessly into her tomato-based soup.

Green Lentils

A variety of lentils characterized by a green hue.
Green Lentils add a vibrant color to the salad.

Red Lentils

Lentils that have a mild, slightly sweet, and nutty taste.
The mild flavor of Red Lentils complements the spicy curry.

Green Lentils

Lentils known for their earthy and peppery flavor profile.
The robust flavor of Green Lentils stands out in the stew.

Red Lentils

A variety of lentils with an orange-red hue.
Red Lentils are a staple in many Indian dishes.

Green Lentils

Lentils that remain firm and retain their shape when cooked.
Green Lentils are perfect for dishes where a bite is desired.

Red Lentils

Legumes that are nutritionally rich but cook down to a smooth texture.
For a smoother texture in your lentil dish, choose Red Lentils.

Green Lentils

Lentils often used in salads and stews due to their firmer texture.
Her salad featured Green Lentils as a protein-packed ingredient.

Common Curiosities

Are both Red Lentils and Green Lentils nutritious?

Yes, both are packed with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients.

How should I store Green Lentils to maintain freshness?

Store Green Lentils in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.

Are Green Lentils suitable for salads?

Yes, Green Lentils are ideal for salads as they retain their shape.

Which lentils turn mushy when cooked?

Red Lentils turn mushy, making them great for soups and dals.

Why do Red Lentils often appear orange in color?

Despite being called "red," these lentils have an orange-red hue when dried.

Which lentils are commonly used in Indian cuisine?

Both are used, but Red Lentils are especially popular in dals and curries.

Can I substitute Red Lentils for Green Lentils in recipes?

It depends on the desired texture; Red Lentils are softer, while Green Lentils are firmer.

Do Green Lentils have a stronger flavor than Red Lentils?

Yes, Green Lentils generally have a more earthy and peppery taste compared to the milder Red Lentils.

Do Red Lentils and Green Lentils have different cooking times?

Yes, Red Lentils generally cook faster than Green Lentils.

Are Green Lentils good for vegan diets?

Yes, Green Lentils are a great plant-based protein source for vegans.

Which lentils cook faster, Red Lentils or Green Lentils?

Red Lentils typically cook faster than Green Lentils.

Are Red Lentils always sold split?

While they're commonly split, you can sometimes find whole Red Lentils.

Can I mix Red Lentils and Green Lentils in a dish?

Absolutely, but consider the different textures and cooking times of each.

Which lentil variety is higher in fiber?

Green Lentils generally have a higher fiber content than Red Lentils.

Why might someone choose Red Lentils over Green Lentils?

Red Lentils are chosen for creamier textures and faster cooking times.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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