These can be pale or mottled green-brown in color with a glossy exterior. They have a robust, somewhat peppery flavor. Green lentils generally take the longest to cook, upwards of 45 minutes, but they keep a firm texture even after cooking. This makes them ideal for salads and other side dishes.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 100 g of raw lentils (variety unspecified) provide 353 calories; the same weight of cooked lentils provides 116 kcal. Raw lentils are 8% water, 63% carbohydrates including 11% dietary fiber, 25% protein and 1% fat (table). Lentils are a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of numerous essential nutrients, including folate (120% DV), thiamin (76% DV), pantothenic acid (43% DV), vitamin B6 (42% DV), phosphorus (40% DV), iron (50% DV) and zinc (35%), among others (table). When lentils are cooked by boiling, protein content declines to 9% of total composition, and B vitamins and minerals decrease due to the overall water content increasing (protein itself isn’t lost).
Lentils have the second-highest ratio of protein per calorie of any legume, after soybeans.