The lentil (Lens culinaris) is an edible pulse. It is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, known for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 40 cm (16 in) tall, and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each.A variety of lentils exists with colors that range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black. Red, white and yellow lentils are decorticated, i.e., they have their skins removed. There are large and small varieties of many lentils (e.g., Masoor Lentils). Lentils are sold in many forms, with or without the skins, whole or split.
Lentils are a staple food in many cuisines. They have a mild, earthy taste that blends well with many kinds of seasonings and textures. You can eat them plain as a side dish, just like any bean. Lentils are rich in fiber, protein and iron as well as many trace nutrients.