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Brown Lentils vs. Green Lentils: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 12, 2024
Brown lentils are earthy, soften quickly when cooked, and are great for soups, while green lentils have a peppery taste, retain firmness, and are ideal for salads.
Brown Lentils vs. Green Lentils

Key Differences

Brown lentils are a common variety, known for their earthy flavor. They cook relatively quickly and tend to become soft, making them ideal for dishes where a mushier texture is desired, such as in soups and stews. Green lentils, on the other hand, have a slightly peppery taste and maintain their firm texture even after cooking, which makes them suitable for salads and side dishes where a distinct form is preferred.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
In terms of appearance, brown lentils are small, with a more rounded shape and a color that ranges from khaki to dark brown. They are versatile and easily absorb flavors from other ingredients in a dish. Green lentils, typically a bit larger, exhibit a slightly speckled appearance with a color that varies from pale to mottled green. They stand out in dishes due to their vibrant color and texture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
Cooking time is a notable difference between these two types of lentils. Brown lentils cook faster, usually within 20-30 minutes, and can become mushy if overcooked. Green lentils require a longer cooking time, around 30-40 minutes, and retain their firm texture, making them less likely to disintegrate if left on the heat for too long.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
Nutritionally, both brown and green lentils are similar, offering high protein, fiber, and essential nutrients like iron and folate. However, the firmer texture of green lentils may make them more suitable for dishes where a chewier, more substantial texture is desired, such as in grain bowls or as a meat substitute.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
When it comes to culinary uses, brown lentils are often used in recipes where they are mashed or pureed, such as in dips, patties, or vegetarian burgers. Green lentils, with their ability to maintain shape and texture, are more commonly used in salads, pilafs, or as a garnish in dishes where a more defined lentil presence is desired.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Flavor

Earthy
Peppery
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Texture After Cooking

Soft, can become mushy
Firm, retains shape
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Cooking Time

20-30 minutes
30-40 minutes
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Best Culinary Uses

Soups, stews, purees
Salads, side dishes, grain bowls
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Appearance

Small, rounded, khaki to dark brown
Larger, speckled, pale to mottled green
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
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Tendency to Disintegrate

Higher
Lower
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Nutritional Profile

High in protein, fiber, iron, folate
Similar, ideal for chewier textures in dishes
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Brown Lentils and Green Lentils Definitions

Brown Lentils

A versatile lentil that softens quickly when cooked.
Brown lentils are perfect for a quick, hearty stew.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Green Lentils

A legume that remains intact, perfect for garnishes.
He garnished the soup with cooked green lentils.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Brown Lentils

A small, earthy-flavored legume ideal for soups.
She used brown lentils to thicken her vegetable soup.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023
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Green Lentils

A peppery-tasting lentil that retains firmness when cooked.
Green lentils added a nice bite to her summer salad.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Brown Lentils

Common lentil variety for mushier textured dishes.
Brown lentils are great in vegetarian burger patties.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Green Lentils

Ideal for dishes requiring a defined lentil shape.
She used green lentils in her Mediterranean pilaf.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Brown Lentils

Small, khaki to dark brown colored lentil.
Brown lentils blended well in her spicy dal recipe.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Green Lentils

Larger, speckled lentils suitable for side dishes.
Green lentils were the star in his hearty vegan bowl.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Brown Lentils

A nutrient-rich, easily mashable legume.
She made a healthy brown lentil dip for the party.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Green Lentils

A mottled green lentil with a longer cooking time.
She simmered the green lentils for 40 minutes for texture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What makes green lentils unique in appearance?

They are larger and speckled with a mottled green color.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

What is the main flavor difference between brown and green lentils?

Brown lentils are earthy, while green lentils are peppery.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Which lentils are better for quick cooking?

Brown lentils cook faster than green lentils.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Can brown lentils be used in salads?

Yes, but they may not retain their shape as well as green lentils.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Which lentils are better for a chewier texture?

Green lentils, due to their firmer cooked texture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Do brown lentils hold their shape well in cooking?

They tend to become softer and may not hold their shape as well.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Are green lentils suitable for purees?

They're less ideal for purees due to their firmer texture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

What's the nutritional difference between the two?

Both are similar in protein, fiber, and nutrients.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Are green lentils good for dips?

Less so, as they don’t soften as much as brown lentils.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Do brown lentils require soaking before cooking?

No, neither brown nor green lentils typically require soaking.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Are green lentils more expensive than brown?

This can vary based on region and availability.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Which lentils are better for vegetarian burgers?

Brown lentils, due to their softer texture when cooked.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Are green lentils good for soups?

They can be used, but they keep their firm texture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Which lentils are better for a hearty stew?

Brown lentils, due to their softer texture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Can green lentils be overcooked easily?

They are less likely to overcook compared to brown lentils.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Can brown lentils be used in grain bowls?

They can, but green lentils may offer a better texture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Do both types of lentils need to be rinsed before cooking?

Yes, it’s recommended to rinse both types.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

How long do brown lentils take to cook?

Typically 20-30 minutes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Can I substitute green lentils for brown in a recipe?

Yes, but expect differences in texture and cooking time.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Are brown lentils suitable for cold dishes?

They can be used, but may not provide the desired firmness.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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