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Lentils & Split Peas

Organic Lentils and Split PeasOrganic Lentils from Naturally Good Food

 

Lentils are an edible pulse. The Lentil plant is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, grown for its lens-shaped seeds. It is some 40 centimetres tall, with the seeds growing in pods (usually two seeds in each). Lentils were one of the first crops humans started to cultivate, possibly as far back as 13,000 years ago. Lentils vary in colour from yellow to red-brown, green, brown and black.

 

At Naturally Good Food, we sell a large range of organic lentils in a variety of sizes. They are designed to fit your budget and your cupboard. We think that organic lentils are a great ingredient: they are easy to cook, very economical, last a long time and have a huge range of uses. Organic lentils are delicious in soups, curries, bakes, dahl and salads - you can also sprout them.

To view some recipe ideas using a range of organic lentils, see the recipe ideas on this page.

Guide to Lentils and Split Peas

We sell a great range of organic lentils and split peas by mail order. They are all inexpensive and offer great value for money. If your usual order is close to our free postage rate, why not add a couple of packets of lentils to get free postage?

Included in our range of organic lentils and split peas are:

Beluga: an unusual black lentil, these glisten when they're cooked, making them look like beluga caviar. They're great in soups or salads. (If necessary, you can substitute green lentils.)


Brown Lentils:

perhaps the most common lentil. Brown lentils can range in colour from khaki-brown to dark black, and generally have a mild, earthy flavor. They cook in about 20-30 minutes and hold their shape very well. As with all lentils, they have many uses in the kitchen, including in soups, casseroles, rice dishes and savoury bakes.


Chickpeas: we source organic chickpeas from a Good Food Foundation project in Turkey, where the chickpeas are selected for their really fine grade.


Green lentils: our organic green lentils are the most intensely flavoured type of lentil, and are naturally low in fat, high in protein and a good source of fibre. Organic green lentils are easy to prepare: they do not need soaking and, unlike some other lentils, keep their shape when cooked. Green lentils are an ideal protein-rich vegetarian dish. They are also great served with meat, fish or game. When cooking, you can replace the water with a stock of your choice, adding bay leaves, thyme, garlic or chopped onion to the pan for extra flavour. Try frying the lentils with a dollop of butter or good olive oil as well - delicious!


Puy lentils: a small, slate-green lentil with a delicate blue marbling. Puy lentils are considered by many to be the best type of lentil, because of their unique peppery flavour and the fact that they hold their shape during cooking. They are the only lentil to be identified by area of cultivation – grown in the Le Puy region of France. Of all the lentils, Puy tend to be the most expensive, but the best is worth paying for, and they are still not expensive.


Red split lentils: Our organic red split lentils are sourced from various countries, due to the high demand. They are easy to prepare, require no soaking and can be served as a main dish or an accompaniment to many meals. These great tasting lentils will mash down when they cook, so are excellent for making hearty, thick dishes such as 'dhal', or for thickening soups and stews. When cooking red split lentils, you can replace the water with a stock of your choice. You could also try adding a dollop of butter or good-quality olive oil.


Yellow split peas: as with the other types of lentils, yellow split peas are a great source of protein. They are very lean and healthy, with just 1g of fat per 350 calories (1,500 kJ) serving. Most of the calories come from protein and complex carbohydrates.


 

 

Organic Brown Lentils: Uses, Hints and Tips

 

Organic brown lentils may look a bit boring on the shelf, but they are a highly versatile, high-protein ingredient that no kitchen should be without. Large, flat brown lentils, which retain their shape well during cooking, brown lentils are slightly stronger in flavour than green lentils, with a solid skin. Recently, we had a spare 5 kg bag of organic brown lentils in the shop that were coming up to their sell-by date. It got me thinking - what do we do with these little brown gems?

  • Dahl and curry: as you would expect, as with any lentil, these make a great ingredient for curries and, with spices, a fabulous dahl. Unlike red lentils, they retain their shape after cooking, so the end dish has more texture. If you want a softer consistency, soak your brown lentils for a couple of hours before cooking, or use a hand blender to get the consistency you want.
  • Cook before you need: as with many pulses, your freezer is your friend with organic brown lentils. We often cook a large batch and then freeze what we are not using now for later use. Frozen organic brown lentils take a little time to defrost, so remember to take them out of the freezer well in advance. You can also freeze them in small batches, so that they defrost more quickly.
  • Add protein to a meal: you can use your organic brown lentils to add protein to a meal; they mix well with mince and, as they are such an economical ingredient, can reduce your portion cost. As they can take the flavour of the dish well, you may not notice the addition in the taste.
  • Sprouting: there are many tips on how to sprout brown lentils on the web, and also loads of recipes noting what to do with the sprouted lentils once you have them. One thing to remember is that brown lentils may take a little longer to sprout. In addition, don't forget to be careful with hygiene when sprouting. Sprouting can be great fun for kids, but sometimes it is easier with some instructions and a sprouter kit.
  • Salads: as brown lentils keep their shape when cooked, they make a good protein element in many salads. Combine with other ingredients to add extra interest, such as fresh herbs in season, beans and perhaps sliced sausage.
  • Vege mince/mix: we use organic brown lentils as a key ingredient in our vege mince/mix; for more information, see our earlier blog.
  • Collage: if you are at home on a wet day, and the kids are a bit bored and looking for something to do, how about making a collage? Take some dried ingredients from the larder, a large piece of paper and some glue, and off you go to make your own pictures. Brown lentils make great collage material, as they are flat, robust, don't lose their colour and will cost only pence to use.

In summary, organic brown lentils should be part of every kitchen store-cupboard. They are great in curries and dahl, can be used to easily extend dishes that use minced meat, such as cottage pie, and can also be added to soups and casseroles. As these little gems keep well, it is a really good idea to buy in bulk, which is much cheaper from Naturally Good Food.

The Benefits of eating and cooking with lentils

 

Lentils have the third highest level of protein of any legume or nut - only beaten by soya beans and hemp. Lentils are an essential inexpensive protein in many parts of the world, especially in areas that have a high number of vegetarians. In the UK, organic lentils offer a truly attractive combination of value for money and health.

The proteins in lentils include the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine. They are deficient in just two essential amino acids: methionine and cysteine. However, if you sprout lentils, they then contain sufficient levels of all essential amino acids.

Health magazine considers lentils to be one of the five healthiest foods. In addition to protein, lentils contain dietary fibre, folate, vitamin B and minerals: for the highest concentration of fibre, choose green lentils above red lentils. They are also a good source of iron.

On the negative side, lentils contain some anti-nutritional factors, such as trypsin inhibitors and a relatively high phytate content. Trypsin is an enzyme involved in digestion, and phytates reduce the bio-availability of dietary minerals. The phytates can be reduced by soaking the lentils in warm water overnight; this soaking will also reduce the cooking time. With lentils it is thus best to think ahead, or use your freezer and get out the 'one I prepared earlier', in the words of every TV cook.

Most articles on the benefits of lentils seem to miss one of the major points on food: lentils are great to cook with and even better to eat!

Lentil Recipe Ideas

 

There are almost infinite uses for good organic lentils, including a few that you might not have considered...

  • Split the difference: green and yellow split peas
    A soup, a dhal and a dessert: use UK-grown split peas from Hodmedod. Read more...
  • Red lentil pasta sauce
    A quick, tasty and cheap vegetarian sauce to go on your choice of pasta or in a lasagna. Read more...
  • Baked bean curry
    Using baked beans as the basis of a curry is an old student trick, beloved by current geology students, as far as I can see from my son. It benefits from being a simple meal to cook when you are in a curry and, as the taste develops during the evening, is best eaten after returning from the pub. This is not a gourmet dish, but good if you are in a real rush. Read more...
  • Soak chickpeas and split peas overnight
    Think ahead and save time and money: soak chickpeas and split peas overnight so that they cook more quickly. Green split pea soup makes a really economical meal. Read more...
  • Winter warmers – the best food to keep you warm
    Santa and his helpers know all about keeping warm in winter, and with the huge amount of work they do at this time of year, they are very keen on eating well. Try these ideas straight from the North Pole. Read more...
  • Split green pea soup
    With winter approaching, (or has it arrived?), this economical and hearty soup is ideal. Read more...
  • Organic brown lentils: uses, hints and tips
    Organic brown lentils may look a bit boring on the shelf, but they are a highly versatile, high-protein ingredient that no kitchen should be without. Brown lentils are slightly stronger in flavour than green lentils, with a solid skin. Read more...
  • Make your own protein mince/mix
    If you don't like soya mince, here is a healthy, cheap and easy recipe for a vegetarian mince. Read more...
  • One-pot vegetarian curry
    This curry can be made in one pot. It uses lots of healthy ingredients, with plenty of fibre and protein. Adding some toasted cashew nuts at the end gives an extra bite. Read more...
  • Red lentil & red pepper pasta sauce
    A vegan pasta sauce using organic red lentils and tinned tomatoes: both economic and tasty. You can use the sauce as a base for other pasta sauces, adding additional ingredients to enhance it. Read more...
  • Brown lentil moussaka
    Substituting organic brown lentils for lamb mince in this traditional Greek dish makes a really healthy, low-fat, tasty and economical alternative. Our organic brown lentils keep their shape when cooked, and provide a great texture, in this vegetarian version of moussaka. Ingredients • 1 large aubergine • 375 g organic brown lentils • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and coarsely […] Read more...
  • Spicy brown lentil curry
    For those on a vegetarian diet this Organic Brown Lentil curry is a good recipe to add protein to your diet, or if you want to cut down the amount of meat you eat or just want to save a few pennies this recipe offers a low cost organic meal to be shared. Organic Lentils are excellent value, store well and keep almost for ever. Read more...
  • Lentil Soup
    A spicy soup that goes well with crusty brown bread. Read more...
  • Red Lentil Dahl
    Red Lentil Dahl is the classic Indian dish and using Organic Red Lentils make this a great dish. Buying a large bag of lentils is not expensive. Read more...
  • Festive Party Dips
    Festive dips using wholefood ingredients sesame seeds and lentils providing the basis for some good party food. Read more...
  • Autumn Wholefood Cooking
    Autumn wholefood cooking is now with us, make the most of greats organic nuts, seeds and pulses that are now available. Read more...
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    Brown Lentils - 500g

    Brown Lentils - 500g

    organic, dairy free

    Naturally Good Food

    Item price: £2.20

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    Brown Lentils - 1kg

    Brown Lentils - 1kg

    organic, dairy free

    Naturally Good Food

    Item price: £3.80

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    Case of 5 for £17.10, £3.42 ea

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    Brown Lentils - 5kg

    Brown Lentils - 5kg

    organic, dairy free

    Community

    Item price: £11.25

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    Brown Lentils - 25kg

    Brown Lentils - 25kg

    organic, dairy free

    Community

    Item price: £58.50

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    Chick Peas - 2.5kg

    Chick Peas - 2.5kg

    organic

    Community

    Item price: £7.95

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    Chick Peas - 25kg

    Chick Peas - 25kg

    organic, dairy free

    Community

    Item price: £55.90

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    Chick Peas - 250g

    Chick Peas - 250g

    organic

    Crazy Jack

    Item price: £0.89

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    Case of 5 for £4.00, £0.80 ea

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    Chick Peas - 7mm Garbanzo - 25kg

    Chick Peas - 7mm Garbanzo - 25kg

    Community

    Item price: £32.40

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    French Type (Puy) Lentils - Dark Green Speckled - 500g

    French Type (Puy) Lentils - Dark Green Speckled - 500g

    organic, dairy free

    Infinity

    Item price: £2.05

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    French Type (Puy) Lentils - Dark Green Speckled - 5kg

    French Type (Puy) Lentils - Dark Green Speckled - 5kg

    organic, dairy free

    Naturally Good Food

    Item price: £17.65

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