The Red Lentil or Masoor Dal (Lens culinaris), considered a type of pulse, is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, grown for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 15 inches (38 cm) tall and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each.
Lentils are tolerant to drought, and are grown all over the world. With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp.
Proteins include the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine, and lentils are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world, especially in West Asia and the Indian subcontinent, which have large vegetarian populations.
Lentil colors range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black. Lentils also vary in size, and are sold in many forms, with or without the skins, whole or split.
RED LENTILS (FOOTBALL) : Decorticated Whole Red Lentils, also known as “Footballs”, are made from the Whole Red Lentil. The skin is removed from the lentil, leaving the inside portion of the seed whole (not split).
WHOLE RED LENTILS : Also know as: Lentille, Lense, Lenteige, Adas, Masoor, Mercimek, Saabat Masoor, Desi Masoor, Masoor Matki, or Crimson. Whole Red Lentils are 1/2 cm wide with a mild, earthy flavor and soft texture. These lentils are crimson, which is a deep orange-red color. Whole Red Lentils are tiny lens-shaped pulses which have traditionally been used as a meat substitute.
RED SPLIT LENTILS : Also know as: Lentille, Lense, Lenteige, Masoor, Mercimek, or Saabat Masoor. Split red lentils are made from splitting the whole red lentil. The skin is removed and the remaining reddish-orange seed is then split into two halves.