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High Protein Lentils Ranked In Order

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For people who are trying to cut back on meat, there is no better alternative than lentils! These legumes come in many varieties and are packed with plant-based protein. 

Often called “superfoods,” they are known for their flavor, nutritional profile, and health benefits. They can also easily fit into any type of diet.

But with so many options available in stores, it can be quite easy to get confused about which lentil you need to add to your diet to get for the maximum health benefits. 

What are the highest-protein lentils ranked in order? Puy and French green lentils top the list when it comes to protein-daily values (DV) as they can pack as much as 35g in one cup! However, there are other great options like yellow, red, and black lentils that offer the same benefits but with varying protein values. 

Read below to learn more about lentils, the best types for daily usage, how to cook them properly, and the top protein-packed lentils to add to your diet! 

Why Lentils?

When it comes to protein, lean meat is usually thought to be the best option – and why wouldn’t it be? It tastes great, goes well with many things, and can also be an excellent comfort-food.

But too much of anything can make you sick, especially fried food! While meat is generally packed with nutrition, too much of it can also put you at risk of many diseases. Countless studies show that long-term consumption of meat can cause a myriad of problems down the road. 

This is usually a huge bummer for many people, especially gym-goers who depend on animal protein to keep up their muscle gain. However, the idea that you can only get enough protein from meat is completely false.

Not only is this untrue but it can also be seen as propaganda for the meat and fitness industry to sell more protein-based supplements and foods. 

Think about it; thousands of vegetarians and vegans lift weights, do cardio, burn fat, and gain muscle – all with natural and plant-based sources of protein! 

But let’s not take out our tin-foil hat. Let’s think of this logically: the idea of a balanced diet is to have, well, a balance between different types of food

You should be able to consume meat, fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and more to have a sustainable and long-term diet.

If you only depend on meat, then you will deprive your body of precious nutrients that would otherwise be sourced from vegetables and legumes! This is where plant-based protein comes in. 

So, you can rest assured that you will get your money’s worth (in fact, more) if you either switch to or add lentils to your diet. 

What Are Lentils Good For? 

Lentils pack a lot of nutrients and some dieticians would even argue that they are better than animal protein because plant-based food has fiber! 

Sure, you might not get a few essential amino acids, but you could get those proteins from other sources like fish, milk, or eggs.

No rulebook says that you need to have animal meat to stay healthy – all evidence usually points to the contrary in the long term! 

A typical cup of any type of lentil will usually have an average of 300 calories with 20g of protein, 45g of carbs, 15g of fiber, and virtually 0g of fat.

If you compare these figures to meat, then you would get largely different numbers with more emphasis on fat and less on fiber.

Apart from this, lentils also have a great number of vitamins and minerals that are extremely important in the day-to-day function of the human body. 

High Protein Lentils – Ranked

Here are some of the best protein-packed lentils.

Types of Lentils
(1 cup, cooked)


Protein (g)

Fat (g)

Carbs (g)

Fiber (g)
Puy Lentils3803506216
French Green Lentils4203407016
Yellow Lentils2301903815
Brown Lentils2301804016
Red Lentils2301803916
Black Lentils180130309

If we are strictly talking about protein then Puy lentils win by a margin, followed by green lentils and then yellow, brown, red, and black lentils.

However, there are a few things to consider here – first is the taste of the lentils. Most people find the yellow, brown, black, and red lentils to be a great place to start given their nutty, delicious, tender, and almost sweet flavor. 

When comparing the high-protein French green and Puy lentils, these legumes have a distinct peppery taste that some people might find to be a bit overpowering. 

The yellow lentil is favored in many Asian regions, especially in India because of its tender texture and balanced flavor.

Furthermore, even though black lentils are listed at the bottom, they are one of the tastiest lentils and are commonly paired with tamarind or other sour ingredients. 

They have a very well-balanced rich, earthy and nutty flavor that pairs well with rice and flatbread.

Please keep in mind that the cooking method for these lentils will also have an impact on how well they retain their nutrition.

Overcooked lentils may not be as nutritious, on the other hand, improperly cooked lentils will take a heavy toll on one’s digestive system. 

This is why it is important to cook lentils the right way! Here’s how:

How To Cook Lentils

Thankfully, there is a generalized way of cooking all types of legumes. Cooking lentils is fairly straightforward but requires some preparation. 

For example, it is important to soak the lentils in clean water for up to 1-2 hours so that they hydrate, puff up and loosen their hard exterior layer. 

This helps cook the lentils evenly and also aids in breaking down digestion-heavy enzymes (scum) that clump up and float above the water as the lentils cook. 

Here is a step-by-step guide for cooking every type of lentil with and without a pressure cooker. 

Cooking Without An Instant Pot Or Pressure Cooker

  1. Clean the lentils under clear water and soak them for about 1-2 hours before use. 
  2. Give the lentils another rinse before adding them to a large pot. 
  3. Add 1.5-2 tsp of salt to every 1 cup of lentil. You can also adjust the salt as per your preference. 
  4. Turn the heat on high and bring the water to a boil. 
  5. As the lentils cook, they will release enzymes that will form a foamy layer on top. We recommend removing this layer with a spoon as this “scum” is known to cause digestive issues. 
  6. Cook the lentils for about 18-25 minutes or until they become tender. You may cook them for longer if you wish to mash them, like in the case of soups. 
  7. Either drain the water and strain the lentils or use the same water to cook lentil soup, curries, and many other types of gravies too. 

Cooking Lentils In An Instant Pot

Follow all the steps above till Step 5. Make sure that you remove the excess scum from the top before closing the lid on the instant pot. 

Cook for about 10-15 minutes or as specified by the manufacturer and drain the contents as usual. This method is the fastest way to cook lentils and also happens to be the preferred method in many restaurants as well. 

Some Great Recipes For Lentils 

Spicy Yellow Lentil Soup 

This is a classic recipe for yellow lentils that is famous in many Asian regions. It is also one of the best ways to enjoy lentils with a side of flatbread or boiled rice.  


  • 1 cup yellow lentils
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • Ginger, garlic, paste 1 tbsp
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 whole round red chilies
  • Curry leaves


  1. Rinse the lentils then place them in a bowl with water and let them soak for about 1-2 hours. You can also soak them for just 15-30 minutes if you are in a hurry. 
  2. In a large pot, pour 3 cups of water and the strained lentils along with half a slice of onion, 1 tomato, red chili powder, turmeric powder, ginger/garlic paste, and salt. 
  3. Cook for 15-20 minutes in an open pot or 10-15 minutes in an instant pot. Make sure that the lentils are soft and tender. 
  4. In a small saucepan, add oil, half an onion (diced), cumin seeds, a dash of garlic, whole red chilies, and curry leaves. Cook until fragrant and carefully add the hot oil mixture to the lentil pot and close the lid. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. 
  5. Mix well and serve with fresh coriander! You can also make boiled rice or have this soup as it is! 

Puy Lentils With Garlic And Thyme


  • 3 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 ¼ cups Puy lentils
  • 1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Prepare the lentils by soaking them in water (as instructed in our guide above).
  2. In a saucepan, add oil and let it get hot. Then add the onion, carrot, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.   
  3. Fill a pot with 6 cups of water and bring to boil. Add the lentils, thyme, bay leaves, and salt. Let it cook for about 15-20 minutes and bring to a fast simmer. 
  4. Cook until the lentils are tender and cooked thoroughly. They shouldn’t be hard or resist breakage if you press them with the back of the spoon. You can also drain the excess water if you want the lentils to remain a bit dry. 

If you want to enjoy lentils differently then we highly recommend making lentil chips! It’s easy and requires a few common ingredients. 

Red Lentil Chips


  • 2 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  1. Soak the lentils and rinse them well. 
  2. Blend all the ingredients mentioned above in a food processor until you have a paste-like consistency. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  4. Add a lining of parchment paper on the baking tray, pour the cream-like paste into the baking pan, and spread it out evenly. You don’t want to spread it too thin! Just spread it enough that it makes a thin, even layer.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes then take the baking tray out, flip, and divide the cooked lentil layer using a knife or pizza cutter. 
  6. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the chips are golden brown. 
  7. Allow the crackers to cool for about 15 minutes and then store them in an airtight container for later use! 

These will make a healthy and protein-rich snack that you can have any time of day. You can also add in more ingredients, flavorings, or seasonings to change the flavor of the chips. 

Related Questions 

How much water is required to cook all types of lentils? 

Generally, you will require 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of lentils. 

This 3:1 ratio is perfect for all types of lentils. You may have to adjust the cooking time according to the pot, though.

For example, most open pots will require you to cook the lentils for about 20-25 minutes. However, you can cook the lentils in an instant pot within 10-15 minutes.

Can you mix two or three different lentils together? 

Yes, you can mix different lentils to create a super healthy lentil combo! 

We recommend adding one part yellow, one part red, and one part brown lentil for a very delicious and nutritious meal that can be seasoned in many ways.

You can even mix different types of meat and create a delicious legume and meat dish, as is commonly found in many regions around the world. 

We recommend adding marinated sliced meat to yellow lentils – you can find many recipes online for similar dishes! 

How to store raw and cooked lentils?

The best way to store raw lentils is to seal them in an airtight jar and keep them away from heat and moisture. The lentils can last for months this way so long as they are not exposed to high heat or water, even condensation. 

Cooked lentils can be stored in an airtight container for about 2-3 days in the fridge. Make sure that you store the lentils at 40°F.

You can also freeze cooked lentils at 0°F in an airtight container. The lentils will remain edible for about 1-2 months if they are kept frozen for the entire duration. 

Up Next: Chickpeas Vs Lentils – What’s The Difference?

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