The lentil is the dried seed of a legum-inous plant (Lens esculent a) family. It is about half the size of a pea. Lentils are originally from central Asia, where they have been cultivated since prehistoric times. They are now grown all over the South of Europe and also in the United States.
The most common variety of lentil marketed is the Egyptian or red lentil which is grown in the Middle East. Other varieties have green and greenish brown seeds.
Lentils are a valuable source of protein and they are also high in calories. They provide part of the staple diet in many under-developed countries, such as India where a dish of lentils HAL) is served at least once a day in most homes.