Lentils are one of the most nutritious and versatile plant-based proteins. The pulse is a cousin to peas and beans and originated in Asia and North Africa. They're super low-fat and boast high amounts of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and other nutrients. They're awesome in traditional dishes like curry or soup, but also delicious blended into veggie burgers, sauces, casseroles, and as a standalone vegetarian main.
Dried lentils can be stored at room temperature, in an air-tight container, for up to a year. It's generally recommended to rinse lentils before adding them to dishes and quickly sift through for any broken bits. You do not need to soak lentils like other dried beans or peas, but if you do you can cut the cooking time down by half.
Green lentils are rich in antioxidants, iron, and magnesium. They work particularly well over salads and as a warm side, because of their peppery taste. They do take the longest to cook of all the varieties, about 45 minutes, but hold their shape well. One-half cup of dried green lentils provides 24g protein, 10g fiber, 80mg calcium, and 4mg iron, according to the USDA.