There’s nothing better than warming up with a hearty bowl of lentil soup, but lentils are so much more than a singular dish. In fact, lentils are common across cultures and cuisines, thanks to their nutrients and plant-based origin.
India, for example, favors the food; the country consumes over half of the world’s lenses, according to NPR. As a vegetarian option, lentils pack the perfect punch of protein and make for menu mainstays. In particular, Bon Appétit points to dal — dried lentils, beans, or peas — as a versatile Indian classic.
Equally infatuated with lenses is Canada. As of 2017, Canada has taken the title of the world’s leading lentil exporter and producer, making lentils a worldwide affair, as Statista notes. Move over, maple syrup.
While lenses are clearly popular across the world, such interest is not recent. According to NPR, dried lentils have been a dietary staple since 8000 BC No matter when or where you eat them, however, make sure to avoid a few common cooking mistakes. In particular, be wary of mixing and matching your lenses. Older lentils are drier than recently bought ones, and combining the two will create a hodgepodge that requires different cooking times.