Are Split Peas Lentils?

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Is split peas and lentils the same thing? It’s a popular question, and we don’t blame you for asking it. Split peas and lentils may seem identical at first sight, with their flattish form and tiny size, but they are two totally distinct dry legumes!

Not only are they botanically diverse, but they are also highly distinct in many more physical aspects, ranging from various tastes and textures to varied availability locations and cooking techniques. Let’s learn about the distinctions between these two little yet powerful Fabaceae members!

What Are Split Peas?

Are Split Peas Lentils?

Split peas are one of the most straightforwardly named meals available. They are peas that have been split, just as stated! The peas used to make split peas are of the species Pisum Sativum, which is the same type of green pea youll find lining the canned vegetable aisle, adding a verdant touch to bags of frozen mixed vegetables, or adding a much needed pop of color to classic chicken pot pie!

The distinction between a fresh green pea and a split pea, on the other hand, is entirely in the processing. Split peas are manufactured from green peas that are cultivated particularly for this purpose. Field peas are a word that refers to a category of legumes that contains numerous types of dry beans (not peas!).

After harvesting and removing the peas from their pods, they are dried and the seed coat is removed from each pea. This leaves just the creamy, starch-filled heart of the peas, displaying a feature that you probably don’t see on fresh peasa natural seam straight through the centre. Once dried, the peas will readily split along this divide, giving rise to the split pea! The genesis story of the first dried pea splitting is a bit hazy, but the truth remains that splitting the peas helps them cook faster owing to the increased surface area and lower thickness.

Split Peas Nutrition

Split peas, like fresh green peas, are incredibly healthy. They have a high protein content, around 22 grams per half cup, like other legumes. They are also high in dietary fiber and contain essential minerals including potassium, magnesium, and iron.

How to Store Split Peas

One of the reasons fresh peas go through the splitting process is to help them live longer. A fresh pea has a very short shelf life due to its high water content, however split peas may survive for years when all of the water has been removed.

Simply store your split peas in an airtight container away from heat and moisture. If your split peas come into touch with moisture, such as by holding the package over a pot of hot water, make sure to fully dry them off before closing them up again.

Types of Split Peas: Yellow Peas vs. Green Peas

While there are several varieties of fresh peas, there are only two varieties of split peas: yellow and green! Fresh yellow peas are scarce since they are more often dried and split.

Despite their different colors, these two split peas are similar in most ways, from nutrition to cooking procedure, yet they have distinct tastes! Green split peas have a sweeter, nuttier taste than yellow split peas, which have a milder flavor and a little starchier texture. However, any hue will make a delicious pot of split pea soup, and the two are occasionally combined in the same recipe to provide a more varied taste.

What Are Lentils?

Lentils, which resemble split peas of a different hue, are really the seeds of a plant called Lens culinaris. Surprisingly, the len in lentil and the len in lens are both connected! The lens was called because its remarkable similarity to those small, saucer-shaped lentils when it was invented (many years after lentils had been a staple of the human diet)!

Lentils, like split peas and other legumes, grow in a pod that is the fruit of the tiny, bush-like lentil plant. Some lentils are hulled after harvest, which means the outer seed coat is removed, since this promotes speedier heating and makes the lentils simpler to digest.

Removing the shell provides the extra advantage of revealing the occasionally vividly colored seed inside (more on that later! ), but many lentil types retain their hulls to keep their form throughout cooking. Hulled lentils are often split, but whole lentils keep their seed coverings. Split lentils and whole lentils, regardless of type or processing, offer a substantial, earthy taste that makes them fantastic meat alternatives, like in our Vegan Moroccan Lentil Soup recipe!

Lentils Nutrition

Lentils are jam-packed with nutrients! They are high in protein and fiber, and an excellent source of calcium and vitamins A and B. Lentils are particularly well-known for their high folate content, which provides around 50% of your daily intake per half-cup serving!

How to Store Lentils

Uncooked lentils should be stored in the same manner as other dry legumes: firmly wrapped and in a cold, dark area. Lentils may easily be kept correctly for up to a year. After this time, they may begin to deteriorate in terms of appearance and nutritional value, but unless exposed to moisture or pollutants, the lentils are most likely safe to consume.

Types of Lentils

Unlike split peas, which only come in two colors, lentils come in a rainbow of colors! Color differences often pertain to the hues of the seeds themselves, rather than their coverings, which frequently conceal the brilliance of the seeds inside.

Brown Lentils

Brown lentils are the most common and general lentil kind. They might be brown, gray, or even somewhat green in hue. These are also known as French lentils, and certain types with a brown exterior hull may have yellow lentils within!

French Green Lentils

French green lentils are a distinct cultivar that should not be confused with normal French lentils. They are highly valued for their pungent taste and solid texture, which holds up well throughout cooking. If French green lentils are branded as le Puy lentils, it means they were farmed in a certain area of France, making them even more distinctive and pricey.

Red Lentils

Red lentils, often known as Egyptian lentils, are smaller in size than other lentil kinds. They are nearly generally sold hulled, revealing their interior coloration, which varies from golden orange to pink to red.

Why Sort and Rinse Before Using?

Any bag of split peas, lentils, or other dry legumes will most likely urge you to sift and rinse the beans before using them. What’s the story?

There are two reasons for this. One, it is not unusual for extraneous debris (such as tiny stones, branches, and so on) to get mixed in with the beans during processing, therefore it is always wise to inspect for and remove any such items.

Second, it is critical to remove any beans that seem to be suspect owing to insect damage, mold development, or other concerns. It just takes a few minutes to look through your mound of beans and ensure that they are all safe to consume!Rinse the beans in a large saucepan or mesh strainer after inspecting them for dust or shell fragments. Congratulations! Your beans are now prepared to be cooked.

To Soak or Not to Soak?

Soaking instructions are another common packaging instruction seen on many packs of dry peas and beans. Many dried beans recommend this method to help you cook your legumes quicker while also eliminating some of the stomach-upset-causing lectins that beans are renowned for.

What’s the good news? Split peas do not need to be soaked! Split peas cook the fastest and softest of all dry legumes, thus soaking will not benefit you much other than making more meals for yourself.

Lentils, on the other hand, may take a little longer to cook, but soaking them for 8 hours or overnight can cut their cooking time in half. Nonetheless, with a maximum cooking time of 45 minutes (for certain very difficult types), the soaking stage is completely unnecessary.

Split Peas vs. Lentils: Summarizing Key Differences

As you can see, these little, saucer-shaped seeds are quite diverse from one another! Let us conclude by highlighting their significant differences:

  • Split peas and lentils are both members of the legume family (Fabaceae), however split peas belong to the Pisum genus and lentils to the Lens genus.
  • Split peas have a more spherical form with a relatively flat side, while lentils are flatter all over and more ovular in shape. Furthermore, lentils come in a wide variety of hues, while split peas are either green or yellow.
  • Split peas have a delicate and sweet taste, whilst lentils are heartier and richer. Split peas become quite creamy when cooked, but many lentils remain hard and keep their form throughout cooking.
  • Cooking time: Split peas cook in around 20 minutes, whereas lentils take up to 45 minutes, depending on the type.
  • Nutrition: Split peas are higher in nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, as well as many different kinds of B vitamins. Lentils, on the other hand, rank top in terms of fiber and protein content and are a fantastic source of folate.

That’s all there is to it! When someone exclaims, “Cool beans!” feel free to respond with cold peas or cool lentils!. After all, these small legumes deserve equal time in the spotlight as their larger counterparts.


Can I use split peas instead of lentils?

In recipes, they may be used interchangeably. It is crucial to note, however, that when cooked, a lentil keeps more rigidity than a split pea. This may change the texture of meals like soups.

Which is healthier lentils or split peas?

Split peas have more vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, and K than lentils. Lentils have far higher levels of vitamins B5, B6, and folate. Tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, valine, and histidine are also abundant in lentils.

Are lentils and split peas legumes?

Beans, peas, and lentils (collectively referred to as pulses) are dried edible seeds of legumes. Beans (kidney beans, pinto beans, white beans, black beans, lima beans, fava beans), dried peas (chickpeas, black-eyed peas, pigeon peas, split peas), and lentils are examples of foods in this vegetable subgroup.

Are yellow peas same as lentils?

Yellow lentils are used in the preparation of Indian dals.Yellow split peas are not the same as red split peas.

Do split peas need to be soaked?

Whether to Soak or Not to Soak

It’s true that soaking peas in water overnight reduces cooking time. However, soaking is not fully essential. Split peas are fast to cook. Unsoaked peas need 1 to 2 hours of boiling time; soaked peas require roughly 40 minutes.

Which lentils are healthiest?

Beluga lentils (black lentils)

Best of all, black lentils are the most nutritious kind of lentil, containing the most protein as well as high quantities of calcium, potassium, and iron.

Are split peas good for your gut?

According to research, split peas have a high soluble fibre level, which improves gastrointestinal health. Fibre aids in the digestion of meals and the transit of stools. Furthermore, the fibre in split peas may benefit those with constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.

What do split peas do for your body?

They are high in folate, thiamin, iron, and potassium. 1 cup cooked split peas supplies 33% of your daily protein need for bone, muscle, cartilage, skin, and blood. 58% of your daily fiber need to keep you full and help decrease cholesterol and blood pressure.

Why are they called split peas?

Split peas are the mature version of green peas: dried pea seeds are peeled and split, increasing the pea’s surface area.

Which legumes are the healthiest?

9 Beneficial Beans & Legumes You Should Give It a Shot
Kidney beans are legumes.
Beans in black.
Beans, pinto.
Navy beans are legumes.

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