Lentil, a small plant of southern Europe, related to the pea. Lentils are little cultivated in North America, but in southern Europe and the Middle East their seeds, also called lentils, are an important food. Lentils are a good source of protein and iron. Lentils are used in soups and casseroles.

The lentil has been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. In the Bible, lentils were in the mess of pottage for which Esau sold his birthright (Genesis 25:2934).

The lentil grows to 18 inches (45 cm) tall and bears white or pale-blue flowers. The fruits are small, flat, broad pods. Each pod contains two seeds, colored gray, black, green, reddish-brown, or yellow.

The lentil is Lens esculenta of the pea family, Leguminosae.

LentilsLentils have flattened seeds and are among the most nutritious legumes.