Lentils are bean-like edible legumes that come in various shapes, colors, and sizes. They are relatively inexpensive and make a nutritious addition to different recipes. These tiny little proteins are an all-time vegetarian favorite and can be added to stews, soups, salads and even made into burgers.
Some pantry items are usually difficult to locate at grocery stores, and lentils are no exception. In this shopping guide, we would point you to the aisles to check, and the stores that typically carry it. We would also discuss the different types of lentils and our favorite lentil recipes.
Where Are Lentils Located In Grocery Stores?
Lentils are readily available in most chain and private grocery stores, health food stores, farmers’ markets, and stores that sell bulk goods. When searching for lentils, your first stop should be the grains aisle, next to rice, dried beans, and other legumes.
Next, you should check the soup aisle. Lentils are usually stocked alongside other soup mixes. Some grocery stores also sometimes stock lentils in the ethnic foods aisle, or a bulk section. Lentils are typically sold dry in bags, or in cans. The canned lentils come ready to use, while the dried forms should be soaked before cooking.
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Types of Lentils
There are many different types of lentils, with unique flavors and textures. They usually come in various colors as well, such as brown, black, red, and green.
1. Brown Lentils
These are the most common form of lentils. They usually have a nutty flavor and a firm texture.
2. Green Lentils
Green lentils are the second most common form. They usually have a sweeter flavor than brown lentils and a softer texture.
3. Red Lentils
Red lentils have a milder flavor compared to brown and green forms. They also have a softer texture.
4. Black Lentils
Black lentils are the least common type of lentil. They have a rich, earthy flavor and a firm texture.
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Where to Buy Lentils Near You (Stores to Check)
The stores below are the top recommendations of places where you can shop for different types of lentils. Home delivery of grocery items has also become increasingly popular. If the idea of stopping at grocery stores to shop doesn’t thrill you, we’ve got you covered. Most of these stores have options for online grocery orders.
Amazon is always a life-saver when pantry items are unavailable in your area. You can shop for various types of lentils from one of the many vendors and have them delivered to you. Amazon also offers great rates on bulk orders.
Walmart is also a great place to shop for different types of lentils. Their stores typically carry brands like Great Value, Bob’s Red Mill, Goya, La Preferida, and others. You can also use the online store locator on their website, to check for product availability in any of their stores.
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3. Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods is a popular natural food grocer. You can pick up 365 Everyday Value Brand, and bulk lentils at any of their stores.
In the dried beans or rice aisle of Target, you will find different types of lentils to choose from, including brands like Simply Balanced Organic French Green Lentils, and Market Pantry Lentils.
If at any Safeway store, look out for brands like Goya, Arrowhead Mills, and Signature Kitchen lentils. They usually have them in different colors.
In the dried beans aisle of any Kroger supermarket, you can pick up the store’s brand lentils.
Publix stores typically carry brands like Goya and Bob’s Red Mill. They also sell their store brand of brown lentils.
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8. Trader Joe’s
Trader’s Joe offers green and red store-brand lentils.
9. Local Health Food Stores
A local health food store is a great place to shop for lentils. Virtually every health food store you walk into will carry at least one variety of lentils, and they usually sell them in bulk.
10. Ethnic Markets
You can stop by any Indian, Latin or Italian ethnic market to shop for lentils.
Great Ways To Use Lentils
While lentils can be used in a variety of ways in different recipes, these are some of our favorite recipes:
1. Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is one of the best vegan comfort foods of all time. It is cheap and easy to prepare. It can also be made in large batches, and are perfect for road trips, as it can be frozen and heated up intermittently. You can look up the recipe for brown, red, or green lentil soup.
2. Vegan Lentil Burgers
Many vegans and vegetarians rely on lentils, as they make an excellent alternative to meat and still provide much-needed protein. You can make hearty veggie burgers, shepherd’s pie, mock meatballs, and lots more.
3. Use Them In Salads
You can add plain or spiced lentils in either warm or chilled salads, for extra nourishment. Spices and seasonings like garlic and ginger, also pair nicely with lentils, so you wouldn’t have to worry about the dressings.
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Having worked in a grocery store in the past, I thought it wise to pen down a few things that you might be interested to know about shopping and navigating your way around the store.