All About Lentils & FODMAPs

This Explore An Ingredient: Lentils will cover canned lentils as well as dried lentils.

For dried we will discuss the 3 varieties listed on the Monash App, using the terminology that Monash uses:

  • Green Lentils
  • Brown Lentils
  • Red Lentils
  • Le Puy Lentils (also often called French Green Lentils or lentilles du Puy)
Three kinds of lentils in wooden scoops, on a white painted wooden surface
Left to right in image: Green/Brown lentils; Red lentils; French Le Puy lentils

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Lentils Low FODMAP?

You might have seen lentils on some high FODMAP food lists. We are here to set the record straight.

There are low FODMAP serving sizes of lentils, but the recommended serving sizes vary depending on the type of lentil and how it was prepared.

We also hope that you have the most up-to-date version of the Monash University app. Previously, the volume amounts in the Monash app were incorrect for several of the lentil entries in connection with the recommended weights. We brought this to their attention and the volumes have been corrected – except the volumes of the red lentils are still wrong – by 100%. The weights were and are correct.

Always go by weight!

Unfortunately, some of the volumes in the FODMAP Friendly app are currently incorrect. Again, Go by WEIGHT!

For this reason, we have ONLY listed weights below. Go. By. Weight. And yes, you should have a digital scale for following the low FODMAP diet.

What Is The Difference Between Brown and Green Lentils?

Unfortunately the terms are often used interchangeably. If you buy lentils and they are brownish/greenish and do not specify, chances are they are brown lentils.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), brown lentils can range in color from khaki brown to dark black and have a mild, earthy flavor.

Green lentils can vary in color from a pale or spotted green to a green-slate color with hints of blue and black, and are more robust and peppery than born lentils.

But, for FODMAP purposes, between the Monash University app, the FODMAP Friendly app, and discussions with the researchers, it is not always clear what was tested.

Why Are Canned Lentils Lower FODMAP?

Lentils contain both GOS and fructans, and the amounts will depend on variety.

These FODMAPs are water-soluble, which is why it is recommended that you buy canned lentils and drain them. A good portion of the FODMAPs will drain away with the liquid. Therefore you can eat a larger amount of canned, drained lentils than you can of dry lentils, cooked from scratch.

Drain your canned lentils thoroughly in a fine-meshed strainer, THEN weigh the amount for you to eat or use in a recipe.

Check out our recipe for Tempeh Lentil Chili, which showcases canned, drained lentils.

Are Lentils Nutritious?

Lentils are a complex carbohydrate, low in fat and calories, and high in protein and fiber.

Lentils are also high in potassium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and are a very rich source of folate.

Lentils are also naturally gluten-free.

Low FODMAP Lentil Amounts At A Glance

  • Lentils (brown/green), canned and drained: Monash University lab tested low FODMAP amounts are 1.62-ounces or 46 g; FODMAP Friendly lab tested low FODMAP amounts are 45.93 g; max serve size 102.63 g.
  • Lentils, green, boiled: Monash University lab tested low FODMAP amounts are 1.02-ounces or 29 g; FODMAP Friendly lab tested low FODMAP amounts are 46 g; max serve size 74.40 g.
  • Lentils, red boiled: Monash University lab tested low FODMAP amounts are .81-ounce or 23 g; FODMAP Friendly lab tested low FODMAP amounts are 46 g; max serve size 74.40 g.
  • Lentils, Le Puy, cooked: Monash University lab tested low FODMAP amounts are 1.06-ounces or 46 g.

For an explanation of how Monash University lab tests foods, please read THIS article; we have a complementary article about FODMAP Friendly; and we have an article that discusses why the lab results can vary.

Choose Your Lentil

Green Lentils

Green lentils are also referred to as brown lentils and if you find a recipe that simply calls for “lentils”, then these are the kind you want.

These green (brown) lentils are the same used in most canned lentil products and for classic American-style lentil soup.

Check out our recipe for Lentil Salad with Greens & Yogurt, which showcases canned, drained lentils.

By the way, make sure you drain your lentils well; they will weigh vastly different from undrained.

Image of Undrained and Drained Lentils

Red Lentils

Red lentils come whole or split. Make sure you choose the correct type for your individual recipe.

Red lentils cook very quickly and become quite soft and even mushy, which can be used to their advantage, such as in Indian dal.

Check out our recipe for Chicken & Lentils, which showcases red lentils.

Le Puy Lentils

These small, very dark green lentils are also referred to as French Green Lentils and Lentilles du Puy. They are known for their flavor and how they hold their shape, making them exceptional for salads, in particular.

How To Buy

Know what your recipe is calling for or what you want from your choice of lentil, as they are not interchangeable.

For instance, classic Indian dal will take advantage of the fact that red lentils will cook down to a silky, lovely mashed texture.

Salads will be exceptional when made with Le Puy French green lentils, as they hold their shape, are visually attractive and retain some toothsome texture.

Traditional American-style lentil soup begs for simple green (brown) lentils.

If you have the option of buying lentils in bulk, this can be a very economic approach, and you can buy just what you need.

For lentilles du Puy you will most likely will have to order online, unless you have a very well-stocked gourmet foods store nearby. Remember, true lentilles du Puy will have an AOC designation.

AOC stands for appellation d’origine controlee. It is a French certification system that guarantees the designation of origin. For instance the AOC designation will guarantee that your Roquefort cheese comes from Roquefort and that your lentilles du Puy come from that region of France.

How To Store

As with any dry bean or legume, store them airtight in a cool, dry place.

For canned, simply refer to the use-by date on the label.

How To Prep

Sort through your dry lentils as there could be little stones or lentils that are just not right. Simply pick those out and discard.

Rinse your lentils in a wire-meshed strainer under cool water to remove any dust or powdery debris.

red lentils in a wooden scoop against light background

How To Cook

Individual recipes will dictate, so follow those directions.

Lentils do not have to be soaked, as do some heartier and hardier beans.

A general rule of thumb is a ratio of 3:1 water to dry lentils. Bring both water and lentils to a boil in a covered pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender. Red lentils will cook much faster than green/brown or Le Puy.

Generally speaking, green lentils will cook in about 20 minutes and red lentils less than 10 minutes.

You can use stock in lieu of water for more flavor.

Use a large pot as dried lentils will at least double and sometimes even triple in volume during cooking.

Many cooks like to salt lentils after cooking, not during, as it is said salt toughens lentils if it is added to water during cooking.

Some cooks prefer to cook lentils like pasta, in plenty of water, cooking till tender and then draining.

The Takeaway

Lentils can be a part of your low FODMAP diet, even during the Elimination Phase. They offer flavor, protein, fiber, are generally considered nutritious, and can be used in main dish recipes, side dishes and salads.

Please pay attention to the weights of the low FODMAP serving sizes listed on the Monash University and FODAP Friendly smartphone apps for accuracy, as opposed to the volumes, some of which have been proven to be inaccurate.