The unique taste of Cilaos lentils

Everyone loves lentils, either as a main meal or a side dish! They are particularly rich in vegetable protein, fibre and iron, and as such are perfect for active people and vegetarians. But have you ever heard of Cilaos lentils? You are sure to enjoy this delicious little pulse from our island!

History of Reunion Island Cilaos lentils

Cilaos lentils originally come from India but they are now considered an endemic plant species of Reunion Island, and more particularly, from the Cirque of Cilaos. This little plant first appeared on the ultimate island in 1836: this was just the beginning of a great love story between the lentil and Reunion Island!
Today, most producers use electric machines for harvesting, but 10% of the harvest of these lentils is still done in the traditional way, using a “gol” (large bamboo stick).

Did you know ?

There are 130 producers, producing around 50 tonnes of Cilaos lentils per year !

The benefits of Cilaos lentils

A great source of protein and iron

Cilaos lentils will provide all the vegetable protein you need, and they are also a good source of iron. To be enjoyed with food items that are rich in vitamin C, for the perfect combination!

For weight control

Cilaos lentils have a very low glycaemic index and they are particularly filling, making them perfect for weight control!

Rich in minerals

If you want to avoid deficiencies, eat lentils! They are full of vitamins and minerals, with vitamin B, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, calcium and copper!

Exceptionally rich in fibre

With a fibre content of 8g for 100g, a portion of Cilaos lentils can provide a good share of your daily requirements.

Prevent bad cholesterol

Cilaos lentils are rich in antioxidants, to prevent bad cholesterol, and fight against ageing of cells.

The Cilaos lentils celebration

Recipes with Cilaos lentils

(the perfect opportunity to try some vegan or veggie recipes !)
Preparation45 minutes
Cooking time40 minutes

The steps

  • Pour the lentils into a large pan and cover them with cold water, to fill approximately half of the pan.
  • Add a tablespoon of oil. Cover the pan and use the pressure regulator if you’re using a pressure cooker.
  • Cook for around 25 minutes, on a low heat.
  • 10 minutes before the lentils have finished cooking, peel and dice the onion, peel and crush the garlic and do the same with the ginger.
  • In another pan, gently fry the chopped onion, then add the ginger, crushed garlic and mix together.
  • Add the pepper.
  • The lentils should now be soft, add the onion, garlic and ginger mixture to the lentils. Glaze the bottom of your pan with some of the lentil cooking broth and then pour all of it into the pressure cooker.
  • Bring the lentils to the boil, and reduce if there’s still a lot of water in the pressure cooker.
  • Stir occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pressure cooker.
  • Serve piping hot as a main dish, or as a side dish with rice, meat or fish.



– 600g of Cilaos lentils

– 3 large onions

– 1 litre of stock (1 litre of water)

– 4 garlic cloves

– 1 slice of ginger

– Half a teaspoon of turmeric

– 1 sprig of thyme

– salt and pepper to taste

– oil


you could add a teaspoon of turmeric.

How long should you cook Cilaos lentils for ?

Cilaos lentils take a bit longer to cook than the other sorts of lentils! They need to cook (uncovered) for around 40 minutes.