The lentil plant is called Ervum lens, a dicotyledon belonging to the Leguminosae family. Lentils have been consumed since prehistoric times, and have always been considered the meat of the poor, just like beans and legumes in general.
The particular lens shape of these legumes - from which the name lentil derives - also resembles that of a coin, which is why it is customary to consume them on New Year's Eve, as a wish for prosperity, luck and wealth for the year that has just begun.
There are many varieties of lentils, differentiated mainly according to color. They are rich in proteins, fiber and mineral salts such as calcium and iron, as well as being very nutritious and energetic.
For all these reasons, the consumption of lentils should not be limited only to the holidays at the end and beginning of the year, but should extend to becoming at least a weekly habit.
In order to preserve all the vitamins and minerals present, it is advisable not to boil the lentils in abundant water: the legumes should be just covered by the water.
Lucky lentils are used in many recipes, alone or accompanied with meat and vegetables. The most famous recipes are Zampone with lentils or Tuscan lentil soup.