Lentils vs Chickpeas: Comparison of Nutrition and Protein

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Lentils and chickpeas have a lot in common.

They’re both legumes, and you can even find non-wheat pasta made from them in most stores these days.

But if you’re wondering which one is healthier, or fits your macros best, you’ll want to read this short post.

We’ll compare the most important nutritional differences, to see if lentils or chickpeas are best for your diet.

Lentils vs Chickpeas: Nutrition Comparison

I’ve broken down the nutrition comparison into 2 sections.

First we’ll look at the key vitamins and minerals that each one offers, and then we’ll take a quick glance at the fiber.

I feel like these are the 2 most relevant factors that affect how healthy either is.

Vitamins and Minerals Comparison

Legumes in general have some vitamins, but the real nutrition benefits come from the ample amount of nutrients they provide.

Here’s a breakdown of the vitamins and minerals that lentils and chickpeas give you the most of, in terms of what percent of your daily value (%DV) you get in a cup (200 grams cooked).

  Lentils (%DV) Chickpeas (%DV)
Folate 90 71
Iron 37 26
Magnesium 18 20
Phosphorus 36 28
Potassium 21 14
Zinc 17 17
Copper 25 29
Manganese 49 87

It’s quite even overall, I wouldn’t say there’s a clear winner.

Lentils lead 4 categories, while chickpeas lead 3 categories.

With just a few cups of either in a day, you come close to 100% of your daily value in many nutrients, or exceed it in a few cases.

Fiber Comparison

More fiber is generally a good thing.

If you’re a vegan you probably don’t need to worry about your fiber intake, but if you’re just looking to introduce some more plants into your diet, it’s something to consider.

  Lentils Chickpeas
Fiber (g) per 1 cup cooked 15.6 12.5

Both have good amounts of fiber, but lentils edge out chickpeas.

Lentils vs Chickpeas: Protein Comparison

This is probably the biggest difference between these 2 legumes.

Have a look at how much protein there is in a cooked cup of each of them:

  Lentils Chickpeas
Protein(g) per 1 cup cooked 17.9 14.5

That’s an extra 3.4 grams of protein per cup of lentils. If you eat 3 cups of lentils in a day, you’ll get an extra 10 grams of protein compared to if you ate chickpeas.

If you’re on a mostly plant-based diet and are struggling to get enough protein to hit your macros, eating mostly lentils will help.

Lentils vs Chickpeas: Which is Healthier?

Both are good legumes and overall “healthy” foods.

They give you similar amounts of many essential vitamins and minerals.

However, if you have to pick one to focus on, lentils are the winner. They have more fiber, and a substantial amount more protein.

If you’d like to see how lentils stack up against beans in general, see my comparison post for lentils vs beans. Once you’re done that, you might be interested in seeing how legumes stack up vs nuts.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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