There are many, many different kinds of lentils. For variation in taste, texture and color, keep 3-5 different kinds of lentil. Red Lentils (Masoor Dal) These are quick to cook. The whole lentils is reddish-brown. The split lentil is orange or pink. Good for mashed or blended soups. Black Lentils (Urad Dal) Skins have strong flavor. Used in curries. Skinned and split are white, soft and mild or bland.
Green Mung Beans
Chinese lentils also popular in India.
Mild nutty. Whole lentil is tan. Popular side dish and ground as flour.
Channa Dal (split chickpea)
These popular lentils are sweet and nutty.