As per the request of Dan Pittenger, this post is dedicated to elucidating the nature of the mysterious lentil.
According to Wikipedia:
The lentil or daal or pulse (Lens culinaris) is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, grown for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 15 inches tall and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each.
Lentils, as a legume, have nitrogen-fixing bacteria living in symbiosis on their roots. They provide soil with nutrients while producing a high-protein food.
Apparently, lentils were originally cultivated in Babylonia in 800 B.C., and Hippocrates prescribed lentils and slices of dog to cure liver problems.
Hope this has helped demystify our friend the lentil!