Red lentils are a nutritious food legume. The primary product is the seed of the plant. Generally the seeds are canned or packaged, whole or split, for retail sale, or processed into flour. Lentils are then used in soups, stews, salads, casseroles, snack food and vegetarian dishes. In southern Asia, split red lentils are used in curries. Lentil flour is added to cereal flour to make breads, cakes and baby foods. Lentils are often used as a meat extender or substitute because of the high protein content and quality. Lentils have a shorter cooking time than other pulses and do not need to be pre-soaked.