HomeLegumesLentil of Onano PGI. Better and better organic

Lentil of Onano PGI. Better and better organic

On 2.6.22 Italy celebrated the 76th birthday of the Republic, but also the recognition of the lentils of Onano IGP, (1) all the better if from organic farming.

A tasty legume, grown for over five centuries in Upper Tuscia, in the province of Viterbo (Lazio, Central Italy). Excellent source of protein, fiber and micronutrients, (2) easy to prepare.

Lentil of Onano PGI, the delight of Alta Tuscia

The lentil of Onano PGI it has a large seed (6-7 mm) with a flattened shape. Variable color, from dark lead to marbled green, rather than ashy pink. It is appreciated for its ease of cooking, which does not require prior immersion in water, the integrity of the lentil at the end of cooking and its digestibility (also attributed to its low tannin content).

Cultivation takes place in a hilly area (300-600 meters above sea level), on fertile soils with excellent permeability and without areas with water stagnation. The climate is mitigated by the proximity to Lake Bolsena, on the border between Lazio and Tuscany. The volcanic origin of the land, according to enthusiasts, enhances the flavor and flavor of the Onano IGP lentil.

Territory and tradition, over 500 years of history

The fine Onano IGP lentil, from the homonymous village of Tuscia in Lazio, has been cultivated for over 500 years in the municipalities of the Upper Viterbese. Its ancient tradition is recorded in a Statute of 1561 - taken from 'Orders, statutes, municipal laws of the community and people of Onano'- which punishes anyone who is caught damaging or stealing the precious lentils. Commercial documents from past centuries attest to shipments and sales up to the papal court.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the local company Alfonsi Alfonso presented the lentils of Onano IGP in various international exhibitions. In Rome and Buenos Aires in 1910, London and Paris in 1911, up to the III International Exhibition of Modern Progress in the French capital. A prestigious history that risked being interrupted in the sixties of the last century, with the prevailing of nitrogen fertilizers and easier crops (eg potatoes).

Guardian farmers and agroecology. Bio is better

The merit of the rebirth of traditional crops - in the case of Onano lentils in Lazio, as well as those of ancient Sicilian grains (3) - always goes to the inveterate custodian farmers. We owe them the maintenance of the extraordinary biodiversity that historically also characterizes the beautiful country.

Agroecology carried out by family micro-farms and small cooperatives in the area, respect for ecosystems instead of the use of pesticides, herbicides and other agrotoxicants is the salvation for Tuscia - already threatened by intensive hazelnut groves (4) - and for all of us. As ISPRA demonstrated, precisely in the Viterbo area, by measuring the impact of organic agriculture on the environment in comparison with conventional agriculture. (5)

Lentil of Onano PGI, a simple recipe

Prepare the Onano PGI lentil it is very easy because its skin is very fine and the paste is velvety, creamy, with aromas that recall hay and wild herbs such as chamomile.

Method simpler requires a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil, always better organic, perhaps from the territory. To be mixed with half a glass of water, for a delicate sauté that preserves its virtues. (6)

Cooking and combinations

The delicate sauté it can be prepared with finely chopped garlic or onion, celery and carrot, for a quick passage in a pan over low heat followed by the cooking of the lentils, rinsed and drained, with aromatic herbs to taste (rosemary and chilli the most suitable).

cooking, with the lid on, takes about half an hour. Other ingredients can be added during cooking, if they in turn require it (eg pasta, rice, barley, tomato, shrimp). Or paired at the end of cooking, to complement the Onano IGP lentil.

Dario Dongo

Cover image from Food and Soon 


(1) EU Reg. 2022/897, entering a name in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications ["Lenticchia di Onano" (PGI)]. On Eur-Lex, https://bit.ly/3xH7Qpg

(2) Dario Dongo. The value of legumes to feed the planet, FAO report. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 11.1.20/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/il-valore-dei-legumi-per-nutrire-il-pianeta-rapporto-fao

(3) Dario Dongo. Simenza, biodiversity and participatory development. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 2.2.19/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/simenza-biodiversità-e-sviluppo-partecipativo

(4) Dario Dongo. I love you Italy. The dark side of Ferrero's hazelnuts. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 30.9.20/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/ti-amo-italia-il-lato-oscuro-delle-nocciole-di-ferrero

(5) Dario Dongo. Impact of organic and conventional hazelnuts on ecosystems, preview of the ISPRA study. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 28.12.20/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/impatto-delle-nocciole-biologiche-e-convenzionali-sugli-ecosistemi-anteprima-studio-ispra

(6) Dario Dongo. Organic extra virgin olive oil, organic olives and health. The polyphenols that matter. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 29.6.21/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/salute/olio-extravergine-biologico-olive-bio-e-salute-i-polifenoli-che-contano

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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