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This simple braised French Lentils recipe is incredibly nourishing and comforting! A delicious, healthy side dish that pairs well with many things! Video.
Here’s an easy, classic recipe for French Lentils cooked with onion, celery, carrot, stock, and thyme that is so savory and delicious, that you’ll want to make this on repeat. We originally paired these lentils with this lovely salmon recipe, but found it pairs with many other things too!
What I love about this recipe is that the lentils can be repurposed during the week into different meals. Leftovers can be turned into a salad with fresh greens & veggies and a dressing, or added to soups and stews. For more lentil recipes, peek at our 30 Amazing Lentil Recipes!
Why You’ll Love This!
- So versatile! These French lentils can be added to any protein to create a full meal, and they are delicious when added to salads, bowls, soups, spread over crusty bread, or enjoyed for brunch!
- Incredibly nutritious. French green lentils are an excellent source of fiber, they are vegan, naturally gluten-free, and they’re high in protein. These lentils are also rich in iron.
- Comforting and flavorful. Because they are rich in protein and iron, these lentils are incredibly satiating. Cooked with a mirepoix, wine, stock, and herbs, the lentils are full of complex and aromatic flavor.
- Just as comforting to make. Not only will your house smell amazing while braising these lentils, but taking something from scratch and bringing them to life can be an incredibly soul-nourishing experience too.
What type of lentil to use
Ingredients in French LentilS
- Olive oil: Adds richness and a subtle fruity flavor to the lentils.
- Onion: Provides a sweet and savory flavor base to the lentils. You can use leek if you prefer.
- Celery: Adds a refreshing and slightly earthy flavor, providing depth to the lentils. Fennel bulb can be used instead.
- Carrot: Contribute a natural sweetness to the braised lentils, enhancing the overall flavor profile. Beet is an alternative and tasty option!
- Garlic cloves: Adds a pungent and aromatic flavor, enhancing the savory notes of the lentils.
- French Green Lentils (Le Puy): Provide a nutty and earthy flavor. French Green Lentils in particular have a mild and peppery taste. You can also use small black lentils (beluga, caviar, etc.).
- Sherry wine, red wine, white wine, or marsala wine: Adds subtle acidity, complexity and depth to the lentils, elevating the overall flavor profile. You can substitute the wine with a teaspoon of red wine vinegar at the end if you wish.
- Veggie or chicken stock: Infuses the lentils with savory notes, enhancing their overall taste. You can sub water or a bouillon cube. Vegetable broth or chicken broth work fine here too.
- Salt: Enhances the flavors of all the ingredients, balancing the taste of the lentils.
- Mustard (optional): Adds a tangy and slightly spicy flavor, complementing the other ingredients in the lentils. Use whole grain or dijon.
- Fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried): Contributes an earthy and aromatic flavor, enhancing the overall taste of the lentils.
- Bay leaves: Add a subtle herbal flavor and aroma, infusing the lentils with a hint of complexity.
How to braise French lentils
For this recipe, you’ll need 1 1/2 cups of dry French green lentils (Le Puy) or black lentils (Beluga, caviar lentils). Large brown lentils will take much longer to cook than the recipe calls for and probably a little more liquid.
Step 1: Start with dicing the carrot, onion and celery. Roughly chop the garlic.
Step 2: Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and stir 4-5 minutes, then turn down to medium heat. Cook 4-5 more minutes and add the garlic and lentils. Cook 2 minutes stirring.
Step 3: Add the garlic and lentils and sauté until the garlic is fragrant.
Step 4: Deglaze with Sherry, or wine of your choosing. Or you can leave this out and add a little red wine vinegar at the end. Let this cook-off, about 2 minutes.
Step 5: Pour in the stock, salt, and mustard and stir until combined and bring to a good simmer. Add the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, cover and gently simmer on low heat 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Step 6: When the lentils are tender, uncover and cook off any extra liquid (or feel free to drain). Remove the thyme sprigs, taste and adjust salt. Add some pepper if desired. A tiny little splash of red wine vinegar livens them up. Fresh parsley makes a lovely garnish.
The lentils will hold their shape beautifully and be a flavorful companion dish to whatever else you are serving.
Storage & Serving
Leftovers can be frozen for later use, or refrigerated for 5 days, and made into a lentil salad adding fresh veggies and a simple vinaigrette. Or make a lentil soup, or use them as the base of a bowl, or have them for breakfast, warmed on toast, with Sauteed Greens, a poached egg and a herby green sauce like gremolata! YUM. 😉
Keep in the fridge for 5-7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
There are many different types of lentils! French green lentils, or Le Puy lentils, hold their shape better than any other type of lentil. Because of how well they hold their shape, they’re great for adding texture to salads and soups. French lentils are also a bit more nutty and peppery than other lentils, with a subtle earthy flavor.
No. Unlike other beans, lentils do not need to soak before cooking. You should rinse and sift through them though in case there are any stones or other debris in your bag of lentils.
Braising lentils is an important process to infusing them with flavor. We cook them in stock instead of water to add more flavor, and start with a mirepoix base. Wine and herbs add more complexity to the dish too!
Health Benefits of French Green Lentils
- High in Fiber: French green lentils are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and promotes a feeling of fullness, which can support healthy weight management.
- Rich in Plant-Based Protein: Lentils are a great plant-based source of protein. They contain essential amino acids and can be a valuable protein option for vegetarians and vegans.
- Nutrient-Dense: French green lentils are packed with important vitamins and minerals. They are particularly rich in folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6. They also are a good source of vitamin C and calcium. These nutrients support various bodily functions, including red blood cell production, energy metabolism, and heart health.
- Low in Fat: Lentils are naturally low in fat, making them a healthy choice for individuals looking to reduce their saturated fat intake.
- Gluten-Free: French green lentils are naturally gluten-free, making them an excellent alternative for those following a gluten-free diet or individuals with gluten sensitivities.
- Promotes Heart Health: Lentils have been linked to heart health. Their high fiber content and low glycemic index promote improved cholesterol levels, blood pressure regulation, and overall cardiovascular health.
More Favorite Lentil recipes!
Give these braised lentils a try and let us know what you think in the comments below!
Watch how to cook French Lentils! |video
Simple Braised French Lentils – nourishing and comforting and a delicious healthy side dish that pairs well with so many things! Leftovers can be frozen, or repurposed into breakfast or into a salad!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced ( or sub 1 large leek)
- 1 cup diced celery (or fennel bulb)
- 1 cup diced carrot ( or beet!)
- 3–4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 1 1/2 cups dry French Green Lentils (Le Puy, or small black lentils– beluga, caviar, etc. )
- 1/4 cup sherry wine, red wine, white wine, marsala wine (or skip it and add 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar at the end)
- 4 cups veggie or chicken stock ( or water and 1 bouillon cubes)
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard- whole grain or dijon (optional)
- 4–5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 2 bay leaves
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and stir 4-5 minutes, then turn heat down to medium. Cook 4-5 more minutes and add the garlic and lentils. Cook 2 minutes stirring.
Add the wine. Let this cook-off, about 2 minutes.
Pour in the stock, salt, and mustard and stir until combined and bring to a good simmer. Add the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, cover and gently simmer on low heat 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Leftovers can be frozen for later use, or refrigerated and made into a salad the next day- adding fresh veggies and a simple vinaigrette. Or use for breakfast, warmed on toast, with Sauteed Greens, a poached egg and an herby green sauce like gremolata or Leek oil. YUM. 😉
Leftovers can be frozen for later use, or refrigerated and turned into a salad the next day- adding fresh veggies and a simple vinaigrette. Or use for breakfast, warmed on toast, with a poached egg and an herby green sauce like gremolata or Leek oil. YUM. 😉
These French green lentils were quite small- which allows them to cook quickly! Larger lentils may take longer to cook- check at 25, and add more liquid if need be.
- Serving Size: ¾ cup
- Calories: 177
- Sugar: 2.5 g
- Sodium: 613.9 mg
- Fat: 4 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 27.2 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 9.4 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
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