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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. With a Video.
Here’s a simple recipe for Braised French Lentils that comes in so handy this time of year! I don’t know about you, but this week has been all about comfort food. And as odd as it may sound to some, lentils are my comfort food.
It hasn’t always been this way, I remember growing up, vowing to never eat another lentil again, my Egyptian dad cooked them way too often- because they were inexpensive and filling. But strangely, now I crave them, especially when times feel unsettling. They feel so grounding! (For more lentil recipes be sure to look at Our 25 BEST Lentil Recipes!)
This lentil side dish pairs well with so many things. Serve with Roasted Salmon or Simple Baked Chicken or Baked Tofu. These Portobello Mushrooms would also pair nicely.
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 the addition of fresh veggies and a red wine vinaigrette. Or warm the lentils up for brunch, serve over a piece of sourdough bread with Sauteed Greens and a poached egg and gremolata or leek oil. Or freeze them for later use!
Simple Braised French Lentils | 60-sec video
What type of lentil to use
Here we’re using French Green Lentils (also called Le Puy Lentils), but any small lentil, like black lentils or beluga lentils will work well here too.
How to braise lentils
For this recipe, you’ll need 1 1/2 cups of 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: Saute the onions, celery and carrots for 7-8 minutes.
Step 3: Add the garlic and lentils and saute 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.
Step 5: Add the stock and aromatics- bay leaves and sprigs of thyme.
Step 6: Then simmer gently, covered over low heat for 25-30 minutes.
The lentils will hold their shape beautifully, and be a flavorful companion dish to whatever else you are serving.
Other recipes you may like:
- 25 Vegan & Vegetarian Side Dishes
- Moroccan Lentil Salad
- Our 25 BEST Lentil Recipes!
- Moroccan Lentil Quinoa Soup
- Healing Lentil Beet Soup
- Vegan Lentil Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
Give these braised lentils a try and let us know what you serve it with, in the comments below!
Simple Braised French Lentils
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 1x
- Category: legumes, side dish
- Method: braised, stovetop
- Cuisine: French
- Diet: Vegan
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.
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. A tiny little splash of red wine vinegar livens them up.
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.
I love the flavor of Sherry wine here- yes, it is kind of “old-school” but it adds a tasty complexity and subtle sweetness. Do not confuse this up with Sherry vinegar. 😉
- 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
Keywords: vegan lentils, French lentils, braised lentils, French lentil recipe, how to cook lentils, braised French lentils, lentil recipes,
My favorite lentil recipe! This with a simple arugula salad is a perfect meal. And bonus, the house smells so good when this is cooking.
So comforting aren’t they! Glad you are enjoying Heather.
My sister made this for a birthday dinner this weekend. It was the crowd favorite!
Great to hear Heather! Thanks so much!
I love French lentils and liked this recipe for not using tomatoes. I skipped the celery, used up some beet tops, added some paprika and finished with a little vinegar. Sometimes I will serve with lime wedge. My husband and I have been eating this for two days in various ways and it’s a winner. Thanks!
So happy you enjoyed it Mishi!
I have been making this dish for few years now and if you like lentils you will LOVE this dish!
I’ve been cooking French lentils for decades. Your suggestions of adding fennel & sherry changed the flavor deliciously! I added sliced burdock root, which married beautifully with those flavors & made this super healthy dish even healthier. Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to exploring your other recipes.
Thanks so much Stephanie- glad you enjoyed these!
This is my favourite simple lentil recipe. I use two cups of lentils which gives eight portions. They are always in the freezer ready for a simple post work bolognese or cottage pie! Cheaper, healthier and much tastier than buying the ready made versions.
Really great flavor and easy to pull together. Enjoying a warm bowl of them as I write this!
So happy you are enjoying Lisa!
Love this recipe. Turned out great. I have made it several times.
This time I omitted the salt and added chopped ham. Yummy
Glad you enjoyed this Penny!
Hi Sylvia…your recipes are my go-to! Always reliable, healthy and delicious. Your Simple Braised French Lentils are a mainstay. My husband, who has had to go vegan for health reasons, says they are his favorite! I make these lentils pretty much exactly as written. Fabulous! And freeze well also. Thank you so much!
Hi Sylvia, from a fellow half-Egyptian! I love your recipes! Can you let us know what kind of salt you use? I know some salts are more intense than others, might help me to calibrate 🙂
Hi Savannah- I used to use kosher salt, but about 5 years ago I switched to Real Salt- it’s a high-mineral salt that is finer than kosher salt. I have linked it throughout the blog. 😉
Hi Sylvia, I love your recipes! Can you let us know what kind of salt you use? I know some salts are more concentrated than others, so might help me calibrate 😉
I used to use kosher salt, but about 5 years ago I switched to Real Salt- it’s a high-mineral salt that is finer than kosher salt. I have linked it throughout the blog. 😉
I read somewhere that adding salt to lentils while cooking would prevent the lentils from ever softening. Have you heard this or experienced this?
I have heard this a lot too, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. I always salt my lentils, but do as you like Claudia!
Delicious and versatile. I love it with a dollop of hummus and a slab of buttered sourdough bread. I wanted more, so I increased to 2 cups of French green lentils and used the recipe to estimate proportions of water and other ingredients.
I just returned from Le Puy, France and fell in love with the lentils that are everywhere. So, in trying to recreate them at home, I found your recipe. It’s delicious! I love it – and will remember France when I make these. thanks!
thanks, Nancy! Love that you have a happy memory that will surround these.
Delicious! I followed directions exactly. There ended up being too much liquid but I drained, as suggested and saved the extra liquid as soup/broth….what flavor! Thank you for this amazing recipe.
I have made this a few times and absolutely love it. Like one other reviewer, I found I need to reduce the liquid, and I use the French green lentils. I typically make it with fennel and red wine, but am trying it with celery since I have a large bag. It is hard to stop eating this…even though I should sometimes : )
thanks so much!
Have made this recipe many times. It is a favourite. Serve it with marinated deboned leg of lamb.
Sounds perfect Madeleine!
This recipe was almost obnoxiously perfect (and found the salt amount perfect as written, although that can depend on the stock you’re using and is definitely a matter of taste; always easier to add than to remove, but a trick for the salt-averse who overdid it: pop a potato in there, and that will sponge some of that salt out).
I admit to being unfairly prejudiced against lentils and tend to go into cooking with them with low expectations, but have found a few recipes now starring them that have proven me wrong and become favorites; this is another one (with your gremolata recipe as suggested, and going to try your sautéed greens recipe with the leftovers next). Thank you!
Thanks so much! Love the potato tip- do you add raw?
Yes, just raw and peeled! Discovered that tip when I overdid salting a soup; using a little osmosis made it salvageable (and not a chore to eat).
That is such a great tip! I will try it!
I found it far too salty
Oh shoot- sorry about that.
These were delicious. I questioned the conversion for the 4 cup stock (1L in UK). Thought it would be way too much so I simmered without covering for the whole time and still has to cook for half an hour over the suggested time. Next time
I’ll reduce the stock by 50% but otherwise a great recipe! Thanks!
Hi David, what type of lentils did you use?
Great recipe. Made it without oil. Very fragrant!!
Happy you enjoyed this Rick!
I make this recipe often and crave it. One of my very favorites. I really love this as a side, especially with Salmon or chicken, and like it for breakfast as you mentioned as well.
Great to hear Frances!