This rustic French lentils recipe is a warming, hearty dish that perfectly accompanies any meat or fish dish. This French green lentils recipe uses some traditional French herbs and seasonings, bringing the flavors of the Mediterranean right to your table.
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Mediterranean | French cuisine | Cooks In 1 Hour | Vegetarian | Vegan
French Farmhouse Cooking
I spent three years living just 45 minutes from the French border when I was living in Spain. We lived in Catalan, which has a beautiful cuisine all of its own. However, a lot of their food is influenced by the French.
During our time in Spain, due to the proximity, we often traveled through the South of France, which is when I realized the similarities of some of the food eaten across the border. In fact, I noticed that many Spanish dishes I was cooking at home had a lot in common with the food we were eating in France, especially with lentil-based dishes.
This French green lentils recipe is one dish in particular: no matter where I am when I make it, I am taken straight back to the French countryside, and it has me reminiscing about sitting amongst the lavender trees with a sparkling glass of French wine.
Eating French cuisine inspired me to start introducing some of their recipes to my own cooking once I returned home, and one of the dishes that made it to our weekly meals was this French lentils recipe.
Cooking a lot of recipes with French lentils involves adding Herbs de Provence to the cooking water, which is what brings the flavors of France to any grilled meat or fish.
Check out some of our other lentil recipes, including a Flavorful Moroccan Lentil Tagine With Carrots And Cauliflower.
What Are French Green Lentils?
French lentils are typically green lentils that are slightly smaller than others you might have used before; they are also slightly darker in color.
French green lentils bring a great deal of nutrition to any meal because they are packed full of protein, iron, and other vitamins.
Lentils don’t require any complicated cooking, though some of them do take a little longer to cook than others, and they bring a real earthy and nutty flavor to any dish.
French lentil dishes are great to serve at any dinner party because they’re filling and make a great one-pot meal that you can prepare in advance. They also make great side dishes for any main course.
Personally, I prefer using French green lentils because they hold their shape well when cooked, whereas other varieties tend to go a little mushy. Some people like this, but for me, the plump, firm lentil works best for this dish.
French Style Lentils – Ingredients
This recipe for French lentils is a simplistic dish that uses some traditional Mediterranean ingredients, such as good-quality olive oil and fresh vegetables.
When you think of French cooking, you might automatically think of heavy cream and lots of butter. While this might be the case for some dishes, not all French meals are cooked this way. In fact, some of them are incredibly nutritious and low-calorie.
The base of flavor for this green lentil recipe comes from shallots, garlic, celery, carrot, and Herbs de Provence.
The good thing about this dish is that there is no need to pre-soak the lentils in advance. This is because they are technically soaked during the cooking process, where they will also soak up all the flavors of the broth. You can use chicken or vegetable broth for this dish, depending on whether or not you want it to be vegan.
Season and Spice
The seasoning for this dish mainly comes from the Herbs de Provence, a pre-mixed herb consisting of thyme, rosemary, Oregano, and marjoram, so you can make this yourself if you can’t get your hands on the pre-mix.
Handy Tip: Seasoning your meat or fish with the Herbs de Provence works well to compliment the lentils.
Preparing Your Green Lentils
As I mentioned earlier, one of the great things about this green lentil recipe is that there is no need to soak your lentils in advance. A good thing to do is give them a good rinse under cold water before cooking green lentils. Just be careful that your colander doesn’t have holes big enough for your lentils to fall through.
How To Cook Green Lentils
I know many people find the thought of French cooking at home quite daunting, but it’s not nearly as complicated as you might think.
A couple of things you need to ensure the authentic French flavor is good-quality olive oil, garlic, and shallots.
Begin by warming your oil in a medium-sized saucepan or a dutch oven over medium to high heat. Then add in diced or crushed garlic and sliced shallots. Cook until the shallots and garlic start to soften but not color (around 3-5 minutes).
Adding The Broth And Veggies
Once the garlic and onion are soft, add in your diced carrots and celery and sweat until they have begun to soften. This should take another 3-5 minutes.
Next, add your broth, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Be sure to keep in mind how many bay leaves you’ve added so that you can remove them all before serving.
How to Cook Green Lentils
Now it’s time to add in the lentils and your herbs. Once this is done, turn up the heat and bring the whole pot to a boil before reducing it to a simmer. Allow this to cook for about 30 minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent your lentils from catching on the bottom of the pan.
After half an hour, check your lentils for seasoning. You might want to add more salt or pepper at this stage.
Check how far along your lentils are at this stage, too. They should be almost there by now. You want them to be somewhere between soft and firm, and if they’re not quite there yet, they might need another 5-10 minutes.
Also, keep an eye on your lentils drying out. This should be quite a wet dish, so if you notice the liquid has almost gone, add a bit of water. You will want to adjust the seasoning if you do this.
Once your lentils are perfectly cooked, divide them between bowls and garnish with some fresh parsley leaves.
French Style Lentils Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced or minced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced on an angle
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed in cool water
- 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh, diced parsley
- Rinse the lentils in cool water and drain.
- Warm olive oil in a small dutch oven or medium-sized saucepan.
- Once warm, add garlic and shallot. Cook until coated in olive oil and the shallots start to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add carrot and celery. Cook until they start to soften and sweat, but not until fully cooked about 3-5 minutes.
- Add vegetable broth, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and drained lentils.
- Add Herbs de Provence and stir.
- Bring to a slight boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- At 30 minutes stir and taste for the softness of the lentils and adjust any seasoning. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes until the lentils are firm but not crunchy nor soft.
- Just before serving, stir in fresh parsley.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 148Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 443mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 6gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
FAQs – Country French Style Lentils Recipe
Many chefs and home cooks consider French lentils to be the best. It’s said their texture is thicker compared to other lentils. This allows them to hold their shape better, allowing them to be used in soups and stews. However, because of their thick outer skin, French lentils require longer cooking times.
At their most basic, French lentils are a variety of green lentils. They have a darker color and smaller size compared to other lentils. French lentils are eaten in salads, soups, and on their own as a side dish with some sort of meat or fish.