Flavorful & Filling French Lentil Soup Recipe – Bon Appétit

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“Experience rustic French cuisine at its finest with our French Lentil Soup recipe, a robust and flavorful blend of earthy lentils, fresh vegetables, and aromatic herbs. Each spoonful offers a hearty embrace of nutrition and taste, with the lentils providing a satisfying bite and the broth delivering a symphony of flavors. Infused with a touch of red wine and a sprinkle of thyme, this soup is a culinary journey to the French countryside. Dive in and let the rich, wholesome goodness of French Lentil Soup warm your soul and delight your palate.”

Step into a heartwarming culinary journey that brings Paris right to your kitchen. Discover the charm of authentic french lentil soup recipe, a rustic yet sophisticated symphony of flavors.

Soup Lover

Let your senses revel in this blend of nutritious lentils, aromatic herbs, and fresh vegetables simmered to perfection. Experience the warmth of this timeless dish, reminiscing the quintessential French bistros. Comfort in a bowl, this soup whispers tales of ancestral French cooking. 

A pleasure to prepare, a joy to share, it epitomizes wholesome goodness. Savor every spoonful; let it speak the language of love and nourishment. Bon Appétit!

What Is The French Lentil Soup Recipe?

The French Lentil Soup is a hearty dish made with green lentils, a medley of vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery, and beautifully flavored with garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. The ingredients are sautéed, then simmered with broth until the lentils are tender. 

Sometimes, a splash of red wine vinegar is added at the end for a tangy twist. It’s traditionally served with a warm baguette on the side. Simple yet luxurious, this soup is a testament to the elegance and depth of French cuisine.

French Lentil Soup

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?

French Lentil Soup is incredibly adaptable and can be varied to suit a range of dietary needs:

  • Keto: While traditional French Lentil Soup is not keto-friendly due to lentils’ high carb content, you could replace lentils with more keto-friendly ingredients like mushrooms or low-carb veggies and add in some high-fat content ingredients like heavy cream or cheese.
  • Paleo: To make this recipe paleo, you would again have to exclude lentils (as legumes aren’t paleo-friendly) and substitute them with various vegetables or diced sweet potatoes and perhaps some meat like chicken or turkey.
  • Gluten-Free: The traditional French Lentil Soup is naturally gluten-free, provided the broth is also gluten-free. Always check the labels on store-bought broth.
  • Whole30: This recipe can be made Whole30 compatible by ensuring all ingredients, including the broth, are free from non-compliant ingredients such as sugars, MSG, sulfites, and carrageenan.
  • Vegetarian and Vegan: The basic recipe is naturally vegetarian. To make it vegan, ensure to use a vegan-friendly broth. You could add a dash of nutritional yeast at the end to give it a cheesy flavor without any dairy.
French Lentil Soup

Recipe Directions 

  • In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over heat (medium).
  • Add the carrots,  onion, and celery to the pot. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and start to develop a golden color.
  • Add the dried thyme, minced garlic,and bay leaf to the pot. Stir well to combine the flavors. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, followed by the French green lentils and diced tomatoes. Stir everything together to ensure even distribution of ingredients.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot partially with a lid, and let it cook for 30-40 minutes. This will allow the lentils to become tender and absorb the flavors from the other ingredients.
  • Occasionally stir the soup during the cooking process to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • After the lentils have cooked to your desired tenderness, remove the bay leaf from the pot. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper according to your preference. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  • Ladle the hot soup into serving bowls. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley, which adds a refreshing flavor and a vibrant touch to the dish.
  • Serve the ratatouille soup hot, and enjoy its comforting and nourishing flavors. It pairs well with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete meal.

Variations And Add-Ons

Variations with Proteins

  • Meat: Add diced bacon, sausage, or smoked salmon to the soup for extra protein and flavor.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan: Add cubed tofu or a handful of cooked chickpeas or beans for a protein boost.

Additional Vegetables

  • Add vegetables like zucchini, spinach, kale, bell peppers, or diced sweet potatoes.

Different Herbs and Spices

  • Experiment with other herbs such as rosemary, parsley, or tarragon. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat.

Dairy and Dairy Alternatives

  • To make it creamier, stir in a dollop of cream or crème fraîche before serving. Vegan alternatives could be coconut milk or almond cream.

Toppings and Garnishes

  • Top the soup with grated Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, or croutons for a delightful crunch.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions, chives, or fresh dill for added freshness.
French Lentil Soup

Can I Make Soup Name In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

French Lentil Soup can easily be adapted to a slow cooker and an Instant Pot.

Slow Cooker

  • In a pan over the stove, follow the initial steps of sautéing the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. This step is important for developing flavor.
  • Transfer the sautéed vegetables to your slow cooker, then add the lentils, diced tomatoes, and broth.
  • Cover and cook on low for about 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until the lentils are tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish before serving as usual.

Instant Pot

  • Using the ‘sauté’ function, sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf directly in the Instant Pot until the vegetables are softened.
  • Add the lentils, diced tomatoes, and broth, then secure the lid.
  • Set the Instant Pot to manual, high pressure for about 15 minutes. Once the cooking time is up, allow it to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes, then quickly release the remaining pressure.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish before serving.
French Lentil Soup

Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

You can certainly use store-bought broth for your French Lentil Soup. It’s a great time-saver, and many high-quality options are available. When choosing a store-bought broth, look for low-sodium versions to control the amount of salt in your soup.

However, if you have the time and resources, homemade broth can enhance the flavor of your soup. It allows you to control the ingredients and flavor profile and is a great way to use vegetable scraps or leftover bones. Homemade broth can be made in large quantities and frozen in smaller portions for later use.

French Lentil Soup

How To Serve ?

Serving French Lentil Soup can be as simple or elaborate as possible. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Bread on the Side: Serve your soup with crusty bread or a warm baguette to soak up the delicious broth. If you’re fancy, garlic bread or a cheesy toast can be a decadent addition.
  • Garnish: Remember the garnish! A sprinkle of fresh parsley adds a pop of color and new flavor. You could also top it with a drizzle of good-quality olive oil or a sprinkle of grated cheese like Parmesan.
  • Side Salad: A light, refreshing salad can balance out the hearty, earthy flavors of the lentil soup. A simple green salad with a tangy vinaigrette would work perfectly.
  • In a Soup Bowl or Bread Bowl: Traditional soup bowls work great, but consider a bread bowl for a fun and edible serving dish.
  • Pairings: If the soup is served as a starter or part of a larger meal, consider pairing it with a roasted chicken or fish dish.
  • Wine: If you enjoy wine, a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a light red like Pinot Noir could pair beautifully with French Lentil Soup.
French Lentil Soup

Perfect Side Dishes

  • Crusty Bread or Baguette: There’s nothing like a piece of warm, crusty bread to soak up the delicious flavors of the soup. A French baguette would be a traditional choice.
  • Cheese Board: A selection of cheeses, some olives, and some charcuterie would pair well with the flavors in the soup and offer a variety of textures.
  • Green Salad: A light and refreshing salad can provide a crisp contrast to the hearty soup. Try mixed greens with a sharp vinaigrette to balance out the earthy flavors of the soup.
  • Roasted Vegetables: If you’re looking for a heartier accompaniment, roasted vegetables such as brussels sprouts, carrots, or parsnips can complement the soup well.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: For a comforting, cozy meal, pair the lentil soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. Choose a strong cheese like sharp cheddar or gruyere to stand up to the robust flavors of the soup.
  • Quiche or Frittata: A slice of quiche or frittata can make the meal more substantial and provide a nice contrast of textures.
  • Roasted Chicken or Fish: A main course of roasted chicken or baked fish can follow if the soup is served as a starter.
French Lentil Soup

Storage And Make Ahead

  • Make Ahead: French lentil soup is an excellent candidate for preparing in advance. The flavors deepen and meld when the soup is allowed to rest, making it even more delicious the next day. You can cook the soup completely and then cool it before storing it in the refrigerator.
  • Storing: Store the cooled soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This soup also freezes well; portion it into freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or gently reheat from frozen, adding a little water if necessary to adjust consistency.
  • Reheating: Warm the soup over low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally. If the soup has thickened upon storage, you can thin it with a bit of water or additional broth to achieve your desired consistency.
French Lentil Soup

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

Leftover French Lentil Soup can be more versatile than you might think! Here are a few creative ways to repurpose your leftovers:

  • Grain Bowls: Add some cooked quinoa or rice to a bowl, top with warmed soup, and add a dollop of yogurt or a sprinkle of cheese for a hearty grain bowl.
  • Pasta Sauce: Thicken the soup by simmering it down, then toss it with pasta for a unique lentil pasta sauce. Add some grated Parmesan for extra flavor.
  • Stuffed Vegetables: Hollow out bell peppers or zucchini and fill with the lentil soup, then bake until the vegetables are tender.
  • Lentil Tacos: Heat the soup until it thickens, then use it as a protein-packed filling for tacos or burritos.
  • Lentil Shepherd’s Pie: Use the soup as a hearty filling for a comforting Shepherd’s Pie, topped with a layer of mashed potatoes.


  • Rinse Lentils First: Before cooking, thoroughly rinse your French lentils to remove any debris and dirt, ensuring a clean taste.
  • Sauté Vegetables Until Golden: Take the time to sauté your onions, carrots, and celery until they are golden brown. This caramelization adds depth and richness to the soup’s flavor.
  • Use Fresh Herbs: Incorporate fresh thyme and bay leaves for the most aromatic flavor. Fresh herbs significantly enhance the soup compared to dried ones.
  • Simmer Gently: Cook the lentils on a low simmer to prevent them from becoming mushy and to ensure they cook evenly.
  • Adjust Consistency: Depending on your preference for a thicker or brothier soup, adjust the liquid accordingly. You can add more water or broth if the soup is too thick or let it simmer longer uncovered to reduce and thicken.
Flavorful & Filling French Lentil Soup Recipe - Bon Appétit

Flavorful & Filling French Lentil Soup Recipe – Bon Appétit

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Course: Soups u0026amp; Broths


Prep time


Cooking time





French Lentil Soup is a wholesome, hearty soup known for its deep, earthy flavors. The soup has nutritious French green lentils, aromatic vegetables, and a medley of herbs and spices.


  • 2 tablespoons 2 Olive Oil

  • 1 1 Onion (Diced)

  • 3 3 Carrots (Diced)

  • 3 stalks 3 Celery (Diced)

  • 3 cloves 3 Garlic (Minced)

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Dried Thyme

  • 1 1 Bay Leaf

  • 6 cups 6 Chicken Or Vegetable Broth

  • 2 cups 2 French Green Lentils

  • 14.5 ounce 14.5 Diced Tomatoes

  • Salt And Pepper (To Taste)

  • Fresh Parsley (Chopped) (For Garnish)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation
    Dice your onions, carrots, and celery. Mince your garlic. Measure out your lentils, broth, and tomatoes.
  • Cooking
    Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions,and celery. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are softened.
    Add the dried thyme, minced garlic, and bay leaf. Stir to combine and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the mixture becomes fragrant.
    Add chicken or vegetable broth, French green lentils, and diced tomatoes to the pot. Stir everything together.
    Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the lentils are tender, and the flavors have combined nicely.
  • Seasoning And Final Touches
    Add salt and pepper to taste. A splash of red wine vinegar can be added for a little tanginess.
    Serving: Serve the soup hot. Garnish each bowl with chopped fresh parsley for a fresh, vibrant touch.
  • Large Pot Or Dutch Oven
  • Knife And Cutting Board
  • Wooden Spoon Or Spatula
  • Measuring Cups And Spoons
  • Blender Or Immersion Blender
  • Ladle


  • The consistency of the soup can be adjusted according to preference. For a thicker soup, simmer it longer; add more broth or water for a thinner consistency.
  • If you can’t find French green lentils, you can substitute other ones, but remember that the texture and flavor may vary.
  • For a creamier texture, blend a portion of the soup and mix it back in. An immersion blender can be handy for this.
  • Soup flavors often deepen over time, making this an excellent option for make-ahead meals.
  • Always taste and adjust the seasonings just before serving. Even a squeeze of fresh lemon juice can brighten up the flavors.
  • Enjoy this French Lentil Soup with a side of crusty bread or a fresh salad for a complete, balanced meal.

Nutrition Table

nutrition table

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