ffwd – french lentils – a basic recipe

French lentils have to be one of the handful of my very favorite recipes in Around My French Table. And one from which I learned the most. I had never been a fan of lentils. I like beans of most varieties, and love split pea soup – but lentils? Then the revelation of these wonderful small greenish-black lentils that Dorie introduced us to. This, along with Marie Helene’s Apple Cake, Hachis Parmentier, My Go-To Beef Daube, and the Roasted Salmon that is served with lentils are a few recipes that I’ve made several times. There are more, but these are a few of the ones that have really stayed with me.


This is simple enough – the lentils are given a quick pre-boil and rinsed, just to make sure the flavors are clean. Then they are added with a number of vegetables and spices and set to simmer. I used the green tops of a celery root that I was going to roast to go with, carrot, bay leaf, garlic and a clove-studded small onion.


This all gets simmered together along with some vegetable (or other) stock for about a half an hour total. Dorie suggests draining them, and reserving the water if they are going to be refrigerated (for re-heating). This would be a particularly good idea if you were using these for a lentil salad. You may also remove the vegetables, finely chop them and add them back in, or discard. I’ve done both – with good results. You may also add a splash of cognac, and even a bit of chopped shallot. Add depending on how you are using yours.


While the lentils were simmering, I made some roasted vegetables. I had some cherry tomatoes that needed to be used, so I stirred them together with a bit of garlic, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Anyone who is familiar with the other cooking group in which I participate (Cottage Cooking Club), might recognize these. And I’ve found that roasted celery root goes well with lentils – so I roasted a few along with some red onions. Other things I like to use are eggplant, multi-colored peppers, carrots, sweet potato and zucchini.


Along with some home-made pesto, this turns into one of my favorite meals. It can be served hot, or room temperature (my typical), and is a perfect desk lunch at work – easily assembled to go, but can sit at your desk until it’s time to enjoy. I had something like this when I was in Texas a couple of years ago, and have been making it ever since. Infinitely variable, based on what’s fresh and available, and quite healthy too.


11 thoughts on “ffwd – french lentils – a basic recipe

  1. Oh, my gosh, I’d love these lentils with roasted veggies and pesto. Brilliant combination. I’m so bummed that we’ll nearly cross paths AGAIN! I’m hoping we’ll get a Dorista gathering scheduled once we’re done with AMFT. Good luck with your new job!!! xo

    1. Aw, thanks!!! I wish I’d been more proactive. I could have stayed over!!! Totally agree. Unfortunately for people like me, it will need to be made very obvious!!! I seem to miss a lot. :(.

      Sent from my iPhone


  2. Hey, Candy, this is one fantastic post. First, MH’s apple cake is my all-time favorite recipe. With Fall coming on strong here in the mountains, I intend to begin making it again. Your other favorites are mine also but I just haven’tmade them again. It seems I am scrambling so much to just keep up with the recipes I am scheduled to make that I don’t return to old ones. I can only eat so much!!! I love the CCC recipes but this has been a busy summer so I have been slow on the starter button. Am trying to rectify that failing. Your Post this week is wonderful and thanks for the enthusiastic thumbs up to lentils. Me too but I don’t have a great variety of ways to serve them yet.

  3. That apple cake is a favorite of mine as well. It has become a staple on my Thanksgiving table and I think that some of my German guests assume that it is an American tradition as opposed to just a Dorista tradition:-)

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