What Are French Lentils?

Here’s what the difference is: regular brown or green lentils—very nice.  Fairly soft, nicely earthy, take well to various flavors, make lovely soups and salads.  All good, nothing to be apologetic for at all.

How to Cook French Lentils

But French lentils—something better.  They are sometimes labeled Puy lentils, as they are AOC protected, from the Le Puy region of France, and They are usually greenish, sometimes a bit brown. They are grown in volcanic soil that gives them a slightly minerally, nutty, peppery taste—less sort of generally “earthy” (or, pardon me, maybe muddy?) than regular lentils. 

They are smaller than regular lentils, and have more of a flying saucer shape, and they hold that shape and a firmer texture better in the cooking.  French lentils just look cute as a button… actually like lots of cute little buttons.

Where to Buy French Lentils

Many good supermarkets have an impressive variety of specialty food products these days.  And because dried lentils have such a long shelf life, you can stock up easily. 

How to Cook French Lentils

And while I never ever want to be part of the growing trend of skipping those lovely brick and mortar stores … and while there is terrific pleasure in in-person shopping in general, and certainly for gorgeous food items…. that little thing called online shopping is mighty helpful.

How to Cook French Lentils: How to get tender, toothsome lentils every time – perfect for soups, salads, stews, and sides.

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How to Cook Lentils

2 cups of dried lentils will make about 4 cups of cooked lentils. You can double or even triple the amount, but make sure your pot is large enough, and you keep the water level above the beans.

Rinse them in a strainer and make sure there are no little bits of anything other than beans in the mix.

How to Cook French Lentils

Place them in a pot and add water to cover by about 4 inches. If you like you can add a couple of sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf.

How to Cook French Lentils

Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium, add a teaspoon or so of salt, and keep them at a simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Taste often towards the end and take them out just when they are done to your liking, so they don’t overcook.

Drain and use immediately, or cool quickly by spreading them out on a rimmed baking sheet.

How to Cook French Lentils

How Long Do French Lentils Need to Cook?

Most lentils become tender in about 20 to 25 minutes, after the cooking liquid has come to a simmer.

Recipes with Lentils:

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How to Cook French Lentils

How to get tender, toothsome lentils every time — perfect for soups, salads, stews, and sides.
Yield: 6 people
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried French or Italian lentils

Directions

  • Rinse the lentils in a strainer and make sure there are no little bits of anything other than beans in the mix.
  • Place them in a medium pot and add water to cover by about 4 inches. If you like you can add a couple of sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf.
  • Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium, add a teaspoon or so of salt, and keep them at a simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Taste often towards the end and take them out just when they are done to your liking, so they don’t overcook. Drain and use immediately, or spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool if you plan to use them in a salad or other cool preparation.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 5mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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Posted Jun 29, 2022

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