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French lentils hold their shape when cooked, making them perfect for salads and side dishes. Here’s a basic recipe for how to cook them!

French lentils
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Lentils are some of the world’s most nutrient dense, healthy, and inexpensive foods. So why not eat more of them? Here at A Couple Cooks, we’ve got a huge number of lentil recipes using lentils of all varieties. We cook lentils on the stovetop, and in the lentils in the Instant Pot. We love black, red, yellow and green lentils. But one of our very favorite varieties to cook with is French lentils. Why? Keep reading.

What are French lentils?

French lentils, also known as French green lentils, are very different from the standard green, brown or red variety you’ll find in the store. Here are the key differences:

  • They’re smaller. French lentils are small and dark greenish gray. They’re about ⅓ the size of normal lentils.
  • French lentils hold their shape when cooked. This makes them work well in salads, side dishes, and soups where you want them to hold together. Other lentil types, especially red lentils, turn into a sort of mush when cooked. (See Masoor Dal as an example!)
  • The flavor is peppery and earthy. The flavor of French lentils is a different from other lentils: it’s a little stronger and more earthy.

You should be able to find French lentils at your local grocery store next to the other varieties. Not all grocery stores carry them, so you’ll have to survey your local options. (We have a handful of stores near us we know carry them!) If you can’t find them, you can buy them online.

Uncooked French lentils

Are Puy lentils the same?

Yes! French lentils are packaged under the names Puy lentils, du Puy lentils, lentilles du Puy, or French green lentils. (Don’t confuse that with just “green lentils,” which are entirely different!)

Puy lentils are French lentils that were grown in the Puy region in central France. This region has volcanic soil, so you might notice a slight flavor difference where this variety is more peppery. However, the flavor differences are so subtle that the two are interchangeable.

French lentils

How to cook French lentils

Cooking French lentils is very easy: all you need is a saucepan and 20 minutes! Here’s all you need to know (or go right to the recipe):

  • Add the lentils and liquid to a saucepan. Use the ratio of 3 parts liquid to 1 part lentils (6 cups liquid to 2 cups lentils). You can use vegetable broth, water or a mix of the two.
  • Bring to a simmer, then simmer 15 to 20 minutes until tender. At around 15 minutes, taste and assess doneness. Keep cooking until the lentils are tender.
  • Drain. Drain the excess liquid. Taste and add additional seasonings if desired. Keep reading for more on that…
French lentils

How to serve them! French lentils recipes

Once you’re done cooking them, what next? Here are recipes that highlight this unique variety of legumes:

French lentil salad

Lentils nutrition

French lentils are not only tasty: they’re full of nutrition benefits! Here are a few of the major benefits of lentils:

  • Protein & Fiber: Lentils are a good source of plant-based protein. 1 cup of cooked lentils has about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. (Source)
  • Low in Fat & Calories: Lentils have virtually no saturated fat and are low in calories.
  • Protect Against Heart Disease: Lentils are rich in polyphenols, micronutrients thought to help protect against cardiovascular disease. (Source)
French lentils

This French lentils recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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French lentils

Easy French Lentils

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


French lentils hold their shape when cooked, making them perfect for salads and side dishes. Here’s a basic recipe for how to cook them!


  • 1 pound (2 ¼ cups) French lentils, also called Puy lentils
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried mediterranean herbs, such as thyme, tarragon, or sage
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


  1. In a large saucepan, bring all ingredients to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until tender (taste to assess doneness).
  2. Drain the excess liquid. Taste and if serving as is, season with additional salt and pepper (and maybe a drizzle of olive oil). To make a tasty side, add chopped fresh herbs or a little minced garlic. Or, use in salad recipes like our French lentil salad.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Legumes

More lentils resources

We’ve got lots more on lentils! Here are a few of our resources for cooking with this whole food plant based (WFPB) food:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Gillian says:

    While some use these terms interchangeably with French lentils, Puy lentils, or lentilles du Puy, are a lentil variety from a specific area of France. Grown in volcanic soil, the resulting Puy lentils have an even more peppery taste with a hint of earthy flavor. French lentils not labeled “Puy” have simply been grown elsewhere, likely in another part of Europe or North America.

  2. Mizz P says:

    Perfect! Nice and basic and now I can add them to salads!

  3. Erin says:

    Do I need to soak the lentils prior to cooking?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Not for this recipe!