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Green lentil soup on a serving table with Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley.


  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 50 Minutes
  • Yield: 5 Servings 1x


This rustic French lentil soup is healthy and nourishing. It’s packed with hearty textures and rich savory flavors. If you can chop and sauté, you can make this delicious easy recipe.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 leek, chopped (white part only)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups celery
  • 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 1/8 cups (about 1/2 pound) French lentils
  • 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard made with white wine
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

OPTIONAL: 2 tablespoons tomato paste to flavor and thicken.

GARNISHES: Olive oil and freshly-grated Parmesan cheese


RECIPE PREP: Dice veggies by hand, or use a food processor to speed things up. Add lentils to a large bowl. Cover with super-hot boiling water. Let them sit and soften while you start the recipe. This will help them cook faster.

  1. Form the aromatic flavor base. Add olive oil and butter to a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once butter has melted, sauté onions, shallots, leeks, and garlic with cumin, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir frequently until veggies are translucent and tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add carrots and celery to the pot. Sauté 10 minutes. Add chicken stock. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release any brown bits. Drain lentils in a colander. Transfer them to the pot. Add tomato paste (if using), dijon mustard and bay leaf. Stir briefly.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and remove the lid. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour or until lentils are tender and soup has thickened. 
  4. Remove bay leaf. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add wine vinegar. It enhances the flavor and brightens the finished dish. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.


HOW TO MAKE THIS A VEGETARIAN RECIPE: Replace butter with olive oil. Rather than chicken stock, use vegetable stock. Rather than Parmesan cheese, garnish the soup with chopped Italian parsley or cilantro.

HOW TO INCREASE THE DEPTH OF FLAVOR? Add a rind of Parmesan cheese mid-way through the cooking process. Or try some miso paste for an awesome umami boost. More add-ins include cooked crispy bacon, bits of delicious pan-fried ham, or baked chicken meatballs. For an earthy musky flavor, add a sprinkling of turmeric.

  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: French Lentil Soup, Green Lentil Soup, Lentil Vegetable Soup, Lentil Soup