This French lentil soup is full of earthy flavour and fragrant fresh herbs. Perfect for fall, this comforting vegetarian soup is quick and easy to make from mostly pantry ingredients.
I truly believe that the best thing about fall is all the soup. At least once a week I'll have a pot of something going on the stove either for dinner or to pack away in the freezer for easy hot lunches - they are always a family favourite.
Vegetarian soups like this French lentil soup are some of my absolute favourites - lentils are one of my favourite plant based proteins. If you love lentils too make sure to also check out my Moroccan red lentil soup.
Fresh herbs are the key ingredient to a flavourful base in this soup, so don't skip out on those.
This soup comes together pretty quickly, aside from dicing and sauteeing some vegetables, you just throw everything in the pot and let it simmer away for 30 minutes until the lentils are cooked and you are ready to go.
I use puy lentils (French lentils) in this soup - they have a bit of a firmer texture than green lentils but other than that they are pretty similar and if you can't find them you can go ahead and just substitute for green lentils.
How to make French lentil soup
Heat a large soup pot over medium low heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is heated add the carrot, onion and celery and saute for a minute or two before adding the garlic, rosemary and thyme. I just throw in the full sprigs and remove the stems at the end. Season everything with sea salt and pepper and allow the veggies to cook until the herbs are fragrant in the air.
Add the puy lentils and stock to the pot then bring the pot to a boil. Cover and reduce to a low simmer then allow the lentils to cook for 30 minutes or until they are tender.
When the lentils are cooked, remove the stems from the herbs and the bay leaves from the pot before serving.
I love the firmer texture of the puy lentils in this soup, but if you can't find them green lentils are a great substitute.
To add some extra veggies, stir in a couple of handfuls of chopped baby spinach or kale once the soup has cooked.
This soup will hold up well in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container. Try making a double batch!
If you don't want this soup to be strictly vegetarian, adding some chopped bacon to the pot before sauteeing the veggies adds a nice level of flavour.
This recipe for French lentil soup is suitable for the following diets:
- gluten free, dairy free, and allergy friendly
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French lentil soup
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion - finely diced
- 1 large carrot - diced
- 2 ribs celery - chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - crushed
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1-2 bay leafs
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 cup dry French green lentils (puy lentils)
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- sea salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium low heat then add the onions, celery and carrot and season with sea salt and pepper. Saute for a minute or 2.
- Add the rosemary, bay leaves, thyme and garlic to the pot and sautee with the vegetables for 5-7 minutes - basically until you can smell the fragrance of the herbs in the air.
- Add the puy lentils and the stock to the pot.
- Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook the lentils for 30 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves and the stems from the rosemary and thyme before serving.
* nutritional information is calculated by online tools and may not be 100% accurate.
michele h peterson says
Thanks for this delicious sounding recipe and the tip on using French green lentils (puy lentils). I've always used red lentils and they've been rather mushy so this sounds like the perfect solution.
You're welcome! And yes, red lentils are quite mushy - French lentils hold their shape MUCH better 🙂
Pat Melanson says
I’ve already made this three times, we love it! My daughter is gluten intolerant and vegetarian, she can’t get enough of it! Thanks so much for your recipe!
Raia Todd says
This looks absolutely delicious. I love lentils and finding new ways to add them into my meal plans. Thanks!
Thank you Raia! Lentils are well loved over here too 🙂
Great recipe, I made this tonight; entire family of picky eaters loved it. Thank you for sharing this.
This is really delicious looking and I love French flavors. I can't wait to make this, I have lentils on the ready for it.
I hope you get a chance to enjoy it!
Marie-Charlotte Chatelain says
Well as a Frenchie you had me at French hahahah - but jokes aside, this is a great recipe and JUST what I have been craving lately! Your pics are also stunning! Makes me want to jump through the screen!
Thank you so much!!
Heidy L. McCallum says
I made this soup last night and it turned out fab! We are meat eaters trying to cut back on our meat consumption and this was a perfect starter recipe that even my children loved. Saving to make again.
I love to hear that! I'm so happy you all enjoyed it!
Those photos are seriously making me hungry and can surely smell all those flavors right through the screen! Yes please to fall comforting soups!
I’m simmering yet another batch of your yummy French lentil soup! As I get frustrated when looking at reviews of a new yet to be tried recipe and comments just say it looks good, as I want to see how it turned out for people who made it. So, although I did leave a comment on Pinterest the first time trying this, I thought I’d add my compliments again, here.
You can adjust this as needed...today I sautés a piece of (faux) sausage and added a small cubed potato as I didn’t have any greens. Love this recipe as does my family! Thank you, Courtney...I’m now a French lentil ‘convert!’
You are so welcome! And thank you for leaving your review on both platforms, it means a lot! I am so happy that you and your family are enjoying the soup so much 🙂
We’re experiencing an arctic blast and we had most ingredients on hand — so happy we tried this recipe! Not wanting to venture out into the snow and wanting to use up some extra veggies, I made slight revisions but the integrity of the recipe is still in tact. Added an extra carrot, some Tuscan kale, and a zucchini. Didn’t have fresh herbs, so used Herbs de Provence instead. About half of the stock was chicken since we had 1/2 containers of vegetable and chicken. It’s a delightful (and quick!) soup and we’ll be having it often.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it, and your additions sound lovely!
Jennifer Casarella says
I make mine pretty much exactly the same ( usually 2 or 3 carrots) and sometimes add a can of fire roasted or other tomatoes. Great recipe and adaptable as others noted you can add extra veggies on hand. You can't go wrong. It's delicious.
Thank you! I agree - so adaptable, and so good!