Lovely Lentils

lovely lentils

Lentils are a brilliant source of protein and fiber so a much healthier choice than pasta or rice. Not only that, they are super delicious and super satisfying.

I’ve used French style ‘Puy’ lentils in the video but the recipe works equally well with all types of lentils so feel free to explore. You’ll just need to adjust the cooking time for different lentils.

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Lovely Lentils

Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 cups


  • 500 g green lentils or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 2 brown onions peeled & chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped, optional
  • 2 sticks celery chopped, optional
  • 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons sherry or wine vinegar


  • Place lentils in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover generously.
  • Add onion, carrots & celery (if using), and bring to the boil.
  • Turn the heat down to medium high and simmer rapidly for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. I like them al dente like pasta but its up to you. If the lentils look dry add more water.
  • Drain the lentils well and place in a mixing bowl or back into the saucepan.
  • Stir in 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season with soy sauce, vinegar, and a little salt and pepper if you like.

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gluten-free – make sure you use a gluten-free soy sauce such as tamari.

carnivore – lentils love pork products so feel free to serve with proscuitto, jamon or even some cooked bacon.

less veg – the veg add flavour to the lentils but aren’t critical. Feel free to boil lentils on their own if you’re out of veg or short on time.

herby – I often add a couple of bay leaves from the garden to my lentils. A sprig of rosemary or thyme can also add lovely fragrance.

Usage Suggestions

canned alternative – anywhere that calls for canned lentils or beans. Note: 1 can drained = approx 240g / 9oz of cooked lentils.

salads – such as this peas & lentil salad or tuna & lentil salad.

breakfast – as a ‘slow carb’ breakfast such as these spinach & lentils. I also love them with a poached egg.

lasagne – use as a vegetarian alternative to ground or minced beef such as in this (almost) 15 minute veggie lasagne.

chilli – instead of canned lentils in this vegetarian chilli.

rice alternative – in these egg fried lentils.

pasta alternative – serve with your favourite pasta sauce.

Prepare Ahead?

Absolutely. I like to make up a big batch to have on hand for quick meals during the week. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or so. Can be frozen for up to 12 months. Lentil freeze really well, similar to frozen peas and so they’re easy to defrost in a warm pan.

Storage Best Practices

Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or so. Can be frozen for up to 12 months. Lentil freeze really well, similar to frozen peas and so they’re easy to defrost in a warm pan.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

lentils, soy, vinegar, onions – pantry.

carrots, celery – keep for months in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Problem Solving Guide

mushy lentils – some lentils fall to mush very easily so you need to keep an eye on them. Next time only cook until they are al dente – so tender but still a little firm. The other option is to seek out French-style green lentils (also sometimes called puy lentils) or Italian castellecircco lentils. Both of these more expensive lentils have the advantage of not falling apart even when over cooked a little.

lentils taking forever to cook
– the cooking time will vary greatly depending on the type of lentil and how long they’ve been sitting around for. I’ve also noticed that the less water you have available, the longer they take to cook so be generous with the water. You don’t need as much as you would for pasta but make sure your lentils have space to swim freely.

– lentils need generous seasoning which is why we’re using soy and vinegar. Feel free to add more. And don’t forget the salt.

no sherry vinegar?
– no problem. Any wine vinegar including balsamic will work here or even lemon juice.

crunchy lentils – just means your lentils are undercooked. You could pop them back in the saucepan with more water or just chalk it as a lesson for next time.

burning on the bottom – not enough water. Quick add some!

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  • 4 stars
    I made a batch of this as a substitute for chicken for Amrita’s Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Salsa, but it still wasn’t vegetarian because I added a generous helping of bacon. I used 375g of lentils, because that’s how much is in the packets that I buy, and instead of the second onion and carrot (or the celery at all) I added a capsicum and flat mushroom, both sliced), all of which I fried before adding the lentils and water, and only enough of the latter to cook the lentils without decanting. Good, although it was a bit dry without the oil, cheese and the rest for the other recipe.

    • I made lentils on the weekend too Mark! The problem with cooking so you don’t need to drain the lentils is it can be be hard to get the quantities right and you can end up with dry lentils. MAybe next time try cooking the capscum and mushroom in the pan and then removing them while you cook the lentils in lots of water like pasta. Then add everything back to the pot at the end.

  • I just love these lentils, I’ve found them so easy to cook in bulk then pop in the fridge. I’ve add them to other recipes or a salad for lunch.

  • I made these today and paired them with some baked/broiled flank steak and broccoli. I am so glad I have leftovers because it was so great!! I am also working on sprouting some lentils and cooked up some white beans. Incorporating beans more is a new goal to see how my body responds to them after soaking them. I’m very excited! Thanks for so many lovely recipes!

  • I’d forgotten how easy it is to be inspired by your recipes! Love the look your lovely lentils recipe but have been a reluctant eater of lentils since a (now ex) family member cooked them every meal for far too long while she was on a diet and I lost enthusiasm for them. But you give so many alternatives to each dish that it’s easy to substitute an alternative, like butter beans, which I love and to find alternative herbs to add to the dish. Thanks Jules

    • So glad you’re being inspired Deb!

      And I can’t blame you… even I would get tired of lentils if I had them for every meal.


  • Just have a bowl of lovely lentils cooling on my bench. Boyfriend challenged me to help him Aquire a taste for lentils. He is on 800 calls per day 5 days a week. This is the one to win him over to the low cal high nutrient frugal lentils. You have won me already. Thanks for your videos Jules

  • Yes, success. We came home from a holiday, had made a double batch of the lentils and had them frozen. I added noodles, some fresh parsley out of the garden. I great instant meal.

  • Yum yum yum, just made a batch of these exactly as per the recipe, with gluten free soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and olive oil. Can’t wait to use these throughout the week. I think this is the first time I’ve ever used puy lentils.

  • This is my go to recipe when I haven’t got anything sorted for protein for dinner. So thankful that my entire family loves it!

  • Hi, made these last night, used all the vegetables and rice wine vinegar. The soy and the vinegar a great combination, added a sprig of rosemary. They definitely are lovely. I thought there might be leftovers, but no…. I will have to make a double batch next tie.

  • I made the Chilli with the lentils even my husband enjoyed this dish and it was so quick to make.

  • I love lentils too! Thanks for your advice and guidance. May I ask, do cooked puy lentils really keep safely for two weeks in a fridge. I accept freezing the. Is much better but smile curious about how long they keep in the fridge?


    • Hi Graeme

      Yes they really will keep safely for 2 weeks in the fridge. I ate some in a salad for lunch the other day and they had been in the fridge for at least 15 days.

      Glad to hear you’re loving lentils! They’re the best

  • Oh YUMMY! Just tried these as a main course with a few lardons and some fresh veg. from the garden…yummy and filling!!!!! I am using some Melfor l’original (see instead of vinegar as I love the sweetness and less acidity…I have a delicate tum! We can’t get this in France, but it can be bought in the USA and possibly Australia. Have you tried it? It’s great with lentils…….!

    • Hi Anne!

      No I haven’t come across Melfor… will keep an eye out for it!

      So glad you’re enjoying the lentils!

  • Oh my! I have just cooked two perfect poached eggs! One using some vinegar, the other without using vinegar! Just watching how you cooked the eggs and following your fresh egg advice and voila! I’m hooked! Thank you so much! :O)

  • Hi I’m new here and I have just logged ino this course from France. I have to feed a family of 3 on $61AUD (€40) for a complete week, so I’m always looking for ideas especially as food prices keep rising! I have got my husband on to lentils and he is now okay with some non-meat dinners. Our 7yo son, who has mild autism, is a fussy eater which is a symptom of his condition, but I have even managed to get him to taste a teaspoon of lentils! I am going to practice the seasoning techniques and hey, with your poached egg technique I may finally be able to poach an egg! Our eggs are given to us by the food bank so aren’t fresh but here goes! I’m looking forward to trying out more recipes! Thank you!

    • Welcome Anne!

      Very excited to have a student from France!

      The freshness of eggs makes all the difference with poaching so if you don’t have success blame the eggs! 🙂


  • I keep a big ziplock bag of cooked puy lentils in the freezer. You can just ‘pour’ them in like frozen peas to whatever you are cooking. Chickpeas too. Yum. Haven’t had them for breakfast yet, but it is on my list!

      • What a great idea Kim! Totally going to do this. Jules, when you cook up a big batch on the weekend – how much do you tend to cook? Like just double this recipe perhaps? I love puy lentils but have noticed they take longer to cook and I don’t end up using them as much as I’d like because of that. Here’s the answer! Woohoo!

        • Hi Angela!
          I usually cook 500g as per the recipe as that tends to be the most common packet size for lentils around here… it makes quite a bit so I’d recommend starting with that unlesss you have a big family to feed


  • Glad we’re getting you away from wheat Elise!
    Lentils are packed with flavour when you season them right…
    Let me know how you get on!

  • I am trying to be less dependent on wheat/pasta…I have always had trouble with lentils in the past because they were so bland. I will definitely try this.

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