French lentil recipe

French Style Braised Lentils with Toulouse Sausage

Looking for a quick, easy to make and delicious French lentil recipe? Our braised lentil recipe is a perfect winter warmer and only takes 40 minutes to make.

In French it’s called ‘le petit salé’ and it’s a popular meal here eaten in homes, schools and offices. It’s common to find variations in Parisian bistros with duck, sausage or salted pork. It’s a super flexible recipe and is easily adjustable depending on what you have left in your fridge. Vegetarian? You can easily leave out the bacon and sausages and replace with mushrooms and vegetarian sausages.

French lentil recipe stew with sausages

It’s great as a main or, if you remove the sausages, a side dish for other meals. Jam packed with nutrients and easy to make with cupboard staples, it’s an awesome side dish or main dish sausages (in this recipe), confit duck or roast pork.

French lentil recipe – easy, delicious and healthy

Green, Puy lentils used in this recipe are a great, inexpensive and healthy ingredient. Packed full of protein and fibre, they’re healthy and affordable.

Bacon lardons are fried until crispy with garlic, aromatics added until softened. Green Puy lentils are then added along with stock of your choice. I use a stock cube although you could use fresh vegetable or chicken stock from a carton. You could of course use home made chicken stock although I’d keep that for another dish where you will be able to taste it more.

puy lentil stew recipe

What you will need

This recipe is a French style lentil braise flavoured with bacon lardon, onion, leek and mustard. Here’s what you’ll need to make my version of a French green lentil stew. For the fresh ingredients and herbs:

ingredients for French lentil recipe

And for the rest – including the all important lentils:

lentils for lentil stew
  • Lentils: Green lentils, also known as Puy, French or Black lentils are traditionally used for this traditional dish. They’re versatile, robust and cook quickly. Even if you overcook them they’ll retain a satisfying bite. You can use canned lentils but you won’t have the same satisfying flavour and they’ll be more expensive.
  • Bacon lardons and sausage: One of base flavourings for this dish is are smoked bacon lardon. Frying bacon in a dash of olive oil releases incredible flavour and helps build a smokey, umami base into the dish.
  • Vegetables, aromatics & herbs: Once the fat from the bacon is released, garlic is added to infuse the oil with even more incredible flavour. Finely diced onion, leeks and carrots are added and sweated down for a few minutes – this forms the flavour base for the braise.
  • Chicken stock: I prefer to use low salt chicken stock from a cube or store bought. You can of course use vegetable stock if you want to keep the dish vegetarian.
  • Mustard: Dijon mustard is added near the end and is cooked out to mellow out the flavour and the natural properties of the mustard help thick and emulsify the braising liquid.
  • Herbs: I use a bay leaf during the braise but you can also add thyme and rosemary to add even more flavour. To finish I use finely chopped chives as I love the onion flavour. You can of course use finely chopped parsley!

Ingredient list

Makes enough for 6 people

  • 500g of green lentils (preferably French Puy lentils)
  • 2 carrots, medium dice
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 leek – lower half only, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Chicken or vegetable stock
  • 90g of smoked bacon lardons
  • 6 sausages
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Herbs for garnish

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s really flexible. If you want to change the flavours, go for it! Fancy more of an Italian flavour? Use Italian sausages and finish with basil.

How to make braised lentils with sausages

This recipe is quick, once you’ve prepared your ingredients it should only take about 20-25 minutes! Follow the steps below to make this recipe:

  1. Add your bacon lardons and a small amount of oil to a sauté pan and fry on medium heat until crispy. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  1. Add your finely diced vegetables and stir frequently. Turn down the heat and sweat until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the rinsed lentils to the pan and pour in stock until the lentils are covered.
  3. Simmer the lentils for 15-20 minutes uncovered. The lentils should be tender with a bite and they shouldn’t be too wet. There should be enough liquid left to coat the lentils and ensure that they’re not dry. Add the mustard and cook for another minute. Add extra stock if needed.
  4. Cook sausages in a pan or in the oven until brown all over and cooked through. Serve lentils warm onto a plate and top with sausages along with finely chopped chives & olive oil.

What can I replace sausages with?

If you don’t eat or like pork, you can of course replace them with chicken, duck or venison sausages. In France, you’ll typically find a lentil stew served with a confit duck leg which makes for a really great dish. The lentil stew makes a really good side dish so also feel free to omit the sausages!

How can I make it vegetarian?

You can easily make this vegetarian by using vegetable stock and replacing the bacon lardons with finely diced mushrooms. Follow the same steps and brown the mushrooms before adding the garlic. You can also use vegetarian sausages in place of pork sausages.

How long will it last in the fridge?

Leftovers can be left in a sealed container for up to 4 days in the fridge. Note you may need to add a splash of water when reheating in either the microwave or in a pot on the stove to avoid the lentils drying out.

Can I freeze leftovers?

Yes! Place leftovers in a zip-lock bag and flatten to remove air. Seal up the bag and place into the freezer. The braised keep for up to 9 months before quality deteriorates.

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