This French lentils recipe is so hearty and simple, it'll taste like a lot more work than it is. We can let that be our secret.
Lentils are a most yummy vegan staple food. They pack a similar nutritious punch to beans, but without the soaking and long cooking time. That's a pretty sweet deal, especially when you're in a pinch for a healthy meal.
I love this lentils recipe in particular because it's so full of flavors that are comforting in the cold winter months, but light enough to make it a tasty option in the warmer months, too. It works for a nice dinner or a quick lunch. And the leftovers are really delicious once the flavors have had time to fully marinate overnight.
If you don't have French lentils, black or green lentils will work well as a substitute here, but don't use red lentils. They get soft much too quickly and will not hold up to the flavors of the dish. If you don't have lentils at all, this dish also works really well with white beans like cannellini or northern beans, or with red kidney beans as well.
Truffle oil is a decadent and fragrant oil made from the highly esteemed truffle mushroom. These subterranean mushrooms are prized in French and Mediterranean cooking, imparting a strong, unmistakable flavor. If this is your first time using truffle oil—you'll notice the flavor right away, and chances are you'll be hooked! It pairs exceptionally well with Dijon, giving this dish a really sweet and spicy, aromatic flavor.
When using truffle oils or truffle salts, be on the lookout for fakes—which are extremely common—using fragrances and artificial flavors in place of truffle mushrooms. Pure truffle oil is expensive—as it should be. And a little bit goes a very long way. So consider it an investment worth the spend.
Warm Vegan French Lentils Recipe with Truffle and Dijon
Makes 12 servings
- 2 cups French lentils, rinsed
- 4 cups water
- 3 small carrots or 2 medium carrots, finely diced
- ½ cup fresh fennel, finely diced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon truffle oil or one teaspoon truffle salt
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: 2 cloves garlic, minced
In a large pot, bring lentils and water to a slow boil and let cook until tender, about 45 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, chop the carrots, fennel, and parsley.
Once the water has been absorbed by the lentils and they are soft but not mushy, add in the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, truffle oil/salt, fennel, and carrots (and garlic if you chose that option). Turn the heat to low and mix well. Cover the pot and let simmer another 5–10 minutes until the carrots are tender.
Serve warm topped with fresh parsley, a side salad, and crusty French bread. Bon Appetit!
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger