What Are French Lentils And How Do You Cook Them?

It's quite possible that there's no better duo than cold weather and a hot bowl of delicious soup! From tomato bisque to French onion — and the classic noodle soups, of course — it seems there isn't much that you can't turn into soup (although some things are decidedly off limits). But things can get complicated, especially if your go-to soup involves lentils, as there are seemingly thousands of types from which to choose. If you, too, have come across the many lentil options at your local grocery store and wondered which to go with, or better yet, how to cook them, you are not alone! We have all scratched our heads at this one! Who would have thought there could be so many types of lentils, right?

For starters, there seems to be one specific type that confuses most — French lentils. You have probably seen a few recipes calling for this type of lentil, and if you are not too familiar with them, you might think replacing them with the typical brown or green varieties might work just fine. You might want to consider rethinking that, however, as doing so will absolutely jeopardize your dish! Avoid mistakes in the kitchen by reading on to learn a thing or two about French lentils.

Enjoy the 'lentil' things in life!

French lentils might look like the traditional green lentils, but there are notable differences between the two. One major difference is the texture (via Bon Appetit). While they do have green hues, French lentils are slightly darker and smaller in size when compared to other lentils. French lentils are known for retaining their shape after cooking, according to The Kitchn, making them ideal contenders for light soups and salads.

Also known as Puy lentils, French lentils with this label are essentially the same, with the only real difference being Puy lentils originate and are grown in the Puy region of France, unlike regular French lentils, and have a slightly different taste due to the area's volcanic soil (via The Kitchn).

When it comes to cooking your French lentils, avoid extended cooking times, but be aware that these little green lentils will take approximately 45 minutes to fully cook (via Cooking Light). To minimize cooking times, try soaking your lentils overnight (via Bob's Red Mill). You will thank us later!