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Sonyas French Lentil Soup

What you need: 

3 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cup red wine
16 oz. dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
6 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoon dried thyme or oregano
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
pepper to taste
optional: chopped spinach (frozen or fresh)

What you do: 

This makes a LOT of soup, but you will love it so much on these cold winter days that it won't last but a few days. I also find that it freezes pretty well.
Also, if you like carrots, you can substitute one stalk of celery for one carrot. I'm allergic to carrots, so I've never tried it, but I imagine it would be fine. Just make sure they are finely chopped.
1.) Heat a large soup pan over high heat. Add your oil and onions and celery. Saute until they start to take on color. Add bay leaves and garlic. After two minutes (or if the garlic starts to burn) work in the tomato paste and add the vegan wine. Reduce by three-quarters.
2.) Add the lentils and enough broth to cover with a couple inches of liquid. Simmer uncovered, periodically stirring and adding enough broth (or water, if you run out of broth) to cover.
3.) The soup should cook for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add enough water for your desired consistency. Add a couple tablespoons of crushed thyme or oregano, and season to taste with pepper. If your broth is sodium-free you can add salt, but be careful- a lot of vegetable broth contain a lot of salt! Stir in a heaping spoonful of Dijon mustard and serve immediately.
Hope you enjoy! Pair it with some barley or rice for complete protein, or maybe just a big hunk of country bread. Even if you're not a huge mustard fan, please try the Dijon; my boyfriend hates mustard but he loves the perfume it gives this soup. The mustard, the vegan red wine, and the thyme really give it a French-y taste. Bon appetit!

Preparation Time: 
20 minutes prep/1 hour
Cooking Time: 
Recipe Category: 


This recipe has been on my 'need to try' list for nearly a year.  It always sounded good, but hey, it's lentil soup, how exciting could it be?  Finally, I had all ingredients on hand and decided to give it a whirl.  Wow!  Why did I wait so long?  Make it now.  Stop what you are doing, get anything you need to make the soup, and proceed to be amazed by the complex flavors and aromas. 

I did substitute herbes de provence for the thyme/oregano and omitted all of the olive oil.  I also cooked my soup for about 1.5 hours, but I think my lentils might have been sort of old.  :-\

Thanks for the recipe.


Good but not great. I'm an ovo-lacto vegetarian and my husband is an omni and while we both liked this soup well enough, neither one of us loved it.  I probably would have liked it more without the thyme added to it, so if I make it again, I'll be leaving that out.

For some reason, I also found that I had to cook mine way longer than 40 minutes before the lentils were tender.  Some of them got tender right on schedule and others were still hard in the middle. :-\


Oh my gosh!  This is the BEST soup I have ever tasted, and I mean it! 
I didn't have any tomato paste on hand, so I improvised by adding a squirt of ketchup along with a can of pureed tomatoes - more than the recipe called for, but it definitely worked!


I'd give this six stars if I could! It came out really well and as promised, made plenty of "planned overs." For some reason, the flavor of the broth reminded me of a brisket my grandma used to make, which might be the only thing from the world of meat I've ever really found myself craving. Thanks for this great recipe!


I made this with lots of spinach for my French boyfriend, and he loved it, so there is one authenticity vote.


Oh how I messed this up...  I am not veg. and I had chicken stock and white wine on hand, so I used that.  I threw in a 12 oz can of v8 to add more vegetably goodness.  I think if I had left it at that, it would have been fine - so if you are omni, or want to use mock chicken broth for a different version, go for it...

The problem is I was feeling a little too chef-y and, as I was adding extra water at the end, I thought I will add in one more cup of wine, too, to make it awesome!

Problem - I don't like wine.  I expected it to cook off and taste different and it didn't, really...  so it tastes kind of...  weird, to me.

BUT otoh, I have to say, I don't like lentils much, and I keep trying to find ways to prepare them that I like them, because I think they're so good for you.  My problem is they always seem to taste like dirt to me.

This soup didn't taste like dirt!  Other than the wine overkill, I like it.  I used 2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery and about 1/2 a bag of frozen spinach so lots of veggies.

I will make this again - but I think I will cut the recipe in half next time because it really did make a TON in the end.  I put most of it in the freezer in individual containers so I don't feel obliged to eat lentil soup every day over the next week. 


This was excellent, as many others have said. I adapted mine a bit. I added a little more tomato paste, used tarragon instead of thyme, and used a carrot and a celery stalk. I also used the small french lentils, which are great to work with. Oh, and I used a garlic and horseradish mustard instead of dijon. I just bought some ancient red quinoa and I was thinking I could add some and it would make a pretty presentation. I didn't add the spinach because I didn't happen to have any on hand but I think I might pick some up and add it to the bucket of it I still have in the fridge.

Excellent, thank you!



great recipe. i added carrots and for the herbs, i added oregano, thyme, marjoram and sage to amount to the 2 tbsp. it was pretty good the first night, but incredible the next day as leftovers. i served it with some baked potato chips


This recipe ROCKS!!!  Yes it makes a lot but that didn't matter because it all got eaten! 


Oh my god!!! This is the first time I've cooked with wine. I am blown away. The aroma and balance of flavors was breath taking, and I'm not exaggerating! The only thing I changed is that I substituted 1/4 of the lentils with pearled barley. I tried it before and after the mustard and it's great either way. Just as the above reviewer mentioned, this soup suddenly made me crave thick country bread and I got myself a slice. All I can say is: Yumm!!! No modifications needed, perfect as is. I dare everyone to make this and try to eat only one bowl ;)



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