French Lentils with Caramelized Onion and Potatoes

French Lentils with Caramelized Onion and Potatoes

August 27, 2019   |  by Shannon   |   Recipes

I am a lentil fanatic.

In my book, lentils are just about the perfect food: they taste great and are great for you!  Did you know there are 12 grams of protein per ½ cup of cooked lentils?!!  YEAH.  Also, lentils are incredibly versatile—you can do just about anything with lentils in a recipe. They’re pretty amazing.

I usually just stick with the standard green lentils you can find at any grocery store.  But a few months ago I came across a bag of red split lentils at Trader Joe’s, and was immediately intrigued.  Yep, I get intrigued by lentils…!  And I’m comfortable admitting it. (:

Red split lentils—despite the name, they actually look more orange than red—are used for making such fantastic dishes as daal (which I’ve got an amazing recipe for!  I promise I’ll post it soon!)  The difference between a split lentil and a…not split lentil is simply that split lentils are dehulled, split, and polished before making it to the grocery store, whereas regular old lentils are not.

Look at how gorgeous these are!

I describe this dish as “French” not because of the lentils themselves, but because of the ingredient combination and seasonings: there is something so classically French about the pairing of lentils and beans. Season those lentils and beans with caramelized onion and fresh parsley, and I think you’ve got just about the perfect meal! 

I season the potatoes here with nutritional yeast, a delicious, protein-packed wonder food.  If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you know how amazing nutritional yeast is!  If you’ve never heard of nutritional yeast—or “nooch,” as it is affectionately called in the plant-based world—it imparts a cheesy, nutty flavor, and can be used in place of cheese in many dishes. 

Better still, nutritional yeast has 8 grams of protein in a ¼ cup serving!!!!  You can find nutritional yeast in the grocery store, but it is typically waaaaay over priced for the amount you get.  Here is my favorite nutritional yeast brand and deal!  The taste is excellent, and you really can’t beat the quality, quantity, and price you get.  Give this nooch a try, and let me know how you like it!

This is my favorite brand and deal for nutritional yeast. You really can't beat the flavor, quality, quantity, and price point! Click the photo to view on Amazon! [aff. link]

This hearty dish is a meal by itself, but it’s also great over a bed of spinach or kale, with a side of Gardein or your favorite meat substitute.  And if you can’t find red split lentils, this recipe would be just as delicious with another lentil.  If you do use a different lentil type, just be sure to cook them according to your package instructions rather than the times I use here.  (Split lentils understandably cook a lot faster than regular lentils!)

This meal is super easy, vegan, and gluten free!  Make my delicious French Lentils with Caramelized Onion and Potatoes this week when you’re looking for an easy, tasty, healthy, and filling meal!

French Lentils with Caramelized Onion and Potatoes

There is something so classically French about the pairing of lentils and beans. Season those lentils and beans with caramelized onion and fresh parsley, and I think you’ve got just about the perfect meal! Oh wait, that’s this dish! You should give it a try! (:
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 5
Print Recipe


For the potatoes:

  • 6 red potatoes, washed but not peeled, diced into ¾ inch pieces
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, optional, but highly recommended
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

For the onion:

  • 1 onion, chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more during caramelization

For the lentils:

  • 1 ½ cups red split lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder

Everything else:

  • 15 oz can cannelloni or white kidney beans, drained
  • ¼ cup parsley, minced


Cook the onion

  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, onion, and sea salt. Cook for 3 minutes, until the onion begins to sizzle and brown a little. Now turn the heat down to low and let the onion caramelize while you prepare the other ingredients. Just let the onion keep cooking on low until all the other ingredients are done cooking, and you're ready to complile the dish!
  • Use your spatula to toss the onion every so often. After about 12 minutes, you may want to add a little more olive oil—just a few teaspoons—to help the onion caramelize even more. YUM!!!!!

Roast the potatoes

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Throw the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil (for easy clean up), and add the olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.
  • With your hands, toss the potatoes until the oil and the seasonings coat them evenly. Distribute the potatoes on the baking sheet so they are not touching each other.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven, and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the pan, and flip the potatoes so that a different side of each potato touches the bottom of the pan. Place back in the oven and roast for an additional 20 minutes. Potatoes are done!

Cook the lentils

  • While the potatoes roast and the onion caramelizes, make your lentils. In a large pot, add your lentils and olive oil. Cook over medium heat for about a minute, tossing the lentils in the olive oil with your spatula.
  • Now add the sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and vegetable broth. Cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape, and bring the lentils to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Once the lentils are simmering, bring the heat down to low to keep the lentils from coming to a boil. Simmer on low for 10-12 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed, keeping the lentils covered throughout.
  • Now take the lid off the lentils and cook for an additional 3 minutes uncovered. The lentils are done! (When you taste the lentils, they should be tender but still have a little bite. There may still be a little liquid in the pot and that’s fine.)

Put it all together

  • Now add the caramelized onion and all of its juices to the pot with the lentils, along with one Tbsp of parsley. Stir to combine. Next add potatoes and a little more parsley. Toss. Now carefully fold in the beans and the rest of the parsley. (You don’t want the beans to break, so fold gently!)
  • Taste, and add more salt if desired.


  • Garnish each serving with more parsley. Serve alone, or on top of a bed of greens with a side of Gardein if you’re really hungry. Enjoy!


This meal is vegan and gluten free!
You can substitute a different lentil if you can't find red split lentils, just follow the cooking instructions on the package.  (Split lentils understandably cook faster than regular lentils!)

I’m Shannon, thanks for visiting!  When I’m not on an adventure with my little girl, I’m developing plant-based recipes or watching a Classic Film!

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