French lentil and onion soup

Soup Photo: Marina Oliphant

Add some French lentils to a traditional onion soup for texture and finish off with zesty lemon and mint. Once cooked, onions are sweet and mellow, adding warmth and body to soups, stews, roasts and casseroles.


4 tbsp butter

4 medium brown onions, peeled and finely sliced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

1.2 litres vegetable stock, plus extra if required

250g (1 1/4 cups) puy lentils, washed

Handful fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1 lemon, zest and juice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

1 small French baguette, thickly sliced

150g gruyere cheese, grated


Heat a large heavy-based pot over medium heat and melt the butter. Add sliced onions and cook for 20 minutes until well softened and golden.

Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes until garlic is soft and translucent. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Add lentils and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes or so, until the lentils are tender but still holding their shape.

Remove from heat and stir in parsley, lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper and finish with fresh mint to taste. If the soup is too thick, add a little extra stock or water. To make the cheese croutons, grill the bread on one side, turn and sprinkle with cheese. Grill until cheese melts and turns golden. Ladle soup into bowls and serve immediately with grilled cheese croutons.