Lentils in Red Wine

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Cooking lentils in wine transforms their taste, making them rich and a little tangy. They can be served alongside other foods or as a simple main dish, with thin slices of grilled or toasted bread, a crisp, refreshing salad, or a simply cooked vegetable. Brown lentils are most commonly available, but the tiny slate-green ones from France, which hold their shape so beautifully, would make this rustic dish nearly elegant.

2 or 3 servings as a main dish or 4 servings as a side dish



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course, side dish

Dietary Considerationvegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and Texturesavory, tangy


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped or sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch each of dried thyme and dried marjoram
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sun-dried tomato puree (page 326) or tomato paste
  • 2 cups hearty red wine, such as Beaujolais, gamay, or red “jug” wine
  • 1½ cups water
  • Salt
  • Red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons additional butter
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Grilled bread (optional)


  1. Rinse the lentils well, cover them with hot water, and set them aside while you prepare everything else.

  2. Warm the butter and olive oil in a wide skillet or sauté pan and add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, and half the parsley. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions have begun to color. Stir in the tomato purée; then add the wine. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain the lentils and add them to the wine with the water, and lightly salt. Return to a boil; then lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.

  3. When the lentils are done, taste for salt, add a dash of vinegar to sharpen the flavors, and stir in the additional butter. Pepper generously, garnish with the remaining parsley, and serve with or without the bread.


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I made this tonight! I didn't have an onion, so I used shallots. Also, I only had 3/4 a cup of wine, so I added a little extra water. That being said, this was pretty good. I don't know that the lentils needed the whole 40 minutes. If I'd been checking, I might have taken them off sooner. I served them over grilled bread with a fried egg on top. I really liked the wineyness of the lentils and the herbs. Plated beautifully for a great vegetarian main!


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