Lentils with Wine-Glazed Vegetables

These simple, wine-glazed lentils, from Deborah Madison, saw me through my twenties, and then my thirties. I made them often in my first solo apartment in San Francisco.

Lentils with Wine-Glazed Vegetables

As promised - the Deborah Madison lentil recipe. They're the ones you see on the table in the background of this post, a recipe I know by heart. These simple, wine-glazed lentils saw me through my twenties, and then my thirties. I made them often in my first solo apartment in San Francisco. And, because they travel well, they've kept me well-fed on a range of flights - Dar es Salaam and Bangkok included. When asked to call out one favorite recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - this was the recipe I chose.

Deborah Madison's Lentils with Wine-Glazed Vegetables

The Details:

You have some options with this recipe! I go the butter / tarragon route (as opposed to olive oil / parsley), and always use either French or Umbrian green lentils. Deborah calls for red wine, but I sometimes do white (whatever is open, really), and I've even swapped in Belgian ale on occasion. What I mean is, red is best, but don't be discouraged if you don't have a bottle open or on hand - use what you have!
Deborah Madison's Lentils with Wine-Glazed Vegetables

Serving Ideas!

Many of you have cooked this recipe over the years and have noted favorite serving ideas. Here are a few stand outs.

  • Baked Potatoes: There are a lot of ways to enjoy these lentils, I love them over a perfectly baked potato along with a generous dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and a shower of finely snipped chives.
  • Pockets: Kelly mentioned she might wrap the lentils in filo pastry with some goat cheese for a potluck. Brilliant!
  • Donna mentions, “I served it with creme fraiche and arugula over new potatoes. Leftovers were brought to a friend’s to add to the farro she made.”

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Lentils with Wine-Glazed Vegetables

5 from 2 votes

My advice is to double this recipe, and enjoy the leftovers in the coming days.

  • 1 1/2 cups Umbrian lentils or lentils du Puy
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup / 160 ml dry red wine
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • to serve: chopped tarragon, micro greens or arugula, crumbled goat cheese or a dollop of creme fraiche
  1. Put the lentils in a saucepan with 3 cups of water, 1 teaspoon salt, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a lively simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but hold a little texture, about 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste, cook for 1 minute more, and then add the wine. Bring to a boil and then lower the hear and simmer, covered, until the liquid is syrupy and the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the mustard and add the cooked lentils along with their broth. Simmer until the sauce is mostly reduced, then stir in the butter, and season with pepper.
  3. Serve topped with greens/arugula, and crumbled goat cheese, and a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 4.

Adapted from Deborah Madison's The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
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Recipe Rating


Thanks for the recipe – just about to head out to a pot luck armed with this dish. Also, bringing along some filo pastry as I’m undecided whether to wrap the lentils up in parcels with the goats cheese. Either way, delicious! A tip of the hat to you, good lady, from Wellington, New Zealand.


The lentil dish is really good and versatile. I served it with creme fraiche and arugula over new potatoes. Leftovers were brought to a friend’s to add to the farro she made. Next time I may try it over Israeli couscous.


Made these lentils last night, and you are so right they are amazing! They provide the perfect base for a meal and the addition of some nuts, egg, or cheese round it out. Lovely!

Katie @ Whole Nourishment

This is so good. I only used onions and garlic. I’ve been looking for a simple seasoned lentil dish that will hold up in a jar. This is it!


I made this tonight and it was very good. It’s lentils, it’s not really mind blowing, but it was very good. I used black beluga lentils, they’re also small and sturdy, worked great. I used fennel since I had no celery, tasted great. I also upped the amount of veg a bit. A spoonful f yogurt on top of fresh lettuce was my topping. And, a glass of red wine from the bottle I opened to make the dish 😉


I made these for dinner a couple of nights ago with green lentils (organic, Coop supermarket brand in Switzerland) and, like Tari above, probably doubled the carrot and celery. Very tasty with arugula…and I’m eating the leftovers now, topped with triangles from a small tomme melted on the lentils after 5 minutes under the grill – very tasty! Thank you for sharing DM’s recipe.


hi from maui heidi! haven’t commented in a long while and wanted to say this recipe is a winner! i used black lentils…they were perfect as they hold their shape and have great flavor much like the lentilles du Puy.


I made this last night and it was delicious! I did double the carrot and celery for a little extra veg, and substituted sun-dried tomato paste for regular. The result was outstanding! The red wine and sun-dried tomato paste gave the mix a beautiful wine colored hue and the aroma was out of this world! A fried egg on top and a small salad beside: perfection. Thanks!


Made this for dinner yesterday, and it was warm and lovely (it’s cold at night in Johannesburg now).
Didn’t have celery so used some wild mushrooms instead, and they worked well. Thank you!


Made this recipe last weekend. Love it! Thanks.


I have had the book for a long time, but had never tried this, and I agree, it is delicious! That happens so often, doesn’t it, that after the initial buzz, a cookbook gets put aside, but one or two total success remain part of the family repertoire forever. We miss so much!
Will you please continue to single out lifetime favorites from here and there?


Heidi, what are Umbrian green lentils like? Can I buy them in a store or is it better to purchase them online? Thanks for sharing yet another delicious and hearty recipe.
HS: Hi Wren, they’re tiny, and tend to hold together for a stretch while cooking. French lentils are easier to come by here, but I see lentils from Italy increasingly. You can use either, really.


it was tough having the lentils & not making the palak daal for once… but we sacrificed some white wine & served it up with roasted beets & topped it with fluffy new lettuce and, well, delicious, yes.


Saw the recipe this morning. Made it for lunch. Wonderful!


looks SO delicious!! and i love the first picture!!

Our Food Stories

What I love about the humble lentil is that you can go so many different and delicious ways- from the subtle butter/tarragon here, through e.g. Provencal variants, eat them hot, cold, mashed to a pulp and spread on bread. And it is all such nutritious and cheap food, as long as one invests in some decent oil and some fresh ingredients to counterbalance the dense texture and earthy flavour. -Thank you for this, which is completely new to me.


Thanks for highlighting this recipe Heidi – I made them today and they are super tasty and I imagine they will be even better tomorrow. Always good to have a new lentil recipe in the repertoire.


I’ve never met a lentil recipe that I didn’t love. I’m pretty sure lentils subsisted me in my 20s as well. Thanks for the reminder to whip this recipe up. I’ve had it saved for years.


I’ve enjoyed this recipe, but my favorite is your “Lively Yourself Up Lentil Soup”. I’m often inspired by your cookbooks. I wish that I could ‘indulge’ in your olive blossom honey, but it’s ‘beyond my reach’. I’ll continue to shop locally and support our beekeepers in Southeastern WI.

HS: Thanks for the note Kathy, that soup is still a staple around here as well. I’ve heard there is incredible honey in your neck of the woods! -Finding the good stuff is always a rewarding adventure happy honey hunting!

Kathy K

I am on an absolute lentil bender. I predict this will join the party, soon. I wonder about upping the veg here? Have you tried it? I can imagine quadruple the quantity, cut chunky, strewn across the top?
Lentils + butter are such a revelation. The lentil soup in Peter Miller’s book (fantastic, btw! thank you!!!) capitalizes on their simple magic, and has won my heart. Also: Megan’s quinoa salad + lentils = all things good. xo, Molly
HS: I love that Idea Molly – I can imagine it would work nicely.


What a beautiful dish!

Angel Reyes

Delicious! And I have the cookbook. Thank you for sharing. Husband even loved them.


I have had this recipe tagged to make for a year! Thank you, Heidi, for the reminder. Maybe it will be dinner tonight:)
HS: You won’t be sorry Kelly!

Kelly Turnbull

I love what you’ve done with this, Heidi! The greenery brings it right into summer – and white wine would do the the same and quite nicely too. (I also tend to use what’s open.) I love to think of this humble little dish going to such exotic places with you – thank you!
HS: xo Deborah. I hope we can make it together sometime! Looking forward to crossing paths again very soon.

Deborah Madison

I made this almost as soon as the message hit my inbox this morning. So, so delicious. Heidi, you are a treasure!!
HS: Love hearing it Keri! Have a great weekend.

Keri Kettle

I need to try making this immediately….I have a feeling this is going to become my go-to lentil recipe as well. Thank you for sharing it!

Rasa @ The Vixen Life

I certainly don’t eat enough lentils. I’m really inspired to try this. I’ll have to remember to pick some up when I’m at Trader Joes!

Clever Girl Reviews

I just made this and it is so yummy I am going to make another pot with the rest of the bottle of wine!
I have her cookbook but never tried this recipe so thank you for pointing it out!!


I’ve been practically dreaming of that olive blossom honey. And a post on Deborah’s lentils seems only fitting: I buy olive oil from her brother!


Sounds like a classic & elegant recipe. Thanks for sharing!


Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is possibly my most loved cookbook. I learnt so much from it and every recipe I’ve tried – which have been A LOT – has turned out delicious. My boyfriend likes to joke that I fell in love with him because of this dish, which was the first thing he cooked for me. Years later, it’s still a favourite around these parts. Highly recommended to those who haven’t tried it yet!


Lovely! I’ve been hoarding a beautiful little package of beluga lentils and just picked up some tarragon. This seems just the ticket.


Debora Madison’s book is so full of great recipes -I have not made any I would not love. But I think my favorite is this spinach and spring herb torta in a potato crust: http://www.growntocook.com/?p=2119 The crust of thin slices of fried potatoes is genius!
HS: Thanks for the heads up Vera! I’ll have to give that one a go.


I love this book, the older version and the newer. I’ve had this recipe flagged with a piece of paper for YEARS to try but have never made it before. That ends now! Thank you for highlighting this and sharing one of your favorites. I’d love to hear about any other favorites that you or your blog readers have to see if there are some other hidden gems in my book that I’ve overlooked. 😀

Lisa Cohen // Life is in the Details

What a beautiful dish! I’ve been looking for a go-to lentil recipe, and I think I may have just found it!

Rachael | Spache the Spatula

I love this recipe too. It is one of my all time favorites. I also to add the puff pastry top when I make it in the winter months. It is wonderful every time I make it.


So glad you’ve shared this, I’ve been waiting for it ever since you mentioned your go-to lentils and I can’t wait to try them!

Rosie @The Porridge Pot

I love me a good salad, and this looks wonderful! Healthy, filling and delicious 😀 Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
Wishing you a lovely weekend, hugs from Glasgow x

Jules @ WolfItDown

This looks soooo delicious. I love lentils.

Jo from yummyvege

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