Warm Lentil Salad With Merguez…A French Bistro Meal

A Warm Lentil Salad, an item found on many French bistro menus, is a simple but flavorful dish when topped with spicy lamb Merguez sausages. Old fashioned French comfort food at its best, it’s perfect for either lunch or your evening meal. If you don’t care for sausages, you could top the warm lentil salad with confit duck legs, pan seared salmon or even a runny poached egg. Enjoyed with a crisp baguette and a glass of red wine, this dish will transport you to one of the cozy, unpretentious French bistros hidden along the back streets of Paris.

Warm Lentil Salad Topped With Merguez Sausage…A French Bistro Meal
Warm Lentil Salad Topped With Lamb Merguez Sausage…A French Bistro Meal

I used dark green Lentils de Puy for my salad. These delicious little legumes, known for their exceptional flavor and texture, are from the Auvergne region of France but are also grown in Italy and North America. They cost more than other lentils and may be hard to find in some areas, but I think they are worth searching out as they hold their shape well and have a nice nutty flavor. If you can’t find the green lentils, you can substitute brown lentils but the texture and taste of the salad will be very different. If you use brown lentils, simmer very gently and don’t overcook them or you will have a mushy dish.

 Warm Lentil Salad With Merguez Sausage

Serves two, adjust the recipe accordingly


  • 2  Tbsp. of either sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • a good pinch of sea salt (about 1/8 tsp.)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. finely minced shallot
  • 2 tsp. of a good Dijon mustard (whole grain mustard can be substituted)
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, prepare the vinaigrette by mixing the vinegar, salt, pepper and the minced shallots. Let sit for about 5 minutes so that the shallots soften a little. Stir in the mustard and then whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream. Taste and adjust the vinaigrette, if needed. If it’s too sharp, add some more oil. If it seems too bland, add more vinegar, mustard or salt to your own taste.


  • 2 spicy lamb Merguez sausages (Saucisse de Toulouse, Chorizo or other well seasoned  sausages of your choice can be substituted)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1/2 small bulb of fennel, diced (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 c. green Lentils de Puy, checked for small stones and rinsed well
  • 1 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • water
  • a few sprigs of fresh parsley and thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 potato (I used Yukon Gold), peeled and diced*
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh chopped thyme or parsley for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the sausages and cook until done and a little crispy. Remove from the pan and keep warm. In the same saucepan, add the onions, celery and fennel, sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute. Add the lentils, broth, and water to cover by about 2 to 3 inches. Add the parsley and thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium high, bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Partially cover the pan with a lid and simmer the lentils until they are just tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the diced potatoes and carrots with cold, salted water. Cook over moderately high heat until the potatoes and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and place in a large bowl, toss with a little of the vinaigrette. *To save time, you can simmer the potatoes and carrots along with the lentils but their color will be a little dark.

When the lentils are done, drain well, place in the bowl with the cooked potatoes and carrots. Discard the bay leaf, parsley and thyme sprigs. Add the rest of the vinaigrette and toss well. Let sit for a few minutes until the vinaigrette is absorbed, taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. If the lentils seem dry, you can drizzle with a little olive oil. To serve, transfer the lentils to individual plates or bowls and top with the sausages.

The important thing to remember when making this recipe is to add the vinaigrette while the lentils and vegetables are hot so that they can absorb all the flavors.


This classic French bistro meal is quick to prepare and very flavorful. The lentils are delicious warm but are equally good cold. They would make a nice accompaniment to a simple roast chicken packed into a picnic basket along with a baguette, some cheese, fresh fruit and a lovely bottle of wine. All that is needed is a park bench close to the Eiffel tower and you would have a memorable French inspired picnic.   Bon appétit!

A Park Bench Close To The Eiffel Tower Would Be A Great Place For A Picnic
A Park Bench Close To The Eiffel Tower Would Be A Great Place For A Picnic

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204 thoughts on “Warm Lentil Salad With Merguez…A French Bistro Meal

  1. Dear Karen, what a lovely blog post to end the month of January. We love lentils as much as the French and Italian and particularly enjoy a nice lentil soup but your salad withthe spicy merguez sauasages sounds awfully tempting as well. And I like that you added so much veg to your recipe – beautiful picture of the Eiffel tower as well.
    Hope all is well – sorry, I am so behind with comments but it was a busy month with all those last minute exams at school before report cards yesterday. I was also “hors de combat” for quite a while – all well now.
    Have a lovely weekend, dear friend,

    1. Thank you Andrea, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and recipe. Please don’t worry about being behind…I have been, as well and it is hard to catch up. Life has been throwing me some curves lately, unfortunately my mother passed away very recently.

  2. Karen…my condolences on the passing of your mother.
    Lentil salads are a favorite of mine and I love them warm. Yum with the sausage, I’ve never done that. This looks like a great recipe and will be trying it soon.

    1. Thank you Barbara, for your condolences. I’m happy that you like the recipe…the sausage is a nice addition that I think you would enjoy.

    1. Hi Tin Man, I’m happy that I could share a little of France with my recipe and photo from Paris. I know what you mean…this past fall was the first time in years that we didn’t go to Europe.

  3. The beautiful weather we have been having has me thinking about sidewalk cafes and picnics. This would be the perfect meal for dining an umbrella. This sounds wonderful.

    1. Hi Karen, I’m happy you like this French dish. I’m very jealous of your wonderful weather…we’ve got more than 3 ft. of snow on the ground, 20 mph winds and it’s in the single digits. I’m afraid tables with umbrellas would go flying away here. 😀

    1. Hi Linda, I know that you have mentioned before about of Phil’s love of sausages…he would definitely like this dish as is. The plowed snow piles do look like mountains and we are supposed to get a foot more on Monday.

      1. Now they have updated the possible totals to 12 to 18 inches. There is no better place to enjoy summer and fall than in Maine but the two of you are wise to not spend winters there. 😀

  4. Lentils are on my list when it comes to comfort food. A lentil soup will warm you on a cold day and a salad will give you the pleasure of eating something healthy and delicious to which you can add a protein of your choice. Your salad looks fantastic and I would love to eat it on a bench with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

    1. Hi Gerlinde, I’m happy that you like the salad. I wish we were both sitting on a bench with a view the Eiffel Tower right now because it is bitter cold here today.

  5. Hello Karen nice to see you are still giving us more tasty meals for the cold winter months. Another variation on a sausage & Lentil recipe Mr France makes for us. i will have to print it off and he can add it to his repetoire of dishes he likes to cook..

    1. Hi Barbara, It has been bitter cold here in New England and I think this makes are warm and comforting meal for a winter’s evening…thanks. I hope Mr. France approves of this lentil and sausage recipe. 🙂

  6. I just cooked some brown lentils and plan to make some salad for the lunch tomorrow. This recipe comes just in time! It looks great!

    1. Hi Darryl, I’m glad you like the salad idea…we enjoyed it. We flew home from Texas and arrived to snow, then two days later we had the Nor’easter with 3 ft. of snow. And now…guess what, we are getting another 10 to 18 inches in our area. Spring can’t come soon enough. 🙂

  7. Hello Karen- I’m new here, and my, what a beautiful tribute to your mother, so sorry for your loss. What a well lived life indeed. I look forward to experiencing your adventures, finds and shares here, take care.

    1. Hi Khaiti, Thank you for stopping by my blog and your lovely comment…I look forward to your visits. I appreciate your kind words about my mother…that’s very kind.

  8. I haven’t had this dish in years (decades!), and it’s been longer than that since I’ve made it. In fact it’s slipped from my memory — thanks for reminding me how wonderful this is! Plus your carrots etc. show really good knife skills. 😉 Really nice post — thanks!

    1. Hi John, I’m glad that this post about my lentil salad reminds you how good they are. I appreciate your compliment, regarding my knife skills. It may take a little longer to cut veggies into a small dice but I think it pays off in the presentation…thank you!

    1. Hi Susan, I think topping the lentil salad with tasty sausages is kind of like icing on a cake. 🙂 Don’t you just love the French lentils…I think they have such a nice taste and texture. I’m happy you like the dish, thank you!

  9. Looks perfect for the weather! I have only once been able to find Merguez sausages without garlic. Maybe I need to learn to make my own! Stay warm, Karen!

  10. What a wonderful combination! I haven’t had merguez sausages for years, and most certainly never with lentils. Bookmarked and in the pipeline!

    1. Hi Ginger, I do think the combination of the lentils and merguez is a good one. I hope you will enjoy the dish and appreciate your nice compliment.

  11. This looks like a delicious meal.The recipe has lots of interesting ingredients. Green lentils are easy to get here but I would have to substitute the sausage with your suggestion – chorizo.

    1. Thank you Jovina, for your nice compliment. I think chorizo is a good substitute if you can’t find merguez. I can only find it at one market and it is made by D’Artagnan…they have an online site and ship everywhere, if you want to try it.

  12. We must be on the same wave length Karen. We’re have a warm lentil salad with sausage this weekend. With you great pictures, you have me wishing was in a bistro in Paris enjoying your lovely meal for dinner. Just wish I could find lamb sausages…

    1. It does sound like we are on the same wavelength, Sam. I just mentioned to Jovina that the lamb sausages I use are made by D’Artagnan. If you can’t find them, they have a website and ship everywhere. They have wonderful products…I’ve used their confit duck legs, duck fat and veal demi glace among other things.

    1. Thank you Ronit, for your nice compliment. It can be hard to achieve good color and texture contrasts with lentils…it is one of the reasons that I cooked the carrots and potatoes separately and then mixed them into the salad. 🙂

  13. When I saw your first picture even without reading, I thought to myself, it looks quite French haha then I gave myself an internal sticker 😛
    I can see you dreaming of France, this meal is a warm and comforting way to do that 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Hi Teresa, If you like lamb then you will certainly enjoy spicy merguez sausages…they are loaded with flavor. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  14. Love lentils and merguez sausages. I just posted a meatball recipe I adapted from David Lebovitz , a baker/chef in Paris. He likes these sausages so much he came up with a recipe he could make at home via meatballs. Check it out as they are spicy and very good 🙂

    1. Hi Judi, I have made my own version of merguez meatballs before I starting blogging and didn’t measure so I haven’t been able to shared it here. I’ll have to try the recipe sometime.

    1. Hi Meg, This is a very nice dish…I’m happy you like it. Yes, wouldn’t it be fun to have a picnic while enjoying the view of the Eiffel Tower. 😀

  15. This evening, I made a lovely y green lentil quinoa veggie salad! A,d this is a recipe that I absolutely love! MMMMMM,… Georgous colors & flavors in here!

  16. I love your image of the Eiffel Tower and I really must get there one day soon to enjoy a picnic on that park bench. It looks like your lentil dish has plenty of French flavours and those due puy lentils are my favourite xx

    1. Thank you Charlie, for your nice compliment about the recipe and photo. Would you believe that my husband took that photo with our point and shot camera while we were on the top of a double decker bus as it was driving by the Eiffel Tower. I don’t think it could have been much better if it was taken with our Canon on a tripod. I definitely think you and your sweet husband should plan a trip to that magical and romantic city called Paris. 🙂

  17. Hi Karen, this dish sounds fantastic! We have Puy-style lentils grown here in Australia now. Just love them!

    1. Hi Lizzy, It is nice to know that lentils are being grown in other parts of the world now so that more of us can enjoy them…I really like their taste and texture. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  18. An appetizing and healthy salad any time of the year! Don’t use much in the way of sausages but greatly appreciate merguez. Have made similar many times but not added fennel: thanks for an interesting tip!

  19. It’s such a delicious combination. Yet I never seem to get mine quite right. And haven’t cooked them in an age. My neighbour directly above me (in Central London) worked for a very trendy café in Hoxton, and they cooked this with roasted quail – one of my favourites. But I’ve never managed to replicate their recipe. There’s time!

    1. I’m glad you like the combination, Johnny. I can imagine how good lentils and roasted quail would be. Your so busy now…I’m sure you wish there were more hours in the day.
      Take care, my friend.

  20. Sounds like perfect comfort food and I’m imagining enjoying it while gazing at the Eiffel Tower! You’re right those Lentils de Puy are the best!

    1. Hi Mandy, I have to agree with you that I think this is a dish that can be enjoyed no matter the season. Thank you for your compliment and wish…I hope the rest of your week is nice as well. 😀

  21. I’ve never eaten a lentil salad – they always sound so plain to me. But this post has changed my attitude toward them. I’d love to try one that’s so flavourful!

    1. Hi Beth, I think that you will find a lentil salad to be very good…especially if you use quality and flavorful ingredients. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Cheri, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and recipe for the warm lentil salad. Since it was inspired by French bistros, I thought a view of the Eiffel Tower was a good ending to the post.

  22. I’m a huge fan of lentils, and agree that they and sausage are a match made in heaven. Your salad looks delicious. And, did you know that most of the world’s lentils are produced in Canada, the province of Saskatchewan to be more precise? There you go, your fact of the day 😊

    1. Hi Marlene, Thanks for the fact of the day…I would not have guessed about Canada being a huge producer of lentils. We always learn something new from our blogging friends, thank you. 😀

  23. My most recent soup post featured Puy Lentils. A hardy lentil, indeed! I found mine in the bulk section of Whole Foods Market. And I live a fairly smallish town in the middle of Oregon. Very nice French recipe, thank you Karen!

    1. Hi Kathryn, I’m glad that you like the recipe…thank you. Your kale, lentil and bacon soup is perfect for a winter’s day. We don’t have a Whole Foods Market in our area…I know everyone likes them for the variety of foods they carry.

  24. Wonderful Saturday night supper. I used andouille sausage, living in the mountains of East Tennessee you can be limited in choices, and it was delish. I have tried several of your recipes and even though I don’t comment much, they have all been wonderful. Thanks for your ideas. Happy sunny living.

    1. Thank you Susan, for not only your visit and compliment but for letting me know that you have tried and liked some of my recipes. I’m very appreciative when someone takes the time to let me know they enjoy a meal made with one of them. 😀

  25. I think I can picture the scene in my mind right now. How lovely that would be to dine at a French bistro – it’s definitely on my bucket list. In the meantime, I can dream and this would be so lovely to serve. I do like sausage and need to find your suggestion.

    1. Hi Linda, Yes…I like dreaming about places to visit and the foods enjoyed while on those travels. I believe you would enjoy the French inspired meal. Thank you, it is always good to hear from you.

    1. Hi Raymund, chorizo would be a good substitute but if you have some French shops, I think you will find the Merguez. I believe you would really enjoy them.

  26. It sure does transport me back to Paris. The wonderful meals we had at the unpretentious little bistros. We make the Lentils du Puys salad regularly in the summer and I almost always top it with a poached egg but I do love sausage so this would definitely be a splurge for us. Very tasty indeed.

    1. Hi Eva, I love it when a meal can remind us of one of the many places we have traveled and Paris has so many wonderful little bistros with dishes like this. I’m glad you like the idea of the salad topped with sausage…especially Merguez, they are so flavorful. Thank you.

  27. Oh would I love to be sitting beneath the Eiffel Tower having a picnic right about now! Alas, i’ll take second best with this for comfort food. Where in the world did you find those sausages? They look fantastic!

    1. I agree with you Diane…a picnic instead of all our snow and bitter cold would be lovely. The sausage are made by D’Artagnan and I buy them at Butcher Boy in Andover, Mass. They are delicious!

  28. That’s definitely some good eating on your plate. I’m not familiar with the sausage but it looks and sounds great with the salad. Ah, to be back in Paris, would be perfect too!

    1. Thank you Pam, for your compliment. If you like lamb and spicy food, then I think you would enjoy Merguez. The ones I buy are by D’Artagnan…they have a website where you can buy them online if you can’t find them in one of your local markets.

  29. I will try this as soon as I find the green lentils, already bought the fennel so I was hoping to find some locally but may have to order online. Do you get yours at a specialty market? Sounds delicious.

    1. Hi Mary Ann, I don’t have the bag from the one I used but I do know that Bob’s Red Mill carries them in their line of products and they are in most grocery stores. I hope you can find them…enjoy.

  30. My goodness, Karen. I went out of town for a little bit and so much has happened. I’m very, very sorry for the loss of your mother. My heart really goes out to you and your family. And then to hear you’re moving! I can imagine the mixed feelings, but I have to say I can really understand the move to a warmer, much easier climate! It will be fun to follow along with your changes and adjustments! And today’s recipe is a winner. I love green lentils, and my family, probably more than I, love Merguez sausages. I would just love to have a recipe that I could surprise them with–they wouldn’t be anticipating it. LOL! I’m looking forward to that surprise. 🙂

    1. Hi Debra, yes there has been a lot going on in my life lately. Thank you for your kind words concerning the loss of my mother, they are much appreciated. As much as we will miss beautiful New England, we just can’t take its harsh winters anymore…too much snow to deal with. I’m happy to know that you want to surprise your family with this recipe, I hope everyone enjoys it.

  31. I do love a good lentil salad, and this one sounds fantastic. 🙂 I didn’t realize it was Parisian bistro food, but now I can think of Paris when I eat it. 🙂

    1. Hi Krista, Yes…lentil salads are very popular in the bistros of Paris and other parts of France. I think it is fun to think of yourself being in a far off place you have been to while enjoying a meal. I’m glad you like this dish, thank you.

    1. Hi Norma, It is nice to see you out in the blog world again and I’m glad you are feeling better. I don’t think you should have any problem finding the Lentils de Puy in your area…I think they are worth looking for.

  32. A lovely dish with a lovely view. I really do not cook with lentils enough and they really can make a dish interesting and a a great protein source. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Hi Bobbie, You are right about lentils being a good source of protein. I’m happy to know my post has inspired you to cook lentils more often.

    1. Hi Angela, I’m happy to have brought back memories from your recent engagement in Paris…such a romantic city…congratulations. 😀 I believe you would enjoy the lamb sausages, Merguez is a little spicy and full of flavor.

  33. What a delicious and comforting warm salad…I absolutely love the idea of using lentils…although I have never heard of this sausage…it sure sounds great.
    Hope you are having a fabulous week Karen 🙂

    1. Thank you Juliana, for your nice compliment about the lentil salad…it really is a comforting dish. The sausages originated in North Africa and are very popular in France.

  34. delicious! Lentils are a favorite food, but never sure what to do with them outside of soup. Great idea to pair with sausage 🙂

    1. Hi Jason, If you are like my husband, I believe you will enjoy this meal. I would think you could find the sausage in a cosmopolitan city like Chicago. I bet if you Google where to buy Merguez in Chicago…a store will probably come up. If not, kielbasa would be very good. Good luck in the search.

    1. Hi Lisa, You are such a lucky girl to have a local source for duck confit. It will be absolutely delicious with this salad…even if eaten without a view of the Eiffel Tower. 😀

  35. Dear Karen, I have always enjoyed lentils. It is a dish that is so versatile. This certainly looks wonderful. I like meals that transport us to the places they represent.

    1. Hi Catherine, I’m glad you are like me and enjoy dishes that take us to places we have been or wish to be. Thank you for your nice compliment. 🙂

    1. Hi Alida, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I’m glad you like the lentil salad and the photo of the Eiffel Tower…I thought it would be a nice thing to think about while enjoying this meal. 🙂

  36. Hi Karen,
    One of the few things I am able to find here in central PA is green lentils. I still remember how surprised I was to find them. As you can imagine, I make them often but I must say, it has been quite a while since I’ve made a warm lentil salad. This post has been a much needed inspiration. Thank you…

    Hope all is healing well in your little corner of the world…

    1. Hi Louise, I’m happy that this post has inspired you to create warm lentil salad…they really area good. Thank you for your kind wish. 🙂

  37. The first thing we do when we land in Paris is to buy a picnic lunch and head for the Eiffel Tower. I’m awe struck every time I see that magnificent structure. What a lovely salad, Karen. I can almost taste all the delicious flavors.

    1. Hi Cathy, You know where I’m coming from with having a picnic by the Eiffel Tower. 😀 I’m glad you like the salad, I think it is a good one…thank you.

    1. Hi Alli, If you were a neighbor, I’d certainly invite you over for this meal. Come to think about it…I doubt you would want to accept the invitation since it is bitter cold and we have 5 feet of snow on the ground. We will just dream of the picnic instead. 😀 Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Donna, If you love lamb I believe you will really enjoy the Merguez sausage. It adds lots of flavor to this dish and many others. Thanks for your visit and comment.

  38. The Puy lentils are some of my favourite. I love how they hold their shape and are perfect in salads. I also like Merguez sausages, so this dish is quite perfect!
    I hope you are doing well, Karen. xx

    1. Thank you Nazneen, for your nice compliment and wish, they are much appreciated. I’m glad that you agree with me about how good both Puy lentils and Merguez sausages are…they certainly were a nice paring in this dish. 😀

  39. I love lentil salad and yours looks gorgeous! (Especially with merguez on top!). Now that you say that, lentilles de Puy do keep their shape better than other varieties (I only buy these because I love their taste and have never thought about the technical side). Merguez has become such a staple in France, it’s difficult to imagine it’s arrived not such a long time ago from Northern Africa… There is a famous butcher in the North specialising in merguez and apparently he has clients from whole France who sometimes drive 5 hours only to buy his BEST product. Good merguez from a good butcher’s is my favourite raw sausage type in France. I should have bought merguez instead of shrimps and scallops today 🙂

  40. Fabulous recipe. Since our children started eating at school in France they too now love lentils, I think they are highly underestimated by far too many people, when in truth they are delicious and nutritious. Of course eaten with a view of the Eiffel Tower would certainly make them even better!

  41. It’s gotten so cold this weekend and a bowl of this lentil soup would have been perfect to enjoy, my kind of winter comfort food! Thank you for the recipe Karen!

  42. I loved dining in French Bistros.. that seems like forever ago now. I’ve been searching high and low for Lentils de Puy here, but still no luck and every time I see them I am more determined to find them. I’m so intrigued to taste the difference in flavour. xx

  43. Oh my, but this does sound delicious. I love lentils. Suppers like this are so simple and so satisfying. I’d take this over fancy restaurant food any day of the week. I hope things are going well for you.

  44. I thought I had left a comment earlier, but did not see it. Guess I was wrong. I love this whole dish. Just the thought of being in Paris again enjoying something like this makes me very happy. We stayed in the 7th the last two times we were there, so the Eiffel Tower was always in view either straight on or peaking through the tree tops. I feel like it is now my neighborhood. Great post Karen.

    1. Hi Penny, I checked my spam folder and didn’t find an earlier comment but I’m glad that you stopped by again to comment. I’m happy that this post reminded you of your visits to Paris and thank you for your lovely compliment.

  45. Karen Im so sorry your mom passed away, what beautiful she was! amazing!
    And looking your pictures yes I noticed your winter was hard.!
    We are at the end of the summer here and I love autumn but Im thinking how will be our winter??
    BTW I love lentils and this look amazing! I think I have lentils in my pantry so I will make soon!!
    a big hug

    1. Hi Claire, I’m glad you like the recipe. It is nice you were able to stock up on Puy Lentils when you were last in France…they are certainly worth seeking out for their taste and texture in dishes.

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