As the seasons change and the temperatures begin to drop, you may find yourself craving some comfort foods. Whether you’re looking for a light yet filling meal or something to make you feel warm inside, this delicious lentil soup recipe is for you.
I love lentil soup because of how easy it is to make. It has a rich flavor profile from the vegetables and herbs. This is one of my favorite go-to dishes and I hope it becomes one for you too.
What Are Lentils?
Lentils are edible seeds from the legume family, which includes beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts. The name “lentil” comes from the Latin word for “lens,” which makes sense since the dried seed looks like a little lens.
Lentils are a great way to get a wide range of nutrients. They are made up of over 25% protein and are packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. Lentils are also a great source of iron and are high in fiber.
These legumes are thought to have originated in the Near East and are routinely cultivated throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Because they are so widespread, lentils come in different varieties. Here are the most common types:
Green lentils, also referred to as French lentils, have a nutty, slightly peppery flavor and maintain a medium to firm texture when they are boiled. They are perfect for salads and side dishes.
Red and yellow lentils are common in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. They have a sweeter flavor, cook fast, and often lose their shape after being cooked. They are best for puréed soups, dals, and curries.
Black lentils are also called beluga lentils. They are tiny, shiny and look like caviar. Their rich, earthy flavor is a perfect complement to meaty vegetables such as mushrooms.
Brown lentils are found in most grocery stores in the U.S. Because of their mild, earthy flavor and the ability to hold their texture after being cooked, brown lentils do well in many recipes.
How To Cook Lentils
You can have lentils ready for use in other recipes in 4 easy steps.
1. Rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh sieve under running water. Pick out any bad lentils, debris, or small stones.
2. Add four cups of water and one cup of lentils to a pot.
3. Bring the pot to a boil then reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Cover and let it cook for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the variety.
4. Drain the water from the lentils and use in your favorite recipe.
Ingredients You’ll Need For Lentil Soup
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this hearty soup.
Lentils. Use either green or brown lentils. Both work well because they hold their shape as the dish cooks. You can also use black lentils, but your soup will not be as thick.
Vegetables. A mix of hearty vegetables makes for a great flavor base as well as adding color, texture, and fiber to the soup. I like to use carrots, butternut squash, celery, and scallions.
Herbs. You might have heard about the antiviral properties of herbs during the Healthy Meal Prep Summit. I use plenty of them in my cooking. I went with bay leaves, basil, and oregano. Dried herbs can be more potent because they are concentrated, so if it’s 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano, add only half that when using the dried variety.
Water/stock. You can use plain water or homemade vegetable stock made from leftover vegetable scraps. This adds more flavor to the dish.
Kombu. This is the secret ingredient that gives my lentil soup such great flavor. Kombu is an edible kelp, a type of Japanese seaweed. Mildly salty and subtly sweet, kombu contains glutamic acid and provides the soup with umami flavor. To rehydrate dried kombu, soak it in water for 10 to 15 minutes.
Making Lentil Soup
There’s no need to fry up vegetables in oil with this lentil soup recipe. In a large pot, add the chopped carrots, kombu, butternut squash, bay leaves, dried basil and oregano, chopped celery, and chopped scallions (use onions if you don’t have scallions).
Add the drained lentils on top of the vegetables then add some water or vegetable stock to the pot. The liquid should be enough to cover the lentils and vegetables by an inch or so.
Bring the mixture to a boil then cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
At around the 25-minute mark, add the chopped zucchini and cook the vegetables for 5 more minutes. Add a splash of your cooking liquid if you prefer your soup to be thin.
Add your favorite seasoning. I like to add a touch of balsamic or apple cider vinegar as well as a teaspoon of Redmond’s sea salt. You can also add a drizzle of olive oil right before serving.
Serve while hot.
Lentil Soup: Tips and Tricks
If you have trouble digesting lentils, try soaking them in a bowl filled with water for several hours (2 hours to overnight) before cooking. Make sure to pour out the leftover, unabsorbed water, and rinse the lentils in fresh water.
To add some creaminess to the dish, blend up a portion of the soup (around 2 cups) once the lentils are tender and then pour it back into the pot.
Lentil soup freezes and defrosts well. Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for several months.Print
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 1-inch piece dried kombu, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
- 1 cup cubed butternut squash
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped scallions or onion
- 1 ½ cups lentils, rinsed and soaked for 1 hour
- Enough water to cover everything by one inch
- 1 ¼ cups chopped zucchini
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Redmond sea salt
- Optional: Cracked black pepper, drizzle of olive oil when
- In a large soup pot, place the carrots. Mince the kombu and add that as well. Add the squash, bay leaves, basil, oregano, celery and scallions. Drain the lentils. Top the vegetables with the rinsed lentils. Add enough water to cover everything by one inch of water.
- Bring to a boil on high heat. Lower to simmer on low heat, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes. Make sure the lentils are very soft. You can partly blend the soup with an immersion blender. Add the zucchini, apple cider vinegar and sea salt. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Serve hot.
If You Enjoyed This Recipe Then Try…
My white bean soup recipe that is super easy to make and will fill you up.
This vegan cornbread recipe from The Simple Veganista that is a perfect side for lentil soup.
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