Don’t settle for a bland Lentil Soup. Make it right and you’ll have everyone begging for seconds….and thirds! All it takes is a hint of spice flavourings, bay leaves and finishing it off with a touch of lemon. It makes all the difference!
Lentil soup is quite possibly the least sexy sounding soup on the planet. At least, in my world. Regular readers know that I’m all about big flavours. Spicy, herby, curries – kapow, kapow, kapow!
But you know what? There is something utterly soul warming about lentil soup. And when it is made right, you’ll go back for seconds and thirds, then you’ll be taking big tubs of it to work for lunch and happily have it for dinner again. 🙂
I think there are two – maybe 3 – things that I do differently to standard lentil soup recipes. Firstly, I add a touch of spices – cumin, coriander and paprika. Not too much, just a hint of it. Secondly, I use bay leaves – I really love that subtle earthiness it adds to the soup.
And lastly, I finish it off with the zest and juice of a lemon. I really feel like it’s that perfect finishing touch to just brighten it up a bit. Little tip I picked up from Barefoot Contessa many years ago – she believes that almost everything benefits from a little lemon!!!
Oh wait! I also thicken the soup by whizzing it up partially using a stick blender or transferring some into a blender. I’m just not sure whether that’s common practice! I don’t use tomato paste or flour as a thickener – I just feel that whizzing up the lentils and veggies makes a fantastic soup broth!
This lentil soup is a classic recipe that will work with pretty much any legume. I like to make mine with dried green lentils, but that’s mainly because it’s the most widely available here in Australia. Brown lentils, even red and yellow (albeit the soup colour will look quite different), chickpeas and other beans will all work great with this recipe.
You most definitely can make a shortcut version using canned lentils. But in all honesty, there is not much difference in the cooking time. Even using canned lentils, you need at least 15 – 20 minutes for the soup to simmer so the flavours can come together. Using dried lentils, it takes 35 minutes (no need to soak). Also I feel that dried lentils make a nicer soup because the starch that’s released while it cooks in the soup broth thickens it slightly.
Fellow Sydney-siders are permitted to curse me for bringing back miserable weather with me from Japan. I swear, we’ve had 10 consecutive days of rain which is ridiculous, we’ve just barely finished summer!
So instead of BBQ-ing sausages outdoors, we’re making winter food like this Lentil Soup.
Serving this with warm bread slathered liberally with butter is not optional. It’s an essential part of the Lentil Soup experience! – Nagi xx
Don't settle for a bland lentil soup. Make it right, and you'll have everyone begging for seconds...and thirds! The touch of spices and finishing it off with lemon really lifts this soup to the next level. Recipe VIDEO below.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped (white, brown, yellow)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large carrot, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 2 celery ribs, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 2 cups / 400g dried lentils, green (or brown), rinsed and drained
- 400g / 14 oz crushed tomato
- 1.5 litres / 1.5 quarts / 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock / broth
- 1/2 tsp each cumin and coriander powder
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika powder
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 lemon (zest + juice)
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Warm bread, to serve
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 2 minutes.
Add celery and carrot. Cook for 7 - 10 minutes or until softened and the onion is sweet. Don't rush this step, it is key to the flavour base of the soup.
Add all remaining ingredients except the lemon and salt. Stir.
Increase heat and bring to simmer. Scoop scum on the surface off and discard (do this again during cooking if required). Place lid on and turn heat down to medium low. Simmer for 35 - 40 minutes or until lentils are soft.
Thicken Soup: Using a stick blender, do 2 or 3 quick whizzes to thicken the soup (see video below). Or transfer 2 cups to a blender, let it cool slightly, then hold lid with tea towel and blend then transfer back into pot.
Add a touch of water if you want to adjust soup consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Grate over the zest of the lemon then add a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve with warm crusty bread slathered liberally with butter!
1. I really urge you to make this with dried lentils if you can. Better texture and flavour compared to canned. However, to make this with canned, use 2 x 400g/14oz cans of lentils (drained and rinsed) and reduce the broth by 1 cup. Simmer liquid for 20 minutes before adding the lentils then cook with lentils for another 15 minutes (don’t want to cook canned lentils for too longer otherwise they will turn into mush).
2. This freezes extremely well!
3. Nutrition per serving.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Lentil Soup recipe video!
LIFE OF DOZER
He contributes less than nothing to this household, he actually contributes negative. Dropping fur everywhere, shaking vigorously so it flies everywhere along with an inordinate amount of sand, constantly sprawling out in my path so I’m forced to step over him (remember, I’m vertically challenged = giant steps). Giant 💩 all over the backyard, so big I need both of my Baby Hands to pick them up. Barks furiously at tree branches swaying in the breeze but I swear, he would happily show a robber where my jewellery box is in exchange for a pat.
Useless!!! (And yet we love them so much, don’t we?☺️)
PS Another example of his uselessness – he spends 22 hours a day doing this. The other 2 hours are spent a) eating b) hoping to eat c) playing.