Lentil soup is a nourishing and wholesome dish that has stood the test of time, cherished for its simplicity and robust flavour. Bursting with earthy goodness, this recipe combines the humble lentil with an aromatic blend of vegetables and spices, resulting in a hearty and satisfying bowl of comfort. Whether enjoyed as a soul-soothing meal on a chilly evening or a nutritious addition to your weekly menu, this lentil soup promises both culinary delight and a nutritional boost. Embrace the warmth and wholesome essence of this timeless recipe as it graces your table with its comforting presence.
How To Make This Recipe
- 1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
- 1.5 litres vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Lemon wedges (for serving)
- Prepare Lentils:
- Rinse the lentils under cold water and drain them. Set aside.
- Sauté Vegetables:
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.
- Add Aromatics:
- Add the minced garlic, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, turmeric, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook for another minute, stirring constantly to release the flavours.
- Tomatoes and Lentils:
- Stir in the diced tomatoes (with their juice) and drained lentils. Cook for a couple of minutes, allowing the ingredients to meld together.
- Add Broth:
- Pour in the vegetable broth. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
- Season and Adjust:
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you want a thinner consistency, you can add more broth at this stage.
- Remove the bay leaf. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Serve hot with crusty bread or crackers.
Tips Of Recipe
- Lentil Selection: Opt for green or brown lentils as they hold their shape well during cooking, providing a pleasing texture to the soup.
- Pre-soak (Optional): While not necessary, soaking lentils for a few hours can reduce cooking time. However, it’s perfectly fine to use them without soaking.
- Aromatics Infusion: Allow the garlic and spices to sizzle gently in the hot oil. This step releases their full flavour potential, enhancing the overall taste of the soup.
- Tomato Choice: Choose canned diced tomatoes with no added flavours for a pure, natural taste. You can also use fresh tomatoes if they’re in season.
- Vegetable Broth Quality: If possible, use a good-quality, low-sodium vegetable broth. This forms the base of your soup and greatly influences its final taste.
- Simmering Time: Allow the soup to simmer until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape. This typically takes around 30-40 minutes. Overcooking may result in mushy lentils.
- Seasoning Gradually: Taste the soup before adding salt and adjust accordingly. Remember that some vegetable broths may already contain salt.
- Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Chopped parsley adds a burst of freshness and colour to the finished dish. You can also experiment with other herbs like cilantro or mint.
- Serving Suggestion: A squeeze of lemon juice just before serving brightens up the flavours and adds a zesty touch.
- Storage and Reheating: Lentil soup keeps well in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. When reheating, add a bit of extra broth or water to reach your desired consistency.
- Customize to Taste: Feel free to experiment with additional vegetables like spinach, kale, or zucchini for added nutrition and flavour.
- Pair with Complementary Sides: Serve with warm crusty bread, a side salad, or some crackers for a well-rounded meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Can I use red lentils instead of green or brown? Yes, you can. However, red lentils tend to cook faster and can result in a smoother, thicker soup. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Q2: Can I freeze lentil soup? Absolutely! Lentil soup freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring to airtight containers. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Q3: Can I substitute vegetable broth with chicken broth? Certainly. If you’re not following a vegetarian or vegan diet, chicken broth can be used as a substitute. It will add a slightly different flavour profile to the soup.
Q4: How can I make the soup spicier? For added heat, consider adding a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce. Adjust to your personal preference.
Q5: Can I make this soup in a slow cooker or instant pot? Yes, you can adapt this recipe for a slow cooker or instant pot. Adjust the cooking times and settings according to the specific appliance’s instructions.
Q6: What are some possible variations to this recipe? You can add greens like spinach or kale, or incorporate other vegetables like sweet potatoes or bell peppers. Additionally, adding a squeeze of lemon or a dollop of yogurt can offer a delightful twist.
Q7: Is lentil soup suitable for a gluten-free diet? Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten-free. Just ensure that any store-bought ingredients like broth or canned tomatoes are labelled as gluten-free.
Q8: Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh? Yes, dried herbs can be used in place of fresh ones. However, use them sparingly as they are more concentrated in flavour. Generally, you can use one-third of the amount of dried herbs compared to fresh.
Q9: Can I make this soup ahead of time? Certainly. In fact, the flavours often deepen if the soup is allowed to sit for a few hours or overnight. Just reheat gently before serving.
Q10: How can I adjust the consistency of the soup if it’s too thick or too thin? If it’s too thick, add a bit more broth or water until you reach your desired consistency. If it’s too thin, let it simmer uncovered for a bit longer to reduce and thicken.
- Calories: 250 kcal
- Protein: 15g
- Carbohydrates: 40g
- Dietary Fiber: 15g
- Sugars: 8g
- Fat: 5g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Sodium: 800mg
- Vitamin A: 120% DV
- Vitamin C: 20% DV
- Calcium: 8% DV
- Iron: 30% DV
Note: These values are approximate and may vary based on specific ingredients and portion sizes used in the recipe. Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Lentil soup is a nutritious choice, rich in protein, dietary fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. It’s particularly high in iron, which is important for maintaining healthy blood cells. The soup is also a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which contribute to overall immune health and well-being.
- Crusty Bread: Serve the lentil soup with slices of warm, crusty bread. It’s perfect for dunking and soaking up the delicious flavours.
- Garlic Croutons: Top the soup with homemade or store-bought garlic croutons for an added crunch and garlicky flavour.
- Fresh Salad: Pair the soup with a simple salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette for a refreshing contrast.
- Yogurt or Sour Cream: A dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream adds a creamy texture and a tangy contrast to the earthy flavours of the soup.
- Lemon Wedges: Serve each bowl with a wedge of lemon on the side. Squeezing a bit of lemon juice just before eating brightens up the flavours.
- Avocado Slices: For a creamy, nutrient-rich addition, top the soup with slices of ripe avocado. It provides a delightful creaminess and healthy fats.
- Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle some chopped fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or mint on top of the soup for a burst of colour and added freshness.
- Grated Cheese: If you’re not following a vegan diet, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan or crumbled feta cheese can be a wonderful finishing touch.
- Chili Flakes or Hot Sauce: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, offer a small bowl of chili flakes or hot sauce on the side for customised spiciness.
- Side of Steamed Vegetables: Serve the soup alongside a medley of steamed or roasted vegetables for an extra dose of nutrients and texture.
- Sliced Hard-Boiled Eggs: Place a few slices of hard-boiled egg on top of each serving for added protein and a delightful contrast in texture.
- Toasted Nuts or Seeds: A sprinkle of toasted nuts or seeds, such as pumpkin seeds or almonds, adds a lovely crunch and nutty flavour.