Don’t settle for 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. Bonus: This is a really easy lentil soup recipe!
A really great Lentil Soup
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? A well made Lentil Soup is can’t-stop-eating-it good. 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.
And – I’m going to say it (*head swell*) – plenty of readers have said this is the best lentil soup they’ve ever had!
What goes in Lentil Soup
Here’s what goes in my lentil soup. Nothing fancy, just everyday ingredients.
So what makes this Lentil Soup so good?
A touch of spices. Cooking the onion, carrot and celery slowly so they sweeten and make a beautiful flavour base.
And the “secret” ingredient – lemon. Yes really. Little tip I picked up from Ina Garten. Just a bit of zest and squeeze of fresh lemon makes all the difference which takes it from really good to great!
Which lentils to use for Lentil Soup
Dried lentils are best for lentil soup. You can use most types of lentils for this recipe – brown, green, red or yellow, though it will affect the colour of the soup. I’ve used green lentils, pictured below.
The only type of lentil I do not recommend is Puy Lentils (little black French lentils) because they hold their shape and don’t soften like other lentils.
This can even be made using canned lentils. But there is not much difference in the cooking time because 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.
How to make Lentil Soup
I start off my soup by sautéing onion, garlic, carrots and celery over low heat for almost 10 minutes. Take your time here – the lower the heat, the longer you take, the better the flavour base for the soup!
Then simply add everything else in other than the lemon. Give it a mix, then simmer until the lentils are soft (but not mushy!).
This lentil soup is thickened naturally by whizzing up the soup just a little bit. It’s quick and easy to do using a blender stick, but if you don’t have one, just transfer some into a blender then add it back.
And the perfect finishing touch – a little lemon zest and drizzle of lemon juice. A hint of lemon earthiness from the zest and touch of freshness from the juice just jazzes up the soup and takes it to that next level!
Do this just before serving into the pot, or in individual bowls.
Every time I make Lentil Soup, I always wonder why I don’t make it more often. It’s healthy, filling, super economical, freezes perfectly, versatile and it’s seriously good.
Serving this with some sort of warm crusty bread for dunking is not optional. It’s an essential part of the Lentil Soup experience.
But it is optional whether you slather said bread with butter, or grill it with cheese! – Nagi xx
Watch how to make it
Recipe VIDEO above. 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.
- 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 (Note 1))
- 400g / 14 oz crushed tomato
- 1.5 litres / 1.5 quarts (6 cups) vegetable or chicken (stock / broth, low sodium)
- 1/2 tsp each cumin and coriander powder
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika powder
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 lemon (zest + juice)
- 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, (each)
- 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. Lentils: This should work with any type of lentils except Puy Lentils (French lentils, small dark brown/black ones because they hold their shape). Red, yellow, brown, green. The colour of the soup will just be a bit different.
Cook times vary slightly as well so just start checking if the lentils are done at around 30 minutes.
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 lentils, 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. Storage: This freezes extremely well! Or keeps in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
3. Nutrition per serving.
Lentil Soup recipe originally published March 2017, spruced up with new pics, new video and fresh new writing. Absolutely no change to recipe – it’s been a firm reader favourite from day 1, so I wouldn’t dare touch it!
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. 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.