Lentil Soup is one of our go-to’s around here, and this is the recipe we always come back to again and again. Click here to jump to the recipe, or read on and get the recipe at the bottom of this post.
Have you ever heard of a soup party? Don’t worry if you haven’t, because I hadn’t either… until last weekend when some friends of ours hosted one. How it works: everyone brings a big pot of homemade soup, and we all get to try a little of everything. Kind of brilliant, right? The soup lover in me could not have been happier!
This lentil soup was The Husband and I’s contribution. It’s one of our favorites, and although lentil soup is incredibly easy to make, we were pretty sure it wasn’t something everyone else would be bringing. We were right. Is there a stigma about lentils that I don’t know about? It seems like people always turn their nose up at them, until they try a bite of this soup… then their eyes light up with surprise when whatever it was they were expecting turns out to be totally delicious.
I guess that’s just the power of homemade soup.
While we were there, we got to try nearly a dozen other soups, including jambalaya, chicken tortilla, meatball tortellini, seafood chowder, broccoli cheese, a whole slew of chilis, ham and bean… the list goes on. The hardest part was not getting too full before we’d had a chance to taste them all!
Needless to say, I came out of there with a seriously full belly, and soooo many soup ideas to play with down the road. In the meantime, though, this lentil soup still holds its place as one of my all time favorites. The warm spices and veggies make for a really hearty and filling meal, and just a little bit of bacon lends a huge boost of flavor. If you’ve ever been skeptical of lentils, give these a try and they might just change your mind.
- 4-5 slices bacon -- optional, see recipe notes*
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ tsp. cumin powder
- ¾ tsp. ground coriander
- ½ tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper
- 1 lb. brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes (or you use fresh tomatoes, if they're in season)
- 2 quarts low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped (about 3-4 cups)
- 1 big handful fresh parsley, chopped (about 1 cup)
- Salt, to taste
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel, and set aside. Leave the bacon grease in the pan for sauteing the veggies. (If you want to make the soup vegetarian / vegan, see recipe notes below.)
- Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan, along with a big pinch of salt, and saute for 6-8 minutes. If the vegetables start to brown too much, turn the heat down. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and cook for another 2-3 minutes to toast the spices.
- Add the bell pepper, lentils, tomatoes, chicken or vegetable stock, and another big pinch of salt. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to low, and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the lentils are tender, but not mushy.
- Optional: you can leave the soup like this, or, for a thicker consistency, puree some of it by transferring a few ladle fulls to a blender, then returning to the pot, or using an immersion blender. You can puree as much or as little of the soup as you'd like, to reach the desired consistency. (I like to use an immersion blender, pulsing for just a minute or so, for a thickened but not smooth consistency.)
- Chop the kale, parsley, and reserved bacon, and stir them into the pot. Season with salt, to taste. Serve immediately, or let cool and store in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a couple of months. Soup is even better the next day, once the flavors have had a chance to mingle. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Alton Brown -- check it out Lentil Soup here.