I learned how to make lentil soup by watching my grandmother, who would come to our house every Wednesday when my mom went to work full-time. So, she’d be cooking and I’d watch and learn from her. I’ve modified mine a little bit from hers by adding the ham. I like the smokey flavor it gives the soup. If you want to keep it meatless, just omit the ham. It is still very good.
- 1 lb. bag of dry lentils, rinsed
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 lb. ham, diced (omit if keeping it vegetarian)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 5 cups water to start
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp. dry parsley
In a stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and ham. Season with a little salt and pepper. Sweat over medium-low heat until tender.
Add lentils, water, tomato sauce and bay leaf. Stir. Add about a teaspoon of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to one hour, until lentils are soft and soup has thickened up a bit. Check and stir occasionally.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. This needs a good amount of salt. If too much water evaporates during cooking, add more until you have a desired consistency (I added one more cup of water to get the consistency you’ll see in the bottom picture). This soup can have a very brothy consistency to extremely thick. Me? I like it somewhere right in between.
Remove from heat and REMOVE the bay leaf. You do not want to eat that!
Serve with some good rustic Italian bread and a salad for a nice, low-fat, nutritious meal.
I like making mine early in the day, so the flavors have a chance to meld and the soup will thicken upon standing.