Lentil Soup

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.

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