Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

One of my all-time favorite weekend lunches, ready in less than an hour.
TIME About 45 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium celery stalk, chopped, any leaves reserved for garnish
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
3 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Put the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and keep cooking and stirring until the carrot turns bright orange, about 2 more minutes.

2 Add the lentils, bay leaves, and 6 cups water; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the soup bubbles steadily and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. If the soup gets too thick, add more water, about ¼ cup at a time.

3 Just before serving, fish out the bay leaves. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with any reserved celery leaves, and serve.

  • Lentil Soup with Root Vegetables: Cut whatever you like—potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, or celery root—into ½-inch chunks and add them to the pot when you add the lentils; they’ll help thicken the soup too.
  • Meaty Lentil Soup: Reduce the olive oil to 1 tablespoon and use it to cook up to ½ pound raw sausage chunks, ground meat, or chopped bacon in Step 1 before adding the vegetables (these will take 5 to 10 extra minutes to cook). Then continue with the recipe.
  • Split Pea Soup: Substitute green split peas for lentils; cook them in Step 2 until they disintegrate, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Luxurious Lentil Soup: Purée all or half of the soup. Remember to fish out the bay leaves before puréeing.

  • It’s rare, but occasionally there are pebbles or other foreign matter in lentils and other dried beans. So it’s a good idea to pick over them to pull out any pebbles or foreign matter during rinsing.

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