One of the most traditional vegetarian soups is lentil soup. It's perfect for those cold winter days because it's filling and delicious. There are various ways to prepare lentil soup, but a classic, flavorful Mediterranean version is always a safe bet.
Let us not forget that easy does not mean dull as we prepare this lentil soup. This dish is everything from simple.
It can be made quickly and easily with only a few ingredients and some fresh veggies, yet it has a deep, satisfying flavor and is substantial enough for dinner. Because of this, it truly is unparalleled.
When I first demonstrated how to properly prepare lentils for cooking, I also pointed out their many uses as a meat substitute and a key component of vegetarian and vegan diets. They are a good source of protein, carbs, and fiber. It means you may eat this lentil soup as a main course instead of simply an appetizer. Plus, it's a cheap option.
You should definitely add lentil soup to your regular supper rotation because it is filling, comforting, and gratifying. Also, it's great for meal prepping and freezing.
WHAT’S IN THIS VEGAN LENTIL SOUP
With this hearty, hearty soup, a single cup of green lentils goes a very long way. But, the rest of the ingredients are what actually make your tongue wag.
- Classic comfort food always includes mirepoix vegetables such as chopped celery, carrots, onions, and garlic.
- A can of fire-roasted tomatoes gives this soup a beautiful crimson color and a little smokiness.
- Two teaspoons of tomato paste is all that's needed to give the soup a heartier texture and flavor.
- Including kale in this soup is a simple method to increase its antioxidant, vitamin, nutritional, and color content.
- You can use either green or brown lentils for this soup.
- Herbs with a lot of earthy undertones: a mix of cumin, oregano, basil, and thyme captures the essence of the Mediterranean.
- Liquids: water, broth, or a combination of the two is what I typically use.
- The use of lemon helps to cut through the richness of the other tastes.
WHICH LENTILS TO USE
You can use either green or brown lentils for this soup. They break apart somewhat during cooking while still maintaining their shape and mild, earthy flavor. The red lentils turn to mush the quickest. Although they take longer to cook, French lentils also termed Lentils de Puy have the firmest texture and are perfect for use in a lentil salad or other side dish.
- Start with high-quality lentils: Look for high-quality lentils that are fresh, plump, and without any cracks or blemishes. Lentils that are too old or have been stored for too long can become tough and take longer to cook.
- Soak the lentils: Soaking lentils for a few hours before cooking can help them cook faster and become more tender. Rinse the lentils well, then cover them with water and soak for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Use a flavorful broth: A good broth can add a lot of flavor to your soup. You can use chicken, beef, or vegetable broth depending on your preference. If you are using a store-bought broth, make sure it is low-sodium so you can control the salt content.
- Add aromatics: To build flavor, start by sautéing onions, garlic, and celery in a bit of olive oil until they are soft and translucent. This will create a flavorful base for your soup.
- Use fresh herbs: Adding fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, and parsley can add a lot of flavor to your soup. Add them towards the end of cooking so they retain their bright flavor.
Is this recipe vegan?
Yes, this recipe is vegan as it uses vegetable broth and does not contain any animal products.
Can I use red lentils instead of brown or green lentils?
Red lentils can be used instead of brown or green lentils in this recipe, but the cooking time may vary as red lentils tend to cook faster.
Can I freeze the Very Best Lentil Soup?
Yes, this soup can be frozen. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Can I use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth?
Yes, you can use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth if you prefer, but it will no longer be a vegan recipe.
How many servings does this recipe make?
This recipe makes about 6 servings.
MEDITERRANEAN LENTIL SOUP
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, small diced
- 2 medium carrots, small diced
- 2 celery ribs, small diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoons dried thyme
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup green or brown lentils
- 3 leaves kale, stemmed and sliced
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons juice)
- Saute the vegetables. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and stir for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.
- Infuse with flavor. Add the tomato paste, minced garlic, dried spices, salt and pepper. Stir and toast the spices for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Simmer. Add the diced tomatoes, broth, and lentils and stir together. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, partially cover with a lid, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Blend. You can keep the soup chunky, or use an immersion blender to create a more creamy texture, by spot blending for just a few seconds.
- Finish with flavor. Stir in the kale and lemon juice, and simmer for an additional minute or two to soften the kale. Taste the soup, and add any additional lemon juice, salt, or pepper before serving.
- Because vegetable broth usually comes in 32 ounce containers (4 cups), I add 4 cups of broth and 2 cups of water to this recipe. Just so I don’t have a half used container of broth.
- You can substitute 3 teaspoons of Italian seasoning for the oregano, basil, and thyme.
- As the soup sits, the lentils may soak up some of the liquid, thickening up the soup. You can always add more broth or water to thin it out.