November 29, 2010

Vegetable Lentil Soup

vegetable lentil soup with garlic croutons

I’m declaring this week– SOUP WEEK! It’s like Shark week– but with soup! After scarfing down too much food, all I want is something simple and hearty with lots of vegetables & fiber. Soup always comes to my rescue! Make it one night and you have a few days worth of leftovers. This time of the year is so jam-packed with activities, it’s nice to just quickly warm up a bowl of soup and have lunch or dinner in an instant. Pair a bowl with a crusty hunk of bread and a nice green salad and you are feeling good about the holidays coming up. I know I am.

So yeah, let’s kick off SOUP WEEK!

make shift croutons

I’m really warming up to lentils these days. My mom made me a really great Ina Garten soup with lentils and kielbasa (will make & post sometime soon!) and I’ve been nuts for lentils ever since. This Vegetable Lentil Soup is pretty hearty and of course perfect with garlic croutons. There’s lots of vegetables in the mix and it’s a really good base if you want to experiment with different flavors. Add some cumin and you have some smokey depth! Add chunks of sweet potatoes and you’re using a power food in addition to all this tasty goodness. I bet kale would be awesome in there too…I’ll probably try that next time! I threw in some freshly grated Parmesan in one of my servings (NOM!) and in another bowl, I added freshly sliced avocado (TASTY!) Go ahead, make this and use it as a springboard for your new favorite soup. Or if you are just looking for something to put in a bowl that will warm up your freezing hands, this will do the trick, no doubt.

And we’re off!

Gather your ingredients!

ingredient party!

Chop up the carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes & garlic.

let the chopping begin

In your soup pot add some olive oil and cook your vegetables until slightly browned.

saute time!

Now add the tomatoes. Cook. Then add the tomato paste. Cook.

browning & adding in tomato paste

Add in the lentils, stock, herbs & season with salt and pepper.

enter in lentils & broth

While the lentils are cooking in your soup, skim the top and discard the lentil foam.


When the soup is almost done, add a little vinegar to give it some PUNCH!


I should talk about the croutons. I took two big slices of bread and toasted them in the toaster.

I smeared them with olive oil and rubbed a clove of garlic over the tops and then cut them up. Instant croutons!

make shift croutons

Drop the croutons in your bowl of soup. Add a little Parmesan if you desire…

vegetable lentil soup

Your cold hands will love holding on to this bowl.

Vegetable Lentil Soup

(recipe slightly adapted from Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups brown or green lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • garlic croutons, optional
Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat and add in the olive oil. Add the carrots, onion, celery & garlic with a pinch of salt and saute until the vegetables are lightly browned. Should take about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Now it’s time to add the lentils, thyme, bay leaf, pepper with 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the broth & water and bring to a boil. Make sure to skim off any foam that rises to the top of the soup. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils become tender. This takes 15-20 minutes. Serve soup in a bowl with fresh croutons & a small glug of olive oil.
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