Hearty Lentil Soup
For a meal that is healthy yet delicious, filled with nutrients and affordable, this lentil soup is sure to become a new weeknight dinner staple in your home.
Lentils are the ideal convenience food: healthy, economical, and tasty. Can we all raise our glasses and say “cheers” for a food that checks the box on all three? If you haven't tried cooking with them, this might be the soup for your next winter warmup or cool spring evening.
This is a very simple recipe that's similar to a French lentil soup. For fat and flavor, this recipe calls for bacon and relies only on water for its liquid. The lentils are accompanied by garlic, celery, carrots, and tomatoes to give them more body and more flavor. Because it's so simple in flavor, it makes a great companion to any number of sandwiches and salads to make a complete meal.
This recipe is very easy -- prep time is about 5 minutes and cooking time is less than an hour. To make it even more appealing, this recipe makes enough for dinner, lunch the next day, and an afternoon snack.
How To Cook Lentils
If you're not confident about your lentil cooking skills, here are some tips to get it right:
The two things you should always do first when cooking lentils are sort and rinse them. They're then ready to cook because, unlike black beans and other legumes, you don’t need to soak lentils before cooking. Once they're free of debris, submerge the lentils in three times as much liquid as you have lentils (e.g. three cups of water for every one cup of lentils). Then bring them to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to let them simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes or until they're soft. For recipes that are not soup, you would then drain the lentils, but you'll use the cooking liquid for this recipe.
What Are The Different Kinds of Lentils?
There are several kinds of lentils, each with their own unique taste and specialty:
Green: Green lentils are best served warm, ideally over salads or as a stand-alone side dish.
Puy: Puy lentils are actually a type of green lentil, originating from the French region of Le Puy. They have a notable gray-green color and are preferred by chefs for their superior texture and taste.
Brown: Brown lentils are, in all likelihood, the type of lentils you’re used to seeing at the store. They’re used in veggie burgers, salads, and soups.
Black: Black lentils are also called beluga lentils, taking their name from beluga caviar. These are the most nutrient-dense lentil, packing an incredible 26 grams of protein into half a cup.
Red and yellow: Red and yellow lentils have a sweeter flavor than other varieties, and are often used in Indian cooking.
Our Lentil Soup
Our lentil soup recipe is simple and makes an ample amount for friends, family, or your future lunch (it freezes without a hitch!). It's very simple in flavor and can take on many flavors, so if you like an extra kick, add ground cumin to make it smoky, red pepper flakes to make it spicy, or cilantro to add some freshness.