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Easy Lentil Soup

This easy and versatile recipe transforms humble lentils into a hearty, soul-soothing meal. Adapted from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair. I've cut the portions down to make about four to six cups, but it is easily doubled. If you don't have vegetable or chicken stock, you can add a couple teaspoons of Better than Bouillion. Feel free to add in chopped potatoes, chopped greens such as kale, chopped zucchini or other remnant vegetables lurking in your fridge.
This calls for basic herbs, but you can add 1 teaspoon of curry, smoked paprika, cumin, cajun seasoning or spice it up with red pepper flakes or a whole dried red chili pod.
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large carrots chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 cups-plus vegetable broth or chicken stock or water
  • 1 cup dried lentils rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon thyme mix italian herbs or other seasoning
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz. cooked ham bacon or sausage in bite-size pieces (optional)
  • Balsamic vinegar optional
  • Handful fresh chopped herbs optional


  • Heat oil in heavy 2-quart or larger saucepan or pot over medium–high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic; sauté until vegetables soften and begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the stock or broth, lentils, tomatoes with juice, herbs and bacon or ham (if using). Be sure there's at least an inch of water above the lentils. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, adding water or broth as needed. This should take about 30 minutes, or as specified on the package.
  • With a vegetable masher or immersion blender, briefly puree about a quarter of the soup if desired for a creamier texture. Alternately, carefully transfer 1 to 2 cups of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth; be sure to remove the lid and instead cover the hole with a kitchen towel to avoid creating a vacuum in the blender and then return the puree to the pot. Thin the soup as desired with water or broth if you think it’s too thick. Taste and season with salt, pepper and a bit of vinegar and chopped fresh herbs if desired.
Keyword budget friendly, Easy, how to use beans, inexpensive, lentils, pantry, soup, Versatile