We all know that there’s nothing quite like a bowl of hot soup on a cold Winter day. I am a particular fan of hearty soups with lots of soft stewed vegetables. And I really like legumes in my soup. They’re so satisfying and healthy. When I’m trying to do a meatless dinner, like if we’re doing Meatless Mondays, I’ll often make a big pot of a legume-based soup, which is how today’s lentil soup recipe originated.
To make lentil soup you sauté some chopped onions, carrots and celery in a bit of oil in a big pot. I use a 6 quart stainless steel heavy-bottomed pot like this one. It’s about the size of a standard Dutch oven, if you’re trying to picture it.
Next you add the lentils, some canned diced tomatoes (with the juice), seasonings (I went with chili powder, coriander, cumin and garlic powder here) and some stock or broth. Both stock and broth work well in this recipe. I’ve made it with Swanson® Organic Free-Range Chicken Stock, Swanson® Chicken Broth and Swanson® Unsalted Chicken Broth. They all taste delicious and make a rich and delicious base for any soup.
The thing to note about using stocks and broths is that their salt content varies by type and by brand. If you use an unsalted variety, you’ll probably want to add a bit of salt when you add the broth, about 1/2 teaspoon. You might wonder why you’re buying unsalted broth if you’re just going to add salt anyhow. It’s because you get to control the amount of salt in the dish.
If you use a variety that already contains salt, don’t add any salt during the cooking time. Instead, wait until the soup is done and then taste it. If it needs a bit of salt, add it then.
Once you’ve got all of your ingredients into the pot, then increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Once there, drop it to low, cover it and simmer it, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender. That takes 25-30 minutes. This is when you taste it and add salt if needed.
Finally, you have an option. You can serve it as is, in which case it will look like the pictures in this post. Or, you can go in with a hand blender (the kind that you stick into the pot to puree, rather than transferring into a traditional blender. It looks like this) and puree it. You can puree halfway so that there are still bits with texture or you can get it totally smooth. I like it really chunky (not pureed at all) or totally smooth. I’m not such a fan of the in between. But if you are, do it! Enjoy!
Here’s the printable version of Lentil Soup recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions: