It was such a cold, cold, cold, cold day, and I just had to make some soup! Lentil soup sounded good and I already had lentils. I found a soup recipe at MarthaStewart.com that not only had lentils, but bacon, too–and that sounded really good!
I used turkey bacon in this, and I used a larger amount. And I added extra onions because I love onions. Since I like my soups thicker, I also added less water–I guess you could even call it a stew because it’s thick and chunky! If you prefer to keep this vegetarian, just omit the bacon–it’s still a very good basic lentil soup recipe! I like the little punch of flavor that the red wine vinegar gives this soup, which is added at the end of cooking, along with some salt and pepper. This soup is just what you need to help you warm up on a super cold winter day like today!
LENTIL SOUP WITH BACON by NancyCreative, adapted from MarthaStewart.com
Makes 4 servings
- 6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used turkey bacon)
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4″ half-moons
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth (3 1/2 cups) or vegetable broth
- 1 cup water (if you want a thinner soup, use 2 cups of water)
- 1 Tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a Dutch oven or other 5-quart pot with lid, cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes (turkey bacon may need less time). Pour off all but 1 Tablespoon of the fat (if you use turkey bacon like I did, you won’t have much fat, so just add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to your cooking pot).
Add onion and carrots; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cooking about 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute.
Add lentils, thyme, broth, and water. Bring to a boil; lower heat and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.
Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.
Thick, chunky soups are a favorite cold-weather meal of mine! What do you like to eat when it’s really cold outside?
Influential American chef and food writer James Beard wrote over 21 books during the course of his career. Known as “The Dean of American Cooking,” he helped educate and mentor countless professional chefs. He died in 1985, but left a strong legacy in the food world with his innovative recipes and culinary excellence. And now there’s a recently published collection of his best recipes– The Essential James Beard Cookbook: 450 Recipes that Shaped the Tradition of American Cooking. I received a review copy and wanted to share a really delicious soup recipe I tried from this book–Lentil Soup with Chard and Lemon. You can substitute spinach for the Swiss chard, which is what I did, and I also added extra garlic to the recipe since I’m such a garlic-lover! It’s a fabulous soup–and it’s so healthy, too! I love the lemon flavor combined with with lentils, onion, and garlic. If a simple soup recipe from this book is so good, can you imagine how great the other recipes must be?
I do have to say, though, that I think one of the reasons the soup was so great was because I used some very high quality olive oil from California Olive Ranch. They generously supplied me with several bottles so I could experiment with some recipes. They offer a great selection of olive oils that come in wonderful glass bottles, which I’m saving to use as vases after the olive oil is all gone! And I read that the distinct green California Olive Ranch bottle actually keeps their premium extra virgin olive oil fresh longer–another plus!
Here’s the soup recipe so you can try it yourself!
LENTIL SOUP WITH CHARD (or Spinach) AND LEMON from The Essential James Beard Cookbook
Makes 6 servings
A rather different, Syrian version of lentil soup, tartened by lemon juice, that is also delicious served cold. Serve with crusty French or Italian bread.
- 1 1/2 cups lentils
- 2 1/2 pounds Swiss chard or spinach (I used baby spinach leaves)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves ( I used 6 cloves)
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
Put the lentils in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and simmer, covered, until tender–between 30 and 45 minutes, depending upon processing; taste to see when done. Wash and chop the chard or spinach, and add to the lentils with 1 cup water. Cook until the chard (or spinach) is wilted.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet. Crush the garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute the onion, celery, and garlic until soft, then add to the lentils. Mix the lemon juice and flour and stir into the soup. Simmer, stirring, until the soup thickens slightly. Taste and correct seasoning. serve in soup bowls, with crusty French or Italian bread.
I love lentil soup, and this is such a nice change from the lentil soup I usually make! Are you a lentil soup lover too?
One of my favorite chilly-weather meals is soup, and we have had some chilly weather the past few days…not super-cold, but just cold enough that a hot bowl of soup sounds really good! And one of my favorite kinds of soup is Lentil soup. I have two Lentil soup recipes I like to make, so I thought I’d share them both with you in this post. I’m not sure where I originally found these recipes, but my versions are thicker than the originals. One recipe actually calls for red lentils, but you can substitute brown lentils…that’s what I’ve done. For some reason, my grocery store does not carry red lentils! (Note: After I posted this recipe, I found out from a helpful reader that red lentils are available at Indian or Middle Eastern stores, and that when you cook them, they disintegrate into a thick broth or gravy–so your soup texture will be different if you use red lentils).
These soups are thick (especially the Red Lentil Soup recipe, if you substitute brown lentils in it), hearty, and filling, and have lots of healthy ingredients in them. I don’t really have a favorite between the two…I like them both. You can look over the recipes and see which one you think you’d like best!
LENTIL SOUP by NancyCreative (shown above)
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes [or 1 (28-ounce) can]
- 1 (16-ounce) package dry lentils, rinsed
- 3 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth (about 6 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- shredded Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling on top (optional)
Place olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot and heat a minute or two over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute until translucent and glossy. Add in carrots, celery, garlic, and salt; saute all ingredients for 10 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, lentils, chicken broth, cumin, and coriander, and stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover; cook at a low simmer until lentils are tender, about 40 to 50 minutes.
Serve in bowls and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.
RED LENTIL SOUP by NancyCreative (shown above)
Makes 4-6 servings)
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- dash of pepper
- 3 1/2 to 4 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken or vegetable broth (about 7 to 8 cups–for a thinner soup, use a cup or two more broth)
- 2 cups dry red lentils, rinsed (or substitute brown lentils, which is what I did)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, or the juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or 1-2 Tablespoons dried cilantro
- Shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite shredded cheese) for sprinking on top, optional
Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until hot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the broth, lentils, and carrots; bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low to maintain simmer and cook until lentils are soft, about 30 to 40 minutes (Note: this makes a thick soup-if you want a thinner consistency, add a cup or two more broth). Stir in lemon juice and cilantro and mix well. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with shredded cheese if desired.
Do you like Lentil Soup as much as I do? What other kinds of soup do you like?