Lentil Soup
Lentil Soup
5 from 8 votes
Dive into a bowl of heart-warming lentil soup, a culinary delight with roots steeped in rich history. Ideal for those seeking a not-so-difficult cooking adventure that's packed full of flavour and nutrients.
Lentil Soup

Allow me to introduce you to my delightful lentil soup recipe, a bowlful of goodness that is as nourishing as it is flavoursome. This humble dish holds a special place in my heart, with its complex flavours and simplicity that speak volumes about its origin and history. 

Speaking of its origins, lentil soup traces its roots back to the Middle East, specifically to the region known as the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of civilization. Lentils, the star of our show, was among the first crops domesticated in this region, and, boy, were our ancestors onto something!

Over the centuries, the fame of this wholesome legume spread across continents, making its way into the soup pots of various cultures.  

From the fiery Daal in Indian kitchens to the hearty Lentilles du Puy in France, lentil soup has comforted and nourished generations. 

Moving onto the difficulty level, dear readers, let me reassure you. This lentil soup is as uncomplicated as it gets. Don’t let the ingredients list intimidate you.  

Sure, we have a combination of spices, a mix of fresh produce, and those shiny red lentils. But when they come together, they create a symphony of flavours that seems much more complicated than the process actually is. Even if you’re a novice in the kitchen, this soup is not beyond your reach.  

Believe me when I say, the hardest part is waiting for the lentils to cook, and even then, you’re merely watching the pot simmer. 

With just the right mix of olive oil, chopped onions, minced garlic, tomatoes, and a medley of spices like cumin and black pepper, the base of this soup is nothing short of sensational.  

Add to it red lentils and coarsely grated carrots, and what you get is a textured, hearty soup that leaves your stomach full and your taste buds singing. The process, you ask? Simple, really. Sauté, simmer, blend, and voila, a delicious bowl of soup is ready to warm your insides. 

But here’s the thing about lentil soup. It’s not just the ease of cooking or the rich flavours that make it endearing. It’s the flexibility. Want to add a bit of meat? Go ahead. Prefer it vegan?  

Skip the animal products. Is gluten intolerant? No worries. There’s a version of lentil soup for everyone. And that, in my humble opinion, is the beauty of this recipe. 

So, whether you’re a culinary virtuoso searching for a quick-fix meal or a kitchen newbie aiming to impress, this lentil soup recipe is your trusty ally. Pair it with a side of crusty garlic bread, and you have a meal that’s comforting, nutritious, and oh-so-satisfying. 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

I adore the simple pleasure of crafting a delicious, comforting meal from just a handful of well-chosen ingredients. Let’s dive into this Lentil Soup, a hearty, nutritious dish that warms you from the inside out.  

Each ingredient plays its role to perfection, harmonizing in a symphony of flavours that are sure to delight your palate. So, without further ado, let’s break down our cast of characters. 

Olive Oil: This Mediterranean staple is my go-to for most of my cooking. It doesn’t just keep our ingredients from sticking to the pot; it’s also rich in monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy.  

Plus, it carries its distinct flavour into the soup, adding a layer of depth. If you don’t have olive oil, you can use canola oil or sunflower oil, though the flavour profile will be slightly different. 

Onion: The onion serves as a flavour foundation in our lentil soup. It adds a beautiful sweetness when cooked down, which complements the savoury elements of our dish. Any type of onion will work here, but yellow onions are my preferred choice for their robust flavour. 

Tomatoes: They add a tangy note, balancing out the richness of the lentils. Tomatoes also bring an essential acidic element, which helps highlight other flavours. If fresh tomatoes aren’t handy, canned diced tomatoes would work as an alternative. 

Garlic: For me, garlic is an absolute must in any savoury dish. In our soup, it brings a kick of intense, pungent flavour that permeates throughout. No direct substitute for garlic’s unique taste exists, but in a pinch, garlic powder can work. 

Salt, Cumin Powder, and Black Pepper: This trio of spices provide the flavour backbone of the soup. Salt enhances all other flavours, while cumin lends an earthy, warm note, and black pepper gives a bit of heat. If you’re out of cumin, you could use coriander or caraway seeds as they have a similar flavour profile. 

Red Lentils: The star of our soup, red lentils, are not only delicious but they are also packed with protein and fibre. They cook down to a creamy consistency, providing body and depth to the soup. If red lentils aren’t available, you could use green or brown ones, although the cooking time and the soup’s final texture might vary. 

Carrots: They add a touch of sweetness and a splash of colour to our lentil soup. Plus, they’re a good source of vitamins and fibre. If you’re out of carrots, parsnips could make a suitable substitute. 

Vegetable Stock: It acts as the soup’s liquid base while adding a layer of flavour. It can be homemade or store-bought. If you don’t have vegetable stock, chicken stock or even water with a bouillon cube can do the trick. 

Each of these ingredients brings its own distinct personality to the table, resulting in a soup that’s comforting, nutritious, and delightfully flavourful. 

Understanding the Nutritional Content of Lentil Soup 

I often focus on the nutritional aspects of the meals I prepare. Lentil soup is a favourite of mine, not just for its comforting, hearty taste, but also for its impressive nutritional profile. 

Lentils themselves are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are packed with protein, making them a great choice for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone looking to incorporate more plant-based protein into their diet.  

Furthermore, they’re rich in dietary fibre which aids in digestion and keeps you feeling full longer. They are also a good source of iron, which is crucial for carrying oxygen throughout the body. 

Other ingredients in the soup, such as onions, carrots, and tomatoes, provide an array of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. The olive oil used for cooking is a healthy fat, providing beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids. 

Let’s not forget the spices either! Cumin and black pepper aren’t just for flavour. They come with their own health benefits. Cumin, for example, is known for its antioxidant properties and can aid digestion. 

It’s also worth mentioning that lentil soup is generally low in calories and fat, making it a good option for those watching their weight. However, the nutritional content can vary depending on the recipe, so it’s always a good idea to use a nutrition calculator if precise information is required. 

The beauty of making your own lentil soup is that you control what goes into it. Want to add more vegetables for additional nutrients? Go ahead! Need to reduce the sodium content? You can do that too.  

The versatility of lentil soup allows you to adapt it to meet your specific dietary needs. At the end of the day, what I love most about lentil soup is that it’s a delicious, comforting meal that also happens to be wonderfully healthy. 

The Pros and Cons of Freezing Lentil Soup 

When it comes to freezing lentil soup, there are certainly some key factors to consider. As a busy individual who loves to cook, I appreciate the convenience of having homemade soup at my fingertips, ready to heat up on a cold day.  

However, it’s essential to keep a few things in mind to ensure the soup remains delicious even after freezing. 

One of the major benefits of freezing lentil soup is the convenience factor. Cooking a large batch of soup and then freezing it in individual portions saves me so much time on those days when I’m just too busy to cook. Not to mention, it reduces food waste as well! 

However, it’s crucial to remember that the texture might change slightly upon thawing and reheating. Lentils can become somewhat softer after freezing and thawing, but in a soup, this usually isn’t a big issue as the soup’s overall texture is generally smooth and creamy.  

So, if you’re like me and don’t mind the texture change, then freezing lentil soup is a great option. 

The method of freezing and reheating also plays a role in maintaining the soup’s taste and texture. I always let the soup cool before freezing it, and I prefer to use airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.  

When it’s time to reheat, I recommend defrosting the soup in the refrigerator overnight and then warming it up on the stove rather than using a microwave for a more evenly heated soup. 

All in all, while freezing lentil soup might slightly alter its texture, the convenience and waste reduction make it a worthwhile option for me. 

Choosing the Best Lentils for Lentil Soup 

One common question I often face as a cook is what type of lentils work best for lentil soup. Lentils come in a variety of colours and sizes, each with its own unique flavour and texture, and choosing the right kind can greatly influence the soup’s outcome. 

In my lentil soup recipe, I use red lentils, which I’ve found to be a great choice for a few reasons. Red lentils are split and hulled, which means they cook fairly quickly and break down well, contributing to a thick, creamy texture in the soup.  

They also have a slightly sweet, nutty flavour that complements the other ingredients beautifully. 

However, that’s not to say you can’t experiment with other types of lentils. Green and brown lentils, for example, hold their shape a bit better during cooking. If you prefer a soup with a bit more texture, these could be a good choice.  

Just keep in mind that they might take a bit longer to cook than red lentils. 

Then there are French or Puy lentils, which are known for their peppery flavour and firm texture. They’re less common in lentil soup recipes, but if you’re in the mood for something different, they might be worth trying out. 

At the end of the day, the “best” lentil for lentil soup really depends on your personal preferences. I enjoy the creamy consistency that red lentils provide, but there’s plenty of room for experimentation.  

Trying out different types of lentils can be a fun way to play around with the soup’s flavour and texture and discover what you like best. Cooking is all about creativity, after all! 

Substituting Chicken Stock for Vegetable Stock in Lentil Soup 

Over the years, I’ve found that one of the key elements of a great soup is the stock used in the recipe. It forms the base of the soup and greatly influences the overall flavour. In my lentil soup recipe, I typically use vegetable stock.  

It keeps the soup vegetarian, and I love the flavour it imparts. But what about using chicken stock instead? 

In my cooking experiments, I discovered that substituting chicken stock for vegetable stock in lentil soup can add a whole new layer of flavour. Chicken stock tends to have a richer, more robust flavour compared to vegetable stock, which can enhance the soup’s overall taste. 

It’s important to note that if you’re making this substitution, the soup will no longer be vegetarian. This may not be a concern for some, but for those who are vegetarian or cooking for someone who is, it’s a crucial point to consider. 

One more factor to bear in mind is the salt content. Some chicken stocks can be quite high in salt, so it may be necessary to adjust the amount of added salt in the recipe accordingly. I always taste the soup before serving to ensure the seasoning is just right. 

To sum up, while vegetable stock works beautifully in lentil soup and keeps the recipe vegetarian-friendly, substantiating with chicken stock is certainly an option for those looking to experiment with flavours. As with any recipe, the best choice comes down to personal preference and dietary needs. 

Thickening Your Lentil Soup 

There’s something comforting about a thick, hearty lentil soup, but what if your soup is looking a little thinner than you’d like? As someone who loves a good, robust soup, I’ve picked up a few tricks over the years on how to thicken lentil soup to your desired consistency. 

One of the simplest ways to thicken lentil soup is to let it cook for longer. The lentils will break down further and naturally thicken the soup. However, this method does require patience, and you need to make sure the soup doesn’t reduce so much that it becomes too salty. 

If you’re in a hurry, blending some or all of the soup can also help. In my lentil soup recipe, I use a hand blender to puree the soup after the lentils have softened. This not only thickens the soup but also creates a creamy texture that’s simply delightful. 

Another option is to add a thickening agent. A common one I use is cornstarch, which should be mixed with a little cold water before being stirred into the soup to prevent clumping. It’s important to then let the soup simmer for a few minutes to cook off the corn-starch flavour. 

Adding more lentils can also work to thicken the soup, but keep in mind this will also alter the flavour and nutritional content. 

While a thinner lentil soup can still be delicious, if you prefer a thicker consistency, there are several techniques you can use. The key is to experiment and find the method that works best for you! 

Adding Additional Vegetables into Lentil Soup 

As someone who loves exploring new flavours and incorporating nutrient-rich ingredients in my meals, I’ve found that lentil soup offers a great canvas for adding other vegetables.  

The rich, hearty flavour of lentil soup pairs well with a variety of vegetables, and adding more veggies not only enhances the soup’s nutritional profile but also provides additional texture and colour. 

Among the numerous vegetables I’ve added to my lentil soup, I found that greens like spinach or kale work wonderfully. They wilt down into the soup while maintaining a bit of texture, and their slight bitterness complements the earthiness of the lentils beautifully. 

Root vegetables like parsnips, sweet potatoes, or turnips can also be an excellent addition. They add a bit of sweetness and a hearty texture that pairs well with the lentils. I dice them small and add them along with the carrots in the recipe to ensure they cook thoroughly. 

Bell peppers, with their sweet and slightly tangy flavour, are another favourite addition of mine. They can be added in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking so they maintain a bit of crunch. 

Another choice could be zucchini or summer squash, which has a mild flavour that won’t overpower the soup. They can also be added towards the end of cooking to prevent them from becoming too soft. 

In the end, the beauty of lentil soup lies in its versatility. You can play around with various vegetables based on what’s in season or what you have on hand. Not only will you be enhancing the soup’s nutritional value, but you’ll also be able to enjoy a different flavour profile each time! 

Pairing Bread with Lentil Soup 

Finding the right bread to pair with lentil soup can significantly enhance the overall dining experience. As an enthusiastic cook and a lover of good bread, I’ve tried various bread pairings and found that several types complement lentil soup beautifully. 

My go-to bread to pair with lentil soup is garlic bread. The robust flavour of garlic and the crunchy texture of toasted bread offer a perfect contrast to the smooth, hearty lentil soup. Plus, it’s perfect for soaking up any remaining soup in the bowl! 

Whole-grain bread is another fantastic option. The nutty, earthy flavour of whole grains matches the rustic quality of lentil soup well. Not to mention, whole grain bread is packed with fibre and can make the meal even more filling. 

If you’re looking for something a bit softer, try warm pita bread or naan. These bread types can be used to scoop up the soup, adding a fun and interactive element to the meal. 

A crusty baguette or sourdough bread also pairs wonderfully with lentil soup. These bread types have a crispy crust and soft interior that’s perfect for dipping. 

Lastly, for those who like a bit of heat, spicy cornbread can add an exciting twist to the meal. 

The key to finding the perfect bread to pair with lentil soup is to consider the soup’s flavours and the bread’s texture. The right combination can elevate the soup from a simple dish to a hearty, satisfying meal. So don’t be afraid to experiment and find your perfect pairing! 

Storing Leftover Lentil Soup 

As someone who frequently cooks large batches of food, I’ve learned the importance of properly storing leftovers to maintain their quality. With lentil soup, there are a few key steps to follow to ensure it stays fresh and delicious. 

Firstly, it’s important to let the soup cool down before storing it. Placing hot soup directly in the fridge can lower the overall temperature of the refrigerator and potentially harm other stored foods. I usually allow the soup to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes before transferring it to the fridge. 

For storage, I prefer using airtight containers. They help prevent the soup from absorbing any unwanted flavours from other foods in the fridge, and they make for easy reheating later on.  

Glass containers are my favourite because they don’t absorb odours or colours, and they’re safe for both the microwave and dishwasher. 

Generally, leftover lentil soup stored in the fridge should be eaten within three to four days for the best quality. But, if you’ve made a large batch and want to store it for longer, you can also freeze it. Just remember to leave some space at the top of your storage container as the soup will expand as it freezes. 

To reheat, if it’s frozen, I always recommend defrosting the soup in the fridge overnight. Then, it can be reheated in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. 

Properly storing your leftover lentil soup not only ensures you have a ready-to-eat meal for a later date but also reduces food waste, which is a win-win in my book! 

Making Lentil Soup in a Slow Cooker 

As someone who is a firm believer in the convenience and versatility of slow cookers, I’ve experimented with making my favourite lentil soup in a slow cooker many times. The low, steady heat of the slow cooker allows the flavours to meld together beautifully, and the lentils become perfectly tender. 

The process is quite simple. Start by adding all your ingredients to the slow cooker: olive oil, onion, tomatoes, garlic, salt, black pepper, cumin powder, red lentils, carrots, and vegetable stock.  

One thing I love about using a slow cooker is that you can just put everything in at once, eliminating the need for sautéing. 

Next, you’ll want to give everything a good stir to ensure the ingredients are well combined. I then set the slow cooker on low and let it do its magic for 6-8 hours. This slow, steady cooking results in a soup with a deep, rich flavour. 

Once the cooking time is up, you can then use a hand blender to puree the soup directly in the slow cooker, just like in the stovetop version. After this, I typically let the soup sit for another 15-20 minutes on the ‘keep warm’ setting. This allows it to thicken up a bit before serving. 

Remember to taste the soup before serving to see if any additional salt or pepper is needed. In my experience, slow-cooked lentil soup pairs wonderfully with a warm, crusty bread for a hearty, satisfying meal. 

Tips for Spicing Up Lentil Soup 

Adding spices to lentil soup can truly transform the dish, bringing out the lentils’ earthy flavour and adding depth and complexity. As someone who loves to play with spices in my kitchen, I’ve discovered several ways to spice up lentil soup to make it even more delicious. 

One of my favourite spices to add to lentil soup is smoked paprika. It lends a smoky flavour that wonderfully complements the earthiness of the lentils. I usually add it alongside the cumin and black pepper, frying it briefly to release its aroma. 

Another spice that works well is turmeric. Its mild, slightly bitter flavour and vibrant colour make it a fantastic addition to lentil soup. Plus, it’s known for its health benefits, which is always a bonus! 

For a bit of heat, I love adding a pinch of cayenne pepper. The key is to start with a small amount and add more to taste. Red pepper flakes can also work if you prefer a less intense heat. 

Then there are the warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Used sparingly, they can add a hint of warmth and sweetness that can really elevate the soup. 

Last but not least, don’t forget fresh herbs! While they’re not “spices” in the traditional sense, they can greatly impact your soup’s flavour. Fresh cilantro or parsley added just before serving can add a burst of freshness that balances the soup’s hearty flavour. 

When it comes to spicing up lentil soup, the possibilities are truly endless. The key is to experiment and find what you enjoy most. After all, cooking is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. So, don’t be afraid to get creative with your spices! 

Check Out These Other Recipes! 

As you’re savouring the last spoonfuls of my heart-warming Lentil Soup recipe, you may be thinking, “What other culinary delights can I try next?” Well, my friends, allow me to guide you through a taste tour of my related dishes. 

I must mention my Tomato Soup recipe first – a classic comfort food that’s as rich and velvety as a hug in a bowl. Like the lentil soup, it’s a warming concoction that’s perfect for a cold day, with a touch of natural sweetness from the tomatoes and a hint of basil that makes it unforgettably delicious. 

And what goes perfectly with a bowl of soup, you ask? I’m glad you did. I present to you, my easy Garlic Crostini. Imagine crispy baguette slices rubbed with fragrant garlic and lightly toasted to golden perfection.  

They are an irresistible side dish that adds a delightful crunch to any soup experience, including our beloved lentil soup. 

Maybe you’re already a soup expert, and you’re thinking of branching out to other related dishes. Then let me introduce my Chicken Soup. Light, nourishing, and with the unique ability to soothe your soul, it is another excellent option that stands tall in the ‘soup family’. 

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my Red Lentil Curry recipe. If you liked the Lentil Soup, you’ll love this. It has a similar nutritional profile, with the red lentils providing a great source of protein and fibre. However, the addition of aromatic spices elevates it to new, exciting heights of flavour. 

Before I sign off, I just want to remind you that my recipe journey doesn’t end here. There’s a world of flavours waiting for you in my collection. So, after you’ve tried these, why not explore more?  

And don’t forget to leave a comment! I always love hearing your thoughts and suggestions. Who knows? You might even inspire my next culinary creation! 

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

by Nabeela Kauser
Dive into a bowl of heart-warming lentil soup, a culinary delight with roots steeped in rich history. Ideal for those seeking a not-so-difficult cooking adventure that's packed full of flavour and nutrients. 
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 4
Calories 224 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion Finely chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 4 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 150 g Lentils Red
  • 3 Carrots Coarsely grated
  • 1 litre Vegetable Stock

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, until translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
  • Then add the garlic, salt, black pepper, and cumin powder. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour in the lentils, carrots and stock.
  • Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until lentils have softened.
  • Using a hand blender or a food processor, purée the soup and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper, if required.
  • Serve whilst hot with a side of garlic bread.

Notes

Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.

Nutrition

Calories: 224kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 11gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1614mgPotassium: 718mgFibre: 14gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 8709IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Comfort Food, Food, Healthy, Lentils, Recipe, Vegan, Winter
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!
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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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