Delicious and Easy Lentil Soup (Vegan friendly)
Lentil soup has always been apart of my life. I have fond early memories of the warm aroma of cumin and lentils simmering away in either my mom's or my grandma Noni's kitchen.
When I finally finished my formal education, began my working career, and started cooking for myself, I was drawn back to some of my early favorite recipes. Fortunately, my mother has been diligently writing many of her recipes down and sharing them on her blog. It has been nice to have a list of recipes to work from as I go back in time and try to recreate the sights, smells, and tastes of my youth with Michelle. We have made some small changes to the recipes here and there as we adapt them to be our own.
This lentil soup recipe is simple yet hearty. It is delicious and full of good nutrition. You can make it vegan, vegetarian, or add some good braising meat to it (like beef short ribs or pieces of beef chuck) if you want to make the flavor a bit richer.
- 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced,
- 1 pound green lentils, cleaned and drained
- 1/2 cup of fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
- 1/4 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Optional: 1 tablespoon of butter (omit if making vegan)
- Optional: 2 lbs of braised meat (i.e. beef short rib or beef chuck)
[Optional Step] Brown the beef, if using meat.
If you are going to add pieces of beef chuck or short ribs, this would be the time that you would want to brown each of the pieces in the pot making sure that they turn a nice color on all sides and leave behind some rendered fat and fond to flavor everything else. Once you've browned the meat, transfer the pieces to a bowl.
We left the beef in large cuts to save time on the browning process.
Then set aside, let cool, and cut into bite-sized pieces
Now that we've prepped the meat, it's time to prep the veggies!
1. Prepping the Veggies
Carrots: wash and peel. Then dice them into about 1/4 inch pieces (or smaller if you prefer)
Celery: wash each of the stacks to remove any dirt and cut into similar sized 1/4 inch pieces
Onion: peel skin off, then dice into 1/4 inch pieces
Lentils: Pour the lentils into a strainer and give them a rinse, checking the lentils for stones or other foreign matter that may have gotten into the bag.
2. Getting your saute on
Heat up some oil or butter in a large dutch oven or stock pot (7-8 quarts). Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil (we use olive oil). If you want a little extra flavor, throw a tablespoon of butter in as well.
Since we cooked beef in our pot first, the fond is already at the bottom.
Once the oil is warmed up add your diced onion. The pot should be hot enough that that adding the onion instantly results in an audible sizzling sound. Sometimes I try adding one little test piece of onion to see if my oil/pot is hot enough yet.
Cook the onions over medium heat until the pieces starts to become translucent making sure that you don't burn them by stirring occasionally, this should be about 6 minutes.
Add the carrots and celery allowing them to saute a bit (about 3 or 4 minutes) so they give more flavor to the pot and eventually the soup.
Add the lentils stirring them around the pot and mixing them up with the other veggies. The skins on the lentils should start to wilt a little bit. Allow the mixture to hang out in the pot for 2 minutes while you stir.
3. Making it a soup
Add filtered water to the pot. The amount you add is up to you, the less water you add, the thicker the soup will end up being. See the photos to get an idea of how much water to add. I like it a bit on the soupy side. My pot is an 8 qt stock pot.
Add the parsley, cumin, salt, and pepper.
Let the pot get to a low boil and then turn down the heat to let it simmer for 1 hour so that the veggies soften.
To give the soup a thicker consistency, I take out 3-4 cups of the soup and blend it. Alternatively, you can also use an immersion blender for 20 seconds or so.
If you're going to include meat, you can add the browned meat and any juice that it was sitting on back into the pot now. If you cooked the meat in larger chunks, it's very likely still red on the inside. I cover the pot with a lid and let it cook for another 30-90 minutes.
4. Enjoy now or freeze leftovers in your Souper Cubes® trays
This recipe freezes really well, and a 1-cup Souper Cube portion is really just the perfect amount for a nice healthy snack or for an appetizer for each person at your dinner party.
Try this lentil soup at home this week and make sure to freeze some in your Souper Cubes trays for later.