The Best Lentil Soup

Lentil soup sometimes gets a bad wrap. Bad lentil soup can be really bad. And it’s very hard to find a good one. I have made good batches in the past.

This recipe was adapted from my trusty The Joy of Cooking. I’ve been making this recipe for months now and it’s the best I’ve found. The balsamic vinegar really adds an extra boost in flavor.

Lentil Soup
adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1 lb. lentils, picked over and rinsed well
8-10 cups water, chicken, or vegetable broth (more or less depending on your preferred thickness)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ pieces
3-4 stalks of celery, rinsed well and cut into 1/4 ” pieces
1 large or 2 small onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
1, 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes plus juice, chopped
1/2-1 tsp. dried thyme
1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the vegetables and cook on medium heat until tender, but not browned. Add the lentils, water, tomatoes, and dried thyme. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes, stirring often to prevent the bottom from burning.

Before serving, add balsamic vinegar. Taste and add more salt if needed, and pepper, to taste.

Makes enough for 8-10 people. Serve with warm bread (or biscuits) and salad.

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  1. I have nightmares about lentil soup from growing up. I just imagine this greyish soup that didn’t taste like much. I hated lentil soup nights for dinner! Your soup, however, looks really tasty. Maybe I should try it and see if I can erase my lentil soup demons!

  2. OK,I am SO making this. I love lentil soup and so do my kids, but every time I make it Rick says “this would be so much better with sausage!” To me the piont of it is to NOT have meat. Maybe this one will win him over!

  3. i can’t wait to make this!!! i’m on a soup rampage. i want to compile all the best soup recipes and just make them night after night after night. it’s all i want to eat.

    mmmmmmmmm. i want some NOW

  4. This is really good! I made it tonight from the Joy of Cooking and then found your site. I used andouille sausage, which added a spicy kick, and a packaged marinara sauce in place of the canned tomatoes (only because I was out of canned tomatoes). It was smoky and rich, and filling. Very tasty.

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