I love lentil soup. It’s quick to make, super simple, very inexpensive, and can be seasoned any way you like it. It’s great vegetarian and delish with a little sausage too. I made some yesterday and thought I’d try to share the ‘recipe’. I put recipe in quotes because I didn’t use one. I guess I cooked it by feel, watching the pot and adding more liquid or seasoning as needed. I didn’t want stew, I was aiming for more of a brothy soup. The thing about lentils, or any dry legume, is that they absorb all the liquid they can as they cook, and even more if you refrigerate the soup overnight. It’s an easy fix, just add more until you get the consistency you want. I’ve tried to write up what I did so you can give it a try. Feel free to play with it to you’re liking.
I made my soup without sausage but, if you want to add some, I’d cook it first, in the pot where you are making your soup. Take off the casings, crumble it into chunks, and brown it in the pot. Once it has nice color (it doesn’t need to be cooked through), transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave about 1 tbs of fat in the pot, discarding the rest. If there isn’t enough, just add olive oil until you have 1 tbs…One the lentils are almost cooked, add the sausage back in and you’re good to go.
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
1 28-ounce container chopped tomatoes, and their juices
4 cups stock or water (veggie stock, chicken stock, and/or water-a combo of stock and water is fine)
2 sprigs Italian parsley or cilantro
Heat a stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and, when hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are lightly browned and tender, 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Add the cumin, coriander, and cayenne and cook until the spices are very fragrant, 1 minute more. Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, stock/water, and parsley and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils taste tender. This could take anywhere from 20-60 minutes, totally depends on the size and age of your lentils (older ones take a lot longer to cook). Go by taste-the lentils should be tender with just a little bit of a bite, but not falling apart. As the lentils are cooking, feel free to add more stock or water if the mixture seems to get too thick. Once the lentils are tender, season the soup to taste with additional salt and pepper.
This soup is great the day it is made and even better the next day. Because the lentils will absorb a lot of the soup’s liquid when they sit overnight, you may need to add a bit of stock or water when you reheat it. You can also freeze lentil soup in an airtight container for up to 1 month.