I love lentil soup. What’s not to love? It’s hearty, healthy and easy to make. I had been enjoying lentil soup for years. Then my son Roan started making lentil soup, showed me a whole new way to cook lentils, and my world changed.
I had never tasted anything better in my entire life.
Even if you don’t love lentil soup get ready to love this recipe.
And, did I mention how healthy lentils are? It’s the perfect meal to cook the day after Thanksgiving when you want to start your new resolution to eat healthier.
Our lentil soup recipe is also the perfect way to use any turkey stock you may have left over.
Lentil Random Facts
Did you know…..
- That lentils are the world’s oldest cultivated legume, likely domesticated around 7000 BCE.
- They are also the easiest bean to digest.
- And lentils are the only bean that technically doesn’t need presoaking and has an extremely short prep time.
Aren’t convinced? Keep reading!
Let’s answer some questions about how to cook lentils before we begin.
Do lentils need to be soaked before cooking?
No, lentils do not need to be soaked like beans. They get soft enough just from cooking. However they should be rinsed and sorted (looking for stones) before cooking.
There are, however, other reasons why you might want to soak lentils before cooking.
What are the reasons to soak lentils before cooking?
Lentils contain anti-nutrients called lectins and phytates which can interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Soaking lentils ahead of time neutralize these compounds.
How long should you soak lentils?
The answer to this question will vary depending on the type of lentil but 2-4 hours is the general answer. If you want to shorten the time bring the lentils to a boil and turn off the heat letting them soak for an hour before cooking.
Are lentils healthy?
Well, I think we already know the answer to this. Yes, they are. They are packed with protein, nutrients and fiber.
What are the differences between red, brown and green lentils?
- Red, yellow and split lentils dissolve faster when cooked and create a smoother soup.
- Both green and brown lentils retain their shape more when cooked.
- Black Beluga lentils are not as common as other types of lentils but are known for being the most flavorful of the varieties.
- Even though colors can vary from reddish orange, coral, gold to slate green, brown and black and each have their own unique textures and flavors they all essentially share the same or similar nutritional profile.
Can lentils be cooked in stock?
Yes, you want to cook lentils in 3-1 ratio of liquid to lentils. You can use part water and part chicken or vegetable stock to give the lentils additional flavor. Or you can substitute all the liquid with chicken, turkey or vegetable stock as we suggest in this recipe. Boil stock and cook lentils for about 15-20 minutes for tender lentils.
Tips: How to Cook Lentils
- Don’t add anything acidic like tomatoes, vinegar or other acids to the pot before the lentils are fully cooked because they cook slow down the cooking process and you could end up with crunchy lentils.
- Best seasonings ideas are cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric and vegetables such as onions, carrots and celery.
- Add a teaspoon oil to pot to prevent foam from forming.
Roan’s Delicious Lentil Soup
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1-2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
- 4 cups leftover turkey stock (you can substitute vegetable or chicken stock if you want)
- 4 cups water
- 7 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 3 or 4 bay leaves
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup flat leaf (Italian) parsley chopped, extra for garnish
Rinse and sort lentils.
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat.
Add chopped carrots, onions, and celery and 1 tsp. salt. The salt helps break down the vegetables.
Heat until onions are caramelized. About 8-10 min.
Stir in tomato paste and garlic.
Cook another couple minutes.
- lentils, stock, 4 cups water and all spices,
- lemon zest.
- generous amount of salt and pepper to taste.
Boil stock, stir, and cover.
Cook lentils and simmer for about 25-30 minutes.
Remove bay leaves.
Use an immersion blender to blend some of the lentils. Don’t do too much blending. You want some lentils to retail their full shape. You just want to create some creaminess to the soup with the blender.
If you don’t have an immersion blender you can also do this with a food processor or regular blender. Take 2 1/2 cups out and puree. Be sure to have a vent open on top to allow for steam to escape or you will end up with an exploding mess on your hands. We found this out the hard way. Replace back into soup.
Add lemon juice and parsley.
Serve into bowls. Garnish with more parsley.
Thanksgiving Leftover Lentil Soup
- immersion blender
- 3 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 3 carrots medium, chopped
- 1-2 celery stalks chopped
- 1 onion diced
- pinch salt to taste
- pinch pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2-3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 cups brown lentils dried
- 4 cups turkey stock (vegetable or chicken stock may be substituted)
- 4 cups water
- 7 sprigs thyme leaves stripped
- 1/2 tsp oregano dried
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes crushed
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 3 or 4 bay leaves
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice fresh, (juice of 1/2 a lemon)
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley chopped, extra for garnish
- Rinse and sort lentils.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add chopped carrots, onions and celery and 1 tsp. salt. (The salt helps break down the vegetables.)
- Heat until onions are caramelized, about 8-10 min.
- Stir in tomato paste and garlic
- Cook another couple minutes.
- Add lentils, stock, 4 cups of water and all spices.
- Next add lemon zest and generous amount of salt and pepper to taste.
- Boil stock, stir and cover.
- Cook lentils and simmer for about 25-30 minutes.
Blending the soup
- Remove bay leaves.
- Use an immersion blender to blend some of the lentils until creamy. Not too much. You want some of the lentils to retain their full shape to give texture to the soup.
- If you don't have an immersion blender you can also do this with a food processor or regular blender.
- Remove about 2 1/2 cups and place into food processor or blender. Puree.
- Be sure to keep a vent open on top to allow steam to escape.
- Return blended soup to the rest of the pot.
- Add lemon juice and parsley
- Serve into bowls.
- Garnish with more parsley.
Thanksgiving Lentil Soup
My family also loves to serve lentil soup on our Thanksgiving Day menu. We serve it along side the cranberry sauce and the mash potatoes. Our family Thanksgiving get together is sometimes 40 or more people, so the menu is wide and varied.
Looking for more healthy ways to eat? Visit our article, “How to Eat Healthy and Transform Your Life“.
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