Provider Farm

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Lentil Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion (of any color), chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/4 pound chopped bacon, pancetta or ham, optional
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2-inch to 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dried green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups chopped vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, leafy greens, roots, etc.)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice

In a large soup pot (6-quart or larger), heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion 1 to 2 minutes until softened, then add the garlic, cumin and tumeric. Stir to coat. Add the bacon. Add a teaspoon or so of salt and a few cranks of pepper. Cook until bacon browns a bit, another minute or so. Add the ginger, red pepper flakes (if using), bay leaves, and lentils. Pour over enough stock to cover. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower to medium-low heat, cover the pot, and simmer.

If using tomatoes or hard vegetables, like carrots, add them after 15 minutes. If adding medium-hard vegetables like cauliflower or summer squash, add after 20 minutes. If adding leafy greens, add them when lentils are almost cooked through.

Cook a total of 30 to 40 minutes, checking every 10 minutes to stir the pot. Soup is done when lentils and vegetables are tender, but not falling apart. If soup needs more liquid at any time, stir in a cup or two. (It should look like thick soup, but not like thick chili.) When everything is cooked through, add the vinegar and taste for seasoning, adjusting as needed. Pull out the bay leaves and discard.