Italian Lentil Soup
Soup. It does the body good! And, this hearty, nutrient-packed Italian lentil version is just what the doctored ordered. Colds, viruses, or life just got you down? A bowl of this nourishing, veg-filled goodness may be what your mind, body and soul crave.
In actuality, this is more like a stoup, than a soup. You know, the combo between a stew and a soup? It’s comforting, like a warm blanket, and it’s the perfect go-to when it’s cold, you’re cold, or you have a cold 🤷♀️. Seriously, tho’ you don’t have to actually be sick or even wait to feel run down before conjuring up a batch of this delicious REAL food.
The “Italian” in this soup comes from the fact that I love Italy and I SO wanted to be Italian when I was growing up. And, I am probably only about 10% Italian. When I was a tot in Rochester, NY there were a couple of Italian women in our neighborhood that my mom was friends with, and from whom she picked up a few cooking tips. I took all that I could absorb from watching my mom over the years and ran with it. I will always remember that killer red sauce she made every Sunday using that old Italian recipe she held secret nearly all her life.
The flavors here are developed slowly and methodically and it does take a bit of time for the final product, so be patient. I use tons of mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, and sundried-tomatoes. The herbs are the classics we all know and love…oregano, basil and thyme. And, is it really an Italian dish if I don’t include a fair share of garlic? There is definitely some of that!
This soup is a failsafe. Foolproof. Delicious. Whatever you want to call it. It’s perfect to cook a big batch all at once to freeze for later, or, it is also perfect to feed lots of mouths right now 🤭. The kids will love it, the non-vegans will love it, the mother-in-law will love it. It’s that good.
I like adding pasta to my soups, too. Sometimes it’s orzo, sometimes orecchiette, maybe even a little pastina. For me, everything is just better with a noodle.
I would love to hear if you try out this recipe and as always I encourage you to play with the ingredients a little to make it yours!
Italian Lentil Soup
- 1 1/12 cups green or sprouted lentils - uncooked and rinsed thoroughly green lentils hold their shape a little longer during the cooking process; the lentils in the pictures are three types of sprouted lentils.
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 10 oz chopped (not sliced) mushrooms I like wild or baby bella
- 1 small yellow onion - chopped you can also use 1/2 chopped leeks
- 1 cup celery - small dice
- 1 cup carrots - small dice
- 4 cloves fresh garlic - chopped
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes the dried kind, not the kind in oil; if that's all you can find then drain the oil and rinse the tomatoes first
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes add more if you like spice
- salt & pepper the key to developing flavor is to use little pinches of salt as you add ingredients
- 6-8 cups vegetable broth you are adding this slowly and it will depend on how thick or "watery" you like your soup
- 1 cup cooked pasta of choice I like orecchiette or orzo
- 1 cup chopped kale optional - I love adding dark chopped greens to my soups and stews
- Heat a dutch oven on the stove-top over medium-high heat. Once the pan starts to heat, add the oil and the chopped mushrooms. And add a pinch of salt. Let the mushrooms saute for about 10 minutes until they start to sear, then add the onions and another pinch of salt.
- After the onions start to become translucent stir in the celery, the carrots and the garlic, mixing all the veg together. Add a pinch of salt and a large pinch of pepper (or grind it!). Add the bay leaf. NOTE: If the bottom of the pan becomes overly dry/too hot at any time during this process, add just a touch of broth to loosen the delicious bits from the bottom. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Stir in the sundried tomatoes and then the lentils. Continue to stir all of the veg and lentils together. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the spices, oregano thru red pepper flakes. Stir everything to combine.
- Add 1/2 of the broth and turn the heat to low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. The lentils will start to cook down and absorb the broth. After about 10 minutes add more broth and another pinch of salt. Let simmer. After approx. 10 more minutes add the remaining broth and turn the heat to low and simmer until the veg and lentils soften. If you are adding greens, add them now.
- Once the lentils are at your desired consistency (I like them on the mushy side) stir in your cooked pasta and let simmer for another few minutes to develop the flavor. Serve and enjoy. Any leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or can be frozen for up to 4 months. When reheating, if the soup is too thick, just add more water and/or veggie broth to reconstitute.
Here is another version where I added nutty farro and sauteed kale on top!
Note: Nutrition Facts on all recipes are an approximation only, using the Very Well Fit recipe nutrition calculator.
Certified Plant-Based Chef and Holistic Nutritionist veganizing the planet one meal at a time. Bringing fans vegan food, brand, travel & lifestyle news while offering clients personalized vegan chef services in the Tampa Bay area. For the health of it! View all posts by Jennifer