Lentil & Vegetable Soup is a true classic. I have several lentil soup varieties in my recipe box, and this nutrition-packed italian version is a go-to for me because it’s quick & easy to make. Filled with lentils, vegetables, tomatoes and dried herbs – it’s a simple, comforting and nourishing meal – especially when served with crusty bread for dipping and dunking.
As in most of my recipes, the health factor of this soup is equal to its deliciousness – here’s why….
Lentils are a nutritional power house and one of my favorite legume varieties. Packed with fiber, lentils help to cleanse the body, regulate digestion, aid in lowering cholesterol and manage blood-sugar. Additionally, lentils provide vitamin-b, protein and iron.
Vegetables such as the mix of carrot, bell pepper, celery, zucchini & onion used in this recipe, add fiber as well as vitamin-a, potassium, iron, magnesium and vitamin b-6.
Fragrant dried thyme and oregano leaves add depth in this recipe. I use these particular dried herbs on the regular – they are 100% always on hand. I find that dried thyme and fresh thyme taste pretty much the same when used in dishes that are thoroughly heated (soups, pasta sauces, slow roasted meets, etc). I’ll use fresh thyme sometimes too, because I often have it around, but for my quick soups and homemade marinara, dried thyme is my standard. As for oregano, this is my number one dried herb, you’ll see me add it to almost everything.
Italian Lentil & Vegetable Soup
Servings: 4+ Start to Finish: 50 min
2 tbs olive oil
1 large white or yellow onion, diced
2 medium-large carrots, peeled & diced
2-3 ribs celery, diced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (optional)
sea salt, fine grain
1 14-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes (i like san marzano and/or fire-roasted tomatoes)
4 cups veggie stock or broth, low sodium preferred
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 zucchini or yellow squash, diced
1 cup dry green or brown lentils
Optional Ingredients (for serving)
grated parmesan cheese (vegan or dairy)
crusty bread, like ciabatta
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add diced onion, carrot, celery, red pepper flake and 1 teaspoon salt. Sweat veggies for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add minced garlic and diced bell pepper, sauté for 4-5 minutes.
Add vegetable stock, two cups water, canned tomatoes, lentils, zucchini, thyme, oregano and 2-3 teaspoons salt (to taste). Stir to combine. Bring to rolling boil, partially covered. Immediately reduce to simmer, partially cover with lid and cook for 20 minutes, or until lentils are super soft and flavors have melded.
-you can always add water to achieve desired consistency – note that this soup thickens quite a bit when chilled so just add a splash of water when reheating.
-if you eat dairy, add a parmesan rind to the soup when you add the stock and remove when lentils are cooked, it adds lots of flavor.
-if you don’t eat dairy, you can add a tablespoon of yellow or white miso (I like to dissolve it in some hot soup liquid before adding).
-the cooking time for lentils varies, cook until your desired doneness, adding more water if needed