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Wednesday Food: Lentil Vegetable Soup

My first foray into lentils!  This soup was inexpensive, made about 5 quarts which I later froze, and I’ll be damned if it’s not also healthy.  The only confusion I have now about lentils is the soaking process.  Many of the recipes I came across recommended soaking Puy lentils in boiling water for 15-20 minutes, yet the packaging the lentils came in required none.  If I’m making a soup out of them soaking shouldn’t be required, right?  And is the only outcome of soaking to soften or is there some healthful mutation that happens in the process?  If so should all varieties be soaked the same length of time?

In the end I did soak them; the soup was hearty, halfway between soup and stew.  The flavors were simple and straightforward, so I drank a simple and straightforward Guinness in accompaniment.  I’m banking on this freezing well as I now have about two gallons set aside.  Recipe follows…

Vegetable Lentil Soup

Serves 8-10

  • 1 lbs lentils– I used Puy but I’m sure any could substitute
  • 1 lbs onion, chopped
  • 1 lbs leeks, rinsed of grit and chopped
  • 3 tbs minced garlic
  • 12 oz carrot, diced
  • 12 oz celery, diced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 a glass– call it 4 oz– red wine
  • yogurt or cheese for topping

Soak the lentils in just-boiled water for 15 minutes.  Drain.

In a large pot, at least 4 quarts, heat a few tablespoons olive oil.  Add the onions, leeks, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, saute until translucent.  Add carrots, celery, thyme, and cumin, and saute an additional 10 minutes.  Add the lentils, chicken stock, and tomato paste, cover and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour until lentils are fully cooked.  Add wine, top with cheese, yogurt, or both, and freeze the remainder!

September 9, 2010 - Posted by | Wednesday Food


  1. I generally don’t soak lentils. The soup looks great — I usually use regular brown lentils for soup, since they break down and thicken the broth more than du Puy, but that might result in a stewier soup than you want.

    Comment by jms | September 9, 2010

  2. I have never soaked lentils of any kind.

    Comment by ben | September 9, 2010

  3. I don’t soak my lentils, but do sometimes pre-cook the puy variety and add them last minute to the soup. I like them for their texture and because they hold their shape- which can sometimes fall apart if cooked too long in the soup.

    Enjoy- it only gets better with age!

    Comment by Vanessa | September 9, 2010

  4. A fried or poached egg as a topping would also be nice. Also, you’re paying a premium (admittedly a small one) for fancy lentilles du Puy, you know; regular green lentils will stand you in good stead as well.

    Comment by ben | September 9, 2010

  5. The fancy French lentils were a gift. And thanks for thoughts on soaking.

    Comment by ebolden | September 9, 2010

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