Hearty Brown Lentil Soup


This week I made use of some of the many lentils that I have in my pantry. I also used a cookbook that I really like, but rarely remember to use: Love Soup, by Anna Thomas. Anna Thomas is also the author of The Vegetarian Epicure, which is a classic vegetarian cookbook and how I originally became familiar with her recipes. Love Soup is arranged seasonally and includes a section for accompaniments as well as menu suggestions. It’s an all around good book that I really recommend.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, lentil soup recipes can be really hit or miss and I think that bad or bland recipes are  probably one of the biggest reason that many people claim not to enjoy lentils. This recipe, while containing many of the components pretty much every other lentil soup recipes I have ever read, manages to be both delicious and have a taste that is somewhat unique. I think this largely comes from the generous amount of cumin in the recipe, as well as the lemon juice which brightens flavor and the fresh cilantro added at the end. We had a little feta on top and I think chopped black or green olives would be very good, too. Thomas recommends a drizzle of fruity olive oil or some fresh salsa as a topping.

Hearty Brown Lentil Soup

Slightly adapted from Love Soup, by Anna Thomas

Serves 10

  • 1 lb brown lentils
  • 2.5 t. sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 large carrots
  • 4 medium stalks of celery
  • 3-4 yellow potatoes (I used 3 small russet potatoes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 t. dried thyme
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. chopped garlic
  • 1.5 T. cumin
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 c. vegetable broth (I used turkey broth I had in the freezer)
  • 2/3 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • feta cheese to top individual bowls of soup
  1. Rinse the lentils and put them in a large soup pot with 10 cups water and salt. Finely dice the carrots, celery, and potatoes and add them to the pot, along with the bay leaf and thyme. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the soup, loosely covered for about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion medium fine and saute it in 2 tablespoons olive oil, stirring it over a medium flame until it soften. Add the chopped garlic and keep cooking and stirring until the onions begins to color, about 10 minutes. Stir in cumin and cook one addition minute, until flavor blooms and is very fragrant. Add to the soup as it simmers.
  3. Add the 1 T. lemon juice and black pepper. Continue to simmer until lentils and carrots are soft.
  4. Add the broth and the fresh herbs, bring the soup back to a simmer and taste. Correct the seasoning with additional salt and a touch more lemon juice if desired. Stir in remaining 2 T. olive oil.
  5. Serve with a thin drizzle of olive oil and feta cheese

This is my second new recipe of the year; I am following along with The Frugal Girl as she tries out new recipes, too.

4 thoughts on “Hearty Brown Lentil Soup

  1. Oooh, I love lentils! And I just inventoried my supply of dry beans and I know that I have a bag of lentils, although I think they’re green lentils. I don’t think it’ll matter. I emailed the recipe to myself and I might just put it on my menu for next week! Thank you 🙂 I’ll have to remember to pick up cilantro at the store though. I looked at it at Aldi ($0.89) and thought that since I didn’t have a plan for it, it’d probably go bad… although now that I think about it, I think I should have a bag of it that I had frozen in ice cubes… I’ll look for those tomorrow. Sorry, don’t mind me, just thinking to myself outloud because I’m tired!

    1. I hope you like it! The lemon juice, cilantro and feta gave it kind of a piquant flavor, which I really enjoy. It’s a definite keeper for me.

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