Ahh, simplicity. This is the time of year – right after the holidays – when most of us really, really crave it. I also really, really crave this Simple Lentil Vegetable Soup. Plus, it has “simple” right in the name. Perfect!
Every once in awhile, I find a recipe that is just, somehow, fun to make. I don’t know why it is, but this recipe does that for me. Maybe it’s the simplicity of the standard mirepoix, the smell of the sauteing garlic, the pretty French green lentils that skew almost to blue in the right light. Maybe it’s just the therapeutic nature of making a basic, nurturing soup. I don’t know – I just know I love making this soup.
The inspiration comes from the one and only Ina Garten’s Lentil Vegetable Soup. While the Barefoot Contessa herself has created a fine soup, I also find that it can be a bit more labor intensive than I like – plus, it makes a loooooot of soup. Her recipe also calls for chicken stock and Parmesan cheese, neither of which I eat these days.
So I set out to make a simpler, smaller batch, vegan version, and this is the result.
Simple and simply tasty.
Simple Lentil Vegetable Soup
- 1 cup French green lentils*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for serving, if desired)
- 1 large yellow onion (diced)
- 2 medium carrots (diced) (about 1 cup)
- 2 stalks celery (chopped) (about 3/4 cup)
- 4 medium cloves garlic (minced) (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Chopped parsley (chopped scallions, or snipped chives for topping, if desired (I usually add one of these, whatever I have on hand, for a bit of color))
- Rinse lentils. Place in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over the top. Let sit 20 minutes.
- While the lentils soak, chop and saute the vegetables. To saute, set a large soup pot over medium heat.
- When hot, add the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring
- frequently, for one minute.
- Add the vegetable broth and the tomato paste. Drain the lentils, discarding the soaking water, and add them to the pot. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the red wine vinegar. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if
- Scoop into bowls and serve. If you like, drizzle with a little more olive oil and an optional topping if desired.