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Lentil Vegetable Soup

Nothing beats a good, hearty soup that has inexpensive ingredients, feeds a lot of people, and doesn't take long to make. For a twist on this triple threat, add some bacon or pancetta. From the book "Mad Hungry," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books).

  • Servings: 8
Lentil Vegetable Soup

Source: Mad Hungry, September 2010


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped (2/3 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 small tomato, chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups brown or green lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Garlic Croutons, optional


  1. Heat a large soup pot over high heat and swirl in the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Reduce the heat to low and saute until the vegetables are lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes.

  2. Add the lentils, thyme, bay leaf, pepper, and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Add the broth and water, and bring to a boil, skimming and discarding any foam as it rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (The cooking time depends on the age of the dried lentils.) Stir in the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If needed, thin the soup with additional water or broth for the desired consistency. Serve in a bowl topped with fresh croutons, if using.

Cook's Note

To prepare a vegetarian lentil soup, don't add meat and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Reviews (15)

  • memphisyum 28 Nov, 2012

    Forgot to say, I also added some diced mushrooms for added savory flavor, and am serving with open-face ham and tillamook sandwiches instead of croutons.

  • memphisyum 28 Nov, 2012

    Just made this and it's simmering on the the stove right now. I tasted it and it's DELICIOUS. My lentils were pretty old so I pre-cooked them while I was doing other things, before adding them in along with the liquid I cooked them in, to everything else. I also didn't have any tomatoes or tomato paste on hand so I just used some salsa. Works well since the recipe calls for vinegar and the salsa's got vinegar and lime juice in it. Not a big soup fan but this really is as good as others have said

  • zahira40 15 Aug, 2012

    sopa lentejas

  • Lalletag 14 Jun, 2012

    Made this soup for dinner last night - something quick and hearty. We all loved it. Will be saving this recipe and making again! Thanks Lucinda!

  • RosalieCeurvels 16 Jan, 2012

    Great meatless meal. Even for meat eaters !! Made this tonight with the croutons as shown in the video and everyone really liked it ! Very good . Will make again.Really like Lucinda and her ease in the kitchen . She makes everything look simple.

  • hellzbellz 5 Sep, 2011

    not exactly a review. HELP - can this recipe be halved?

  • VanessasKitchen 8 Aug, 2011

    A great, simple vegetarian recipe. Also very healthy. I omitted the croutons because I don't care for them, as well as the tomato paste.

  • MsBigFan 19 Jul, 2011

    Packed with flavor and nutrition, this soup was just what the doctor ordered. It's rich and delicious. Who needs meat? You'll never miss it. It was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for this quick and easy masterpiece.

  • Prysmith 9 Feb, 2011

    Absolutely super, no pun intended. I have made this and frozen it for those days when the mid-winter doldrums set in. Great flavor, very filling, and highly nutritious. Who can ask for more from a bowl of soup?

  • bracklanta 15 Jan, 2011

    mouthwatering soup! Even my picky husband enjoyed this one - I will definitely make this again and I love that I can freeze it and look forward to it after work for a quick meal!

  • buckifan 8 Jan, 2011

    I loved this soup! It was actually only the second time in my LIFE that I made soup - so you know it was super easy. I added a chopped potato with the other veggies and loved it. I love lentils and I have always wanted to find an easy lentil soup recipe - this is it! And it is now my favorite. Thanks Lucinda!

  • jgbartz 29 Sep, 2010

    Very good soup. I just love Lucinda's show and I learn so much from her. I have made several of her recipes and they never fail me. I love learning from her, she is very easy to learn from, love the way she teaches. Like watching a favorite teacher.

  • jdowling 28 Sep, 2010

    I was raised eating lentils and never liked them. As an adult I have tried to embrace them with little success. Finally something to turn the tide! Thank you for a tasty and healthy recipe. This was great I will definitely make it again. Loved the addition of the vinegar at the end

  • chloeschicmommy 26 Sep, 2010

    Delicious! My lentils took an hour to become tender even though they started at a rolling boil. Bonus was that it really concentrated the flavors nicely. The croutons are the crowning touch. I will make them again and again! Love the Mad Hungry show - Lucinda makes everything look so doable - love her ease on camera - feels like I'm in her kitchen. Thanks!

  • susankellen 25 Sep, 2010

    Just fabulous!! I am making it now and I just tasted it. Soo easy, I can't believe it's this great!

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