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Lentil Soup

The earthy flavor of the lentils is set off by the tartness of the tomatoes and a spoonful of wine vinegar, which is stirred in just before serving the soup. Cooked pasta makes a good addition to this soup. Try any short pasta, such as elbow macaroni, or break up strands of spaghetti or linguine. Use about 2 1/2 cups cooked pasta (1 cup dried).

  • prep: 15 mins
    total time: 45 mins
  • servings: 4




  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, with their juice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed well
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar

Cook's Note

Cooking times for lentils can vary from 20 to 40 minutes depending on how fresh they are. The older the lentils, the longer they take to soften.


  1. Step 1

    In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and bay leaf, and cook until vegetables begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

  2. Step 2

    Add tomatoes with their liquid, breaking them up with a large spoon. Add water and lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir in vinegar.

Everyday Food, January/February 2003



Reviews (6)

  • 31 Oct, 2013

    I followed the suggestions from other reviews and made this soup for a vegan friend who just moved. She loved it!

  • 24 Nov, 2010

    I also added 3 bay leaves instead of 1 and an extra garlic glove and broth instead of water. The soup halfway through cooking became very thick so I added 2 cups of water and 2 more cups of broth. Soup came out so flavorful and tasty ! This was my first time making lentil soup and the recipe was excellent.

  • 19 Jun, 2010

    I was surprised at how GREAT this soup was!! Also used broth (vegetable) instead of water and added an extra garlic clove, 2 more bay leaves, and a pinch more of thyme. Used diced tomatoes instead of whole.

  • 5 Apr, 2010

    I'm making this with my grandfather's homemade kielbasa. I'm also adding some barley per a friend's Barley-Lentil soup recipe. I've decided this is Eastern Europe's version of chili. Excellent comfort food!

  • 20 Feb, 2009

    DELICIOUS! I like to cook a slice or two of bacon first, and cook the carrots and everything in the bacon fat. My boyfriend won't eat anything without bacon, so this is our compromise! I always add frozen spinach and broccoli too.

  • 23 Jan, 2008

    This is my absolute favorite recipe for Lentil Soup.You don't even miss any meat, but I made it for my father who is a big meat-eater and added some smoked sausage and it was terrific. I also use broth instead of water.