|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 7g||8%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||6%|
|Total Carbohydrate 27g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber 7g||25%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 8mg||39%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Your family will love this classic, slow-simmered lentil soup. Hearty and filling, it gets flavor and texture from carrots, celery, and onions, while meaty cubes of leftover ham or ham hock add a smoky profile. Our easy-to-make homemade croutons are a great way of repurposing stale bread, and they add creaminess and crunch to the soup. A bowl of this recipe makes an excellent lunch with a sandwich or salad, or just a piece of crusty bread is a great accompaniment. Alternatively, offer freshly baked biscuits or cornbread.
Lentils are a great legume to add to your recipes, as they cook faster than other dried legumes and are very nutritious. For a vegetarian-friendly version, cook with vegetable broth and keep the meats outside of the pot; serve them on the side so each guest can take a portion and add to their soup if wanted. The lentil soup by itself is delicious and filling, serving all the goodness of lentils in a bowl: high fiber, high protein, and high folate and iron. For meat lovers, add extra diced leftover ham, sliced smoked sausage, or diced cooked bacon in addition to or in place of the ham.
Our recipe is very forgiving and leaves room for you to experiment with the seasonings and vegetables: more garlic or spring onions for pungency; mint, parsley, thyme, or sorrel for an herbal fragrance; or a handful of chopped fresh spinach, kale, or Swiss chard for color and nutrients. By skipping the croutons and checking that your broth doesn't have any added wheat or wheat-based thickeners, this dish is actually gluten free.
"This soup uses common pantry staples and comes together fast. The ham hock adds tons of flavor. The croutons add a fantastic bit of texture and crunch. I had a large smoked ham hock and the smokiness really made the soup delicious. Next time I make it I might double those tasty croutons." —Danielle Centoni
For the Croutons:
2 to 3 slices firm bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste, optional
Dried herbs, such as marjoram, sage, or oregano, to taste, optional
For the Lentil Soup:
1 ham bone (or 1 large ham hock)
6 cups water (or low-sodium or unsalted vegetable or chicken stock)
1 1/2 cups dried lentils (brown or green)
2 cups sliced carrots (3 to 4 medium carrots, sliced)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Chopped parsley , garnish
Steps to Make It
Make the Croutons
Gather the ingredients.
Cut the slices of bread into 1/2-inch cubes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Toss the bread cubes with the extra-virgin olive oil.
Spread the bread cubes out on the prepared baking sheet and then sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
For seasoned croutons, sprinkle with the optional garlic powder and dried herbs, as desired.
Bake the croutons for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Reserve.
Make the Lentil Soup
Gather the ingredients.
Place the ham bone in a stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the water or stock, lentils, carrots, celery, onion, salt, optional sugar, black pepper, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. (If using a ham hock, simmer the ham hock with the water or stock first for 30 minutes, then add the other ingredients and proceed with the recipe.)
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the lentils are tender.
Take out the ham bone or hock and remove the meat from it, chopping it into bite-sized cubes.
Return the meat to the pot.
Remove the bay leaf and stir well to incorporate the ham.
Ladle the lentil soup into bowls and top with fresh chopped parsley and croutons, as desired.
Here are some expert tips to make a great pot of this flavorful soup:
- If using salted broth or stock, don't add additional salt until the last minute. Taste the soup before serving and adjust your seasoning accordingly. Store-bought broth is usually high in sodium and adds sufficient salt to soups and stews.
- We make the soup with brown or green lentils, but other lentils are great, too. Red lentils will soften much more and add a lot of creaminess to the soup, whereas black or green hold their shape and bite more. Black lentils—known as beluga lentils because of their resemblance to caviar—are amazing too, plus they are beautiful to look at.
- Our cooking time is designed for brown or green lentils. If using other types, taste at the 45-minute mark as red lentils can soften much faster. If you don't want mushy soup, remove from the heat when they still have their shape intact but are soft inside.
Do I Need to Soak the Lentils?
- Unlike other legumes, lentils do not need to be soaked overnight. Not even for an hour. This makes them an easy ingredient, as you don't need to prepare in advance. Simply rinse well and pick out any small debris that might be in there.
Lentils, Raw. USDA FoodData Central