My Mother made lentil soup often and a pot of lentil soup cooking on the stove still reminds me of those cold, snowy days growing up in New York City and the warmth and delicious aromas of our kitchen linger with me today. Mom’s recipe for lentil soup was a meatless dish and with her knack of adding a pinch of this and a pinch of that made this a very flavorful dish.
After the soup was cooked, Mom sometimes added fresh baby spinach, or frozen spinach, or cooked rice, or my favorite, cooked thin spaghetti. She would break thin spaghetti into several pieces, cook in boiling water until tender, drain, and add to the lentil soup. There was also grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of the soup along with warm, crusty, Italian bread to complete the meal.
I make lentil soup often and add the same ingredients but sometimes I add bacon, or ham or even sausage to my soup. Whichever way it’s prepared, it is delicious, easy, and healthy with loads of fiber and vegetables. Get ready for a taste the whole family will enjoy, particularly on those cold winter days.
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced (include the celery leaves)
- 1 medium onions – diced
- 3 garlic cloves – minced
- 2 tbs fresh parsley (flat leaf)
- 1/4 lb thick sliced ham – cubed
- 8-oz can tomato sauce
- 16-oz bag lentils
- 1 tbs Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- Black pepper
- 8 cups water
To enhance the flavors make the soup a day ahead and refrigerate.
- Wash lentils thoroughly.
- In a large soup pot heat enough olive oil to coat bottom of the pot over medium heat.
- Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and ham. Stir and cook until vegetables are tender, 5-10 minutes.
- Stir in water, tomato sauce, lentils, parsley, Italian seasoning, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook on low until the lentils are tender, 45-60 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and more Italian seasoning if needed.
- If you prefer a smoother consistency, puree lightly with a hand blender.
- Ladle into bowls, top with grated parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated for several days.