There is no ham hock and no soaking of the lentils required. Everything goes in one pot.
My kind of soup! It’s:
Okay friends, I know not everyone here has become a vegan or vegetarian yet, or maybe you also have meat eaters in your home still. To make everyone happy you can add in about 1 cup of vegan diced Italian sausage or chorizo at the very end. I won’t ever tell and nobody will know the difference 😉
Fresh baby spinach, Tuscan kale or chard added at the last minute to wilt from the steam, is a perfect way to bump up the nutrition of this good for you soup. As a huge fan of green peas, I can’t help but suggest a handful of those too if you have a bag in the freezer.
Let’s Talk Lentils!
Well, I seem to be partial to red, but whatever you have in the pantry works here, so don’t let that hold you back from making this. I love how the red lentil variety disintegrates in the soup to give it a beautiful, rustic buttery texture. If you choose the green lentil variety just keep in mind that they take longer to cook, up to 45 minutes or more.
How to Make Italian Lentil Soup:
A simple, healthy, Italian lentil soup with smoky notes from roasted red peppers and smoked paprika.
- 1 1/2 cup red lentils
- 3 bell peppers -roasted, cleaned & chopped or pureed
- 3 golden potatoes -cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tbsp water (or olive oil)
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup tomato paste ( or 15 oz can diced tomatoes)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 small yellow onion -diced
- 1 large carrot -sliced
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas (optional)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 leaf bay
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin + more to your taste
- 1 pinch sea salt (to your taste buds)
- 1/2 cup Herbs -for garnish
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
- 1 cup vegan sausage diced – optional
- 2 1/2 qt filtered water
In a large cast iron pot heat up 2 tbsp of water (or olive oil) and cook the onion with a pinch of sea salt until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrot and cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
Add the tomato paste, paprika, cumin, bay leaf and thyme. Add the lentils and pour in the water. Add the diced potatoes and bring to a gentle simmer.
Meanwhile add the chopped roasted peppers and the red wine vinegar. (or you can puree until smooth in a food processor then add it to the soup).
Stir to combine, cover with a lid and allow the soup to simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the lentils and potatoes are cooked through and the broth has reduced to a thick soup consistency. (If using green lentils they will need about 45 minutes to soften).
Add the frozen green peas (and vegan sausage if using), simmer a few more minutes until heated through. Adjust seasoning to your taste with sea salt and serve hot garnished with fresh herbs and a few toasted pumpkin seeds.
Add spinach, kale or escarole in the last minute of cooking for a nice nutritional boost.
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