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Oct 19, 2010 09:41 PM

Out of this world vegetarian lentil soup?

I always use chicken stock in my lentil soup. I'd like ot make a vegetarian version for some guests. Anyone have a to die for version they wouldn't mind sharing?

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  1. If you love your basic recipe, then why not sub veg stock or mushroom stock for the chicken stock?
    What kind of lentils are you thinking of cooking and what do you want the flavors to be? French, Indian, Middle Eastern, what?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Rasam

      i use french lentils.

      HOnestly I haven't found a veggie stock I like and my attempts to make one have never been that great either. It's why I"ve always used chicken stock in my vegetable soups. I'm open to suggestions on a good stock - either that I can pick or make.

      1. re: ziggylu

        The Kitchen Basics brand roasted vegetable stock (green aseptic package) is about as good as I've had for a packaged stock. Another tip (when using premade stock) is to dilute it somewhat. While the Kitchen Basics ones aren't over-salted, I still like to dilute a little with water. The Imagine brand "No-Chicken" broth is also pretty Ok as these things go, though if you eat meat & make your own chicken stock, it probably won't impress you.

        For homemade stock, I'm a fan of this recipe from the yellow Gourmet cookbook:
        You can make a big batch, reduce, and freeze into cubes for later use.

        The homemade is better, and I try to make my own for risotto, paella, and that sort of thing, but for a lentil soup, I'd be tempted to use the packaged one... just me.

        My favorite lentil soup is this "lentil and everything but the kitchen sink" soup, which I think originally is from some Dean Ornish cookbook or something along those lines. Despite being from this spa / healthy food cookbook, it's really tasty, and I like that it's not only lentils. The tomato juice adds some color and a savory component even when the stock is made with just water. Don't know if there's too much other stuff going on for what you're trying to do, but just in case it helps, here it is.

        Lentil Soup

        1 Cup lentils
        1 clove garlic minced
        2 stalks celery, sliced
        1/2 cup onion
        1 tablespoon margarine
        1 cup grated carrot
        1 1/2 - 2 cups coarsely chopped potato
        6 cups water
        1 cup tomato juice
        1 tsp salt
        1 tsp thyme
        1/3 cup rice
        1 1/2 cups frozen corn
        1 tablespoon soy sauce

        Place lentils in a bowl and cover with water.
        In a large pot, saute garlic, celery, and onion in margarine until tender.
        Stir in carrot and potatoes.
        Drain water from lentils and add lentils to vegetables.
        Add water, tomato juice, salt, thyme and brown rice. Bring to a boil.
        Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and potatoes are tender.
        (about 30 minutes
        )Add corn and soy sauce and cook 10-20 minutes more.

        Makes 10 one cup servings.

        Good call on using the DuPuy lentils. Obviously you can use oil instead of butter or margarine, use more salt than the recipe calls for, and you can sub stock for the water if you like. I sometimes substitute other grains or other types of rice, and I often omit the frozen corn.

        I like it served with fresh out of the oven biscuits.

        1. re: ziggylu

          I usually make a roasted vegetable stock based on Mark Bittman's recipe, though lentil soup could pair nicely with the vegetable stock in Julie Sahni's Classic cookbook -- I don't remember the details, but it's her base for Mulligatawny and other soups.

          Alternatively, I've used this veg "no-chicken broth," which is no substitute for great chicken stock, but offers much better flavor than many of the muddied vegetable stocks you find in cartons.

          EDIT: whoops, meant to paste the link:

          1. re: ziggylu

            What are 'French' lentils? Never heard of lentils being produced in France in any quantity and I go there once or twice a year. See this from internet

   › About Agriculture › Crops › Lentil
            Most lentil is consumed in the region of production, except for Australia and North America. Since 1980, Turkey has been the largest red lentil exporter, while Canada, Syria, Australia, Nepal and India supply the remainder of the world's red lentil export markets.

          2. re: Rasam

            the mushroom stock was a great idea! thanks :)

          3. Try using a little balsamic to finish the soup.It brings a bit of zip to the earthy flavor of the lentils.

            1. This is a Greek lentil soup recipe...
              Saute two medium chopped onions and two diced garlic cloves in olive oil. Add 250 grams lentils (peviously boiled for 10 minutes and strained) and saute for a few minutes more. Add a tin of diced tomatoes (since fresh are not of season now) and once it all starts to boil, add six cups boiling water, a couple of bay leaves, dried oregano (or thyme) and a vegetable cube if you prefer, and fresh pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat in order to boil slowly for about 45 minutes (all depends on the lentils you use... I use the fine Greek, Santorini ones) Add more water if needed, (I like mine thick) Salt is added a few minutes before the end.
              Serve with more fresh pepper, oregano, balsamic, and raw olive oil. Feta, olives and country bread are great on the table with this soup.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ageliki

                The greek thing got me thinking... I don't have a recipe, but I'm sure there are some fantastic vegetarian Persian lentil soups. And if the guests eat dairy, you can use whey in some of them (very commonly used in Persian cooking). My mom just got a new Persian cookbook - I believe it's "New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies", which looked like it might have something suitable.

                1. re: will47

                  The Greek recipe above is called "fa-kes" It is a humble recipe that really brings out the lentils, especially if all the ingredients used are top quality. Many other recipes for "fakes" don't use tomato or tomato paste. I don't add salt in the end, because I serve it as a main,(especialy on rainy days) and all the saltiness of feta, olives, sardines etc... is usually enough. A mid eastern version (Lebanese) also adds diced carrots, celery, orange peel, to my above recipe and season with cinnamon, cumin, bay leafs and cardamon (just leave out the oregano)

              2. If you go down the your-own-recipe-but-with-veggie-stock route, bear in mind that vegetable stocks are much thinner, for want of a better description.

                So if you have half a litre of chicken stock, that's generally thick, solid and almost jelly like. If I'm replacing chicken stock with vegetable stock, I add about 2/3rds of the volume until I know it's not going to be over-watery.

                I also like a blob of natural yoghurt (although sour cream should work as well) stirred into lentil soup, especially if there's chilli in the soup.

                1. Hmm, I dunno about "out-of-this-world," but this lentil soup is one of my favorites. It's fairly healthy, too. I use Knorr vegetable bullion, but you might try it using one of the broth recommendations in this thread. Good either way.


                  8 ounces brown lentils
                  1/4 cup olive oil
                  1 tablespoon minced garlic
                  1 onion, minced
                  1 large carrot, chopped
                  1 1/2 celery ribs, including leaves, chopped
                  1 quart vegetable broth
                  1 pinch dried oregano
                  1 pinch crushed dried rosemary
                  2 bay leaves
                  1 tablespoon tomato paste
                  salt and pepper to taste
                  white pepper, to taste
                  1/2 tsp. soy sauce
                  1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
                  dash cayenne or pinch of hot pepper flake

                  For serving:
                  fresh lemon juice
                  handful of freshly chopped parsley


                  Place lentils in a large pot, cover with 1 inch of water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook for 10 minutes, then drain lentils into a strainer.

                  Dry pot, pour in olive oil, and place over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then add tomato paste and stir until color deepens.

                  Pour in lentils, 1 quart broth, the soy sauce, balsamic, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt, pepper, white pepper, and cayenne/red pepper flake. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils have softened, 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add additional water or broth if the soup becomes too thick.

                  This soup tastes best if the flavors are allowed to meld overnight. Shortly before serving, stir in chopped parsley and fresh lemon juice to taste.