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Oct 23, 2011 01:31 PM

Your best lentil soup recipe?

I have been making different versions of lentil soup, and so far my favorite is Emeril's (cringe). I need some new ideas though - I like them all! I've been looking for a great harira recipe, as well as a truly French version, but throw them all my way... Thanks!

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  1. I use a vegetable stock (onions, carrots, leeks, mushrooms, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns) because i tend to make a big batch (consider that lunch for the week) and I try to keep the amount of animal products in my diet down.
    I saute a good amount onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, (sometimes mushrooms, sometimes bacon if im feeling that way - bacon goes great in lentil soup. I know adding a ham hock while it simmers is popular, but I have never done it) then add the veg stock and lentils. Cook that until the lentils are done, and I like to puree mine with an immersion blender - just because i prefer the texture that way.
    I typically stir in some vinegar before serving, most of the time sherry, but red wine works well. I like balsamic, as well, but that is admittedly, a little unusual.
    I've added uncooked, cubed tofu to the soup right before i serve it plenty of times and really like that. I tend to do that more when i do not puree the soup for some reason.
    Another thing I have enjoyed is mixing some wasabi in soy sauce and adding that right before serving.
    I have thought about throwing in some baby spinach before I eat it, but never have...maybe this week.
    Lentil soup freezes well, if you did not know that already...when i make it, I tend to make about 4 quarts worth at a time and freeze what I wont eat in a week. It makes getting an extremely healthy, homecooked lunch or dinner ready super quick.

    I am excited to see what ideas other people have...great idea for a post.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dcole

      +1 on using vinegar for serving. A dash of balsamic against the earthiness of the lentils is terrific. I'd imagine the same could be said for a fresh squeeze of lemon.

      1. re: monavano

        +1 on using vinegar for serving. A dash of balsamic against the earthiness of the lentils is terrific.
        try sherry vinegar. it has that perfect balance of acid & sweetness - not as sweet as balsamic, not as bracing as lemon.

      2. re: dcole

        You make yours like mine, and I have added spinach. It's good and does add to the broth. Chard too. I love sherry in these kinds of soups.

        1. re: dcole

          My favorite is Gordon Hamersley's curried lentil soup that was in the Boston Globe many years ago: saute chopped bacon, onions and carrots. Add lentils and curry, then chicken broth or stock and herbes de Provence. Simmer for about 45 minutes.

          Canned or boxed broth works fine in this recipe because of the strong flavor of the curry.

        2. My favorite lentil soup is admittedly not healthy with addition of bacon fat but I must say it tastes great.
          In a 4 qt dutch oven, saute 1 diced yellow onion in 3 Tbsp bacon fat. Add lentils for quick stir with onions then chicken stock/broth, salt, and black pepper. Sometimes I add diced carrots,celery, etc but most of the time just the lentils and onions. My family likes a thicker lentil soup so I adjust the broth as well. On top of a thick lentil soup serve a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream.

          1 Reply
          1. re: foodseek

            Mine is pretty much yours, but I always add carrots and spinach or chard, and sometimes potatoes. I prefer low sodium chicken broth as the base with a dash of soy sauce and brandy or cognac. No yogurt or sour cream. When my boys were little the go-to meat was Oscar Mayer hot dogs (because they had a smoky taste), but now Andouille sausage or any of the wonderful organic chicken sausages (available in delicious flavor combos) take center stage. Can't say as I've tried lemon or balsamic vinegar (I wonder how apple cider vinegar would taste?) but may have to make a batch this weekend just to do that. Perhaps the most delicious lentil soup I ever had was made by a British friend. When I asked her for the recipe she said she just threw in whatever she felt like..."Oh, and a bit of Vegemite!" Didn't taste as good the time I made it, but I didn't know how much to use and I haven't dared try again. If anyone can clue me in on that, please do!

          2. Here's a link to a suggestion made in another thread on this topic. The thread overall is good, but the recommended Madhur Jaffrey recipe for lentil soup is very simple and truly outstanding:


            1. I've had success with the Hearty Lentil soup recipe from Cook's Illustrated (easily Google-able). I substitute turkey bacon for the pork bacon, and it's still very good. Freezes really well, too.

              1 Reply
              1. I once had a lentil soup that had oxtails in it -- it was absolutely delicious -- anyone know of such a soup or have a recipe for one?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sarah

                  I've never done it with oxtails, but I use a recipe that I found in my mom's v old Betty Crocker? cookbook. It is very easy. Just make a beefy broth with shanks, onion and whatever aromatics you have around. Once you're happy with the broth, add washed brown lentils. I'm planning to try it soon with little green French lentils. I usually add whatever vegetables I have around: brussel sprouts, cauliflower, etc.