Everyone should have a lentil soup or two in their list of go-to recipes. They’re hearty, inexpensive, and perfect for a chilly night.
Usually I don’t make them the same way twice, but I made a pot in September with smoked paprika that I was craving again, so I decided that my lentil soups needed that spice every time from now on. Smoked paprika is especially nice if your lentil soup has tomatoes.
I’ve also decided that the best lentils for a soup like this are a mix of the inexpensive brown ones and French green lentils. The French ones stay firm and separate, while the brown ones soften and thicken the soup. But I also think you should use whatever lentils you have in your pantry or whatever you fancy.
I still didn’t make this pot exactly like the last one, though. This time, I added fennel and tweaked the spices so that it didn’t quite taste like any other recipe in my repertoire, or hopefully in yours. This one is a keeper.
Also, this made me laugh – I take all of my photos outside if I can, as my kitchen and dining room are pretty dark. So that dining room table up there? It’s a piece of birch plywood. I took my “table” outside to shoot this soup, went inside to get the food and my camera, and when I came out two minutes later, it was starting to get covered in leaves already. Yay, Autumn!
I’m sending this soup to My Legume Love Affair, the long-running blog event created by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook and now managed by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen. MLLA is being hosted this month by Denny of Oh Taste n See.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced, about 1-1/2 cups
- 1 carrot, diced, about 1/2 cup
- 1 medium fennel bulb, diced, about 1-1/2 cups
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups French green lentils or brown lentils (I used a mix)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 to 3 cups water
- 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 2 tablespoons vermouth (optional, lemon juice would be nice in its place)
- A pinch of red pepper flakes or a few shakes of hot sauce (optional)
- Salt to taste (I added 1/2 teaspoon)
- A few fronds of fennel for garnish, optional
Heat the olive oil to medium in a large soup pot. Sauté the onion, carrot, and fennel until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute. Add the lentils, tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaf, broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a low boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Add the smoked paprika, oregano, sage, vermouth, red pepper flakes, and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Remove the bay leaf before serving.