I got the urge to make lentil soup when I was freezing meals for my then 8 month old daughter. She loves the lentil soup that I had made her and I really wanted to make something that all of us could enjoy. This is more like an Italian minestrone soup with lentils.
Truth be told, my three year old wasn’t thrilled to pieces about this soup but he willingly ate every bite when I said he could have strawberries and cream for dessert. I think a more kid friendly pasta like alphabet letters or tiny stars may make this a more appealing soup to the young ones in your family.
I used French lentils that I found in the bulk section of Whole Foods. Do not omit the last step of garnishing with freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil, it really adds a boost to the soup.
Recipe Adapted From: Giada DeLaurentiis
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, or 1-2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
- 8 cups low-salt chicken stock
- 4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2/3 cup dried elbow pasta (or any favorite pasta)
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes.
Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.