Hearty Lentil Soup

Here is a thick, rich and delicious soup that will warm you up on a chilly fall evening. This hearty soup takes less than an hour to prepare, which is always great news on a busy weeknight in my house. I made this hearty lentil soup on trick-or-treat night to warm us up after spending a few hours outside. I prepared the soup earlier in the day then placed it in a crock pot set to low heat. The crock pot kept the soup warm for all of our guests and allowed me to interact with our guests and trick-or-treaters instead hanging out in the kitchen. Serve this soup with freshly baked corn bread for an incredibly tasty meal.

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Hearty Lentil Soup

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  • 3 slices bacon (about 3 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup lentils (7 ounces), rinsed and picked over
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves


  1. In large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, fry bacon, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in lentils, salt, and pepper; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Uncover, increase heat to high, add wine, and bring to simmer.
  7. Add chicken broth and water; bring to boil, cover partially, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 35 minutes; discard bay leaf.
  8. Transfer 3 cups of soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return pureed soup to pot; stir in vinegar and heat soup over medium-low until hot, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and serve, garnishing each bowl with some of remaining parsley.

Yields: 2 quarts, 4 to 6 servings

Source: Cook’s Illustrated, January 2004

18 Responses to “Hearty Lentil Soup”

  1. #
    Caroline — November 2, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

    Lentil soup is one of my favorites. Yours looks so thick and hearty…beautiful color too. It’s actually cooling down here in CA (well, maybe I’m just being a baby…it’s not that cold), but this would be the perfect meal to warm me up. :)

  2. #
    jennknee — November 2, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

    I LOVE lentils!! It is really chilly here today…definitely worth making!

  3. #
    ChgoJohn — November 2, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

    That’s the great thing about lentil soup: it doesn’t need to simmer for hours on the stove. The idea of sitting down to a bowl. like the one pictured, in less than an hour seems impossible but it’s not at all. Great recipe!

  4. #
    Laura — November 2, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    I was just thinking of making lentil soup in the next couple weeks. I will be trying this recipe. Seems like a perfect dinner for a chilly fall evening. I also know my husband will like it because bacon is in the ingredient list!

  5. #
    Bluejellybeans — November 3, 2011 @ 5:26 am

    Yummy! Confort food 100%

  6. #
    Linda Gartner — November 3, 2011 @ 9:01 am

    That’s the most delicious looking bowl of lentil soup I’ve ever seen! Yummy! Thank you for continueing to delight us with your recipes.

  7. #
    Just A Smidgen — November 3, 2011 @ 11:27 am

    It’s definitely soup weather now, isn’t it? Thank goodness or we wouldn’t see this pretty bowl of zuppa you’ve made for us:)

  8. #
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — November 3, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    My lentil soup is never this rich. I need to try yours. How do full crockpots do in the mail?

  9. #
    Anne — November 3, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    I love lentil soup! And pretty much anything Cook’s Illustrated makes.

  10. Pingback: Soup’s On! A Soup Roundup! | Sweet Pea's Kitchen

  11. #
    claudia — November 3, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    Being the confirmed soup-o-holic that I am – I have to make this. It would be like a blanket on a chilly eve.

  12. #
    Peggy — November 4, 2011 @ 5:12 am

    This almost looks like a lentil-esque chili! I love how thick and hearty this is – and I’m sure it’s the perfect bowl of comfort and warmth =)

  13. #
    CB — November 4, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

    What kind of lentils did you use? This looks so good!

    • Christina replied: — November 20th, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

      I just used regular green lentils that I found at the grocery store. If you give the soup a try I would love to hear how it turns out for you! :)

  14. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — November 4, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

    lentil soup has become my new favorite to make. So easy, so good and just so good for you!

  15. #
    Tina — November 11, 2011 @ 6:09 am

    I love lentil soup and was excited to try it at home. What a hit! Hubby and kids just raved about it..In fact the kids had a second bowl and my husband said to put this immediately in our menu rotation for fall/winter time.

    • Christina replied: — November 21st, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

      I love to hear that your family enjoyed the lentil soup so much! Thanks so much for letting me know how it turned out for you! :)

  16. #
    iamahoneybee — November 12, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    I keep buying bags of lentils but have never made anything with them. I have to fix that! Soup looks awesome.

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