Lentil Soup is one of those powerhouse recipes that everyone needs to have in their back pocket. It’s a core foundation to your kitchen (and your life) that will serve you well from now until basically forever. Lentil soup is filling and comforting without forsaking nutritional density or incredible flavor. It’s versatile, vegan, and, better yet, basically free. A huge pot provides a week’s worth of satisfying, gut-warming lunches and only costs around 6 bucks to pull together. Kids dig it, old people fucking love it, and it’s maybe better than chicken soup when you’ve got a gnarly cold.
Our recipe for lentil soup gets its flavor from a heavy helping of aromatic veg, plenty of cumin, and nutty, sweet roasted garlic. Since we’re hella busy— and lazy— we rarely have time or patience to roast our own garlic, but we’re never satisfied with the pasty, flavorless stuff you can buy at the supermarket. To get around this horrible tragedy of modern cooking, we developed a short cut. Pop as many unpeeled cloves as you need into a dry skillet over medium heat until their skins darken. With basically zero effort and less than five minutes, this technique gives you the tender, roasty nuggets of garlic that you need to make your soup (or garlic bread. or pile of pasta) taste really special.
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 4 Carrots
- 4 stalks Celery
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Lentils
- 1 tbsp Cumin
- 2 qt Vegetable Broth
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 whole sprigs Thyme
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Set a large, dry dutch oven over medium heat and drop in the Garlic cloves with their peels still on. Let them toast for a few minutes on each side, until the skins are browned and fragrant, and set aside.
Roughly chop the Onion, Carrots, and Celery. Add the Olive Oil to the dutch oven and saute until browned and tender.
Peel and smash up the Garlic and add it back to the pot, along with the Lentils and Cumin. Cook for a few seconds, until the lentils are nicely coated in oil. Empty the Broth into the pot and add the Bay Leaf and whole sprigs of Thyme. Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Fish out the Bay Leaf and Thyme.
Season with Salt and Pepper and serve piping hot. We like this soup all on its own, but it’s kind of amazing with a little extra . Stir in some spinach or add a little diced ham and definitely serve it with a big side of hearty whole grain bread or cheesy croutons.