Finally a bowl of lentil soup with a nice thin broth, yet one that’s hearty and filling enough to fight the cold weather chills!
COLD WEATHER LENTIL SOUP
I’m back with another soup recipe after what seems like an eternity! Even though I never shy away from turning on a burner or heating up the oven in the middle of summer, it seems that this past summer got away from me without any soup being made.
The last soup recipe that I published was my Chunky Vegetable and Spinach Soup, and that was back in February! Now that the cold weather has set in, I’m about to make up for lost time and get my soup game on with this lentil soup – who’s with me?
In our home, canned lentils are often used to make soups, stews, and salads more hearty. In fact, our pantry is often stocked with canned legumes to make life easier. Sometimes, I’ll put in the effort to soak dried beans, but in most cases, we used canned.
Cold Weather Lentil Soup has a lot of lentils, but it’s not all about those. This soup is loaded with other good-for-you ingredients as well. There’s carrots, celery, potatoes, and green beans. I’ve paired those things with aromatics like onion and garlic. In the end, this soup is hearty like a stew, but has enough broth to keep it a soup!
ARE THERE ANY SHORTCUTS?
Hmmm… I’m not a huge fan of taking shortcuts in the kitchen other than using canned beans, lentils, or tomatoes, etc. I find that some shortcuts greatly change the taste of the finished dish.
For example, I know you can buy diced onions, celery, and carrots. I know you can buy chopped garlic in jars. You can even buy peeled potatoes in cans! I would not use any of those in this soup.
If you really need to save some time, why not do your prep the day before or the morning of? I like to peel and chop veggies and store them separately in either containers with lids or small resealable sandwich bags. Just keep them in the fridge.
Potatoes will darken and lose their bright white colour if you peel and chop them ahead of time. You can do so, but you can’t just place them in a container and toss them in the fridge. Rinse the chopped potatoes under cold running water and transfer to a food-safe bowl. Cover with cold water; place a lid on the bowl, and place in the refrigerator.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SUBSTITUTIONS
There are a number of ingredients in this recipe that can be substituted. Of course, the taste will change with some substitutions, but for the most part, you’ll still have a delicious soup. Let’s go through them one by one:
- olive oil – basically any oil will do (vegetable, canola, peanut, etc.)
- white onion – use yellow onion or even red onion if needed
- garlic – you can add garlic powder instead (1/2 teaspoon) or leave it out completely
- carrots – try using parsnips or squash
- celery – that’s a tough one; you can use bok choi or jicama, but I would leave it out
- bay leaves – for each bay leaf, use 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
- rosemary – equal amounts of dried thyme, tarragon, or savoury
- thyme – equal amounts of savoury, marjoram, or oregano
- vegetable stock – you can use beef or chicken stock
- dark soy sauce – use regular, light, or reduced sodium soy sauce
- potatoes – consider using turnip, rutabaga, or parsnips
- lentils – yellow split peas would make a great substitute, but make sure they are soaked until soft first
- green peas – use frozen corn
WHERE’S THE PROTEIN?
Well, Dear Reader, lentils have a great deal of protein in them, so I would not be too worried about it. If you need to add more protein to this recipe, you certainly can!
To keep things easy, I would purchase a rotisserie chicken and allow it to cool. Remove the skin and discard. Remove the meat from the bones and roughly chop it. Add it to the soup at the same time you add the lentils and soy sauce.
Now, here we are at the end of our Cold Weather Lentil Soup chat. How do you feel about this soup now? We’ve talked about many substitution options, and we’ve talked about how to add protein if you need more or if you’re not a fan of vegetarian soups.
We’ve also talked about how to do a little bit of the prep ahead of time, making sure that the prepped veggies remain packaged in a way that will keep them fresh for when the time comes to make the soup.
Even though this a very hearty and filling soup, I’d be doing you a disservice if I led you to believe that bread should not be served with it. We love soups in the cooler months, and nearly 100% of the time, our bowls of piping hot soup come with a few slices of bread.
In this case, it’s thinly sliced baguette. The softness of the bread soaks up the broth very well. The crust on the bread remains chewy and provides texture and weight. Trust me, Dear Reader, you’re going to love Cold Weather Lentil Soup!
Cold Weather Lentil Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup white onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 4 cups diced peeled potatoes
- 3 cups canned lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- fresh thyme leaves and/or fresh parsley for garnish, optional
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid, add the olive oil, onions, and salt. Over medium heat, saute the onions until just translucent – about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and stir into the onions. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Next, add the carrots, celery, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and ground black pepper. Stir together. Cook the vegetables, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes.
- Pour in the vegetable stock, stir, and place the lid on the pot. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the potatoes; stir to incorporate, cover the pot and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Next, add the lentils and dark soy sauce. Stir. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
- Lastly, remove the bay leafs and add the green peas. Stir into the soup and turn off the heat. Cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the lid. Stir the soup and ladle into bowls. Garnish and serve with crusty bread.