As this is the third time this lentil soup has made an appearance here, I’ll keep this brief: To make it, throw everything into a pot and simmer it for one hour. This soup has a nice, vinegary bite and gets better by the day. Soup + bread: what more do we need?
This is a recipe from my vegan cousin Christine — everyone in our family has been making it for years.
A few notes: some people find 1/2 cup vinegar to be too much, but I made this again yesterday, using white balsamic vinegar (Colavita is my favorite), and I cut it back by 2 tablespoons only to add 2 tablespoons back in at the end, because I like that vinegary bite. If you are using a different vinegar — white balsamic is on the sweet side — you may want to start with 1/4 cup vinegar and add more to taste by the tablespoon at the end.
Crushed tomatoes: I love the Pomi brand, which has a nice, pure flavor, but use any crushed tomatoes you can find, preferably ones without any additional seasonings.
- 1 1/4 cups French green lentils
- 12 oz crushed tomatoes — I like Pomi brand finely chopped tomatoes (1 1/2 cups), see notes above
- 2 large onions, chopped (about a quart of diced onions)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup white balsamic vinegar, see notes above
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped, or if you are feeling lazy, a few whole springs
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced (1 to 2 cups)
- 3 celery stalks, diced (1 to 2 cups)
- crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Throw all ingredients together in a pot. Add 1½ qts. plus one cup of water (seven cups total) and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour uncovered. Taste, adjust with more salt — I always add another teaspoon of kosher salt, sometimes more. Extract the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, if using, and discard. Serve with bread and lots of fresh cracked pepper.
On day two, much of the liquid will have been absorbed buy the lentils and veggies. Just add a little more water to the pot as you reheat and adjust the seasoning as necessary — a pinch more salt usually does the trick.
This recipe doubles well. Recently, when I made a double batch, I added 2 quarts of diced onions, 1 quart of diced carrots, 1 quart of diced celery, and a whole head of minced garlic, which I puréed in the food processor for ease.