Mediterranean Lentil Soup is a classic vegetarian soup recipe. It’s hearty, healthy and delightfully filling. It is perfect for warming up on those cold, winter days. While there are 100's of variations of this magical dish, you can never go wrong with a simple, delicious steaming bowl of lentil soup.
Mediterranean Lentil Soup
Cooking basic pantry ingredients like lentils doesn't have to equal boring! Actually, there's a good reason why lentils are loved worldwide, and it's not just for their protein. These mighty legumes are extremely versatile and tasty, especially when making soup.
For this Mediterranean Lentil Soup recipe, I go with an Italian flavour profile: fire-roasted tomatoes, parmesan rind, green lentils, garlic, Italian herb seasoning, and topped with Cavalo Nero, also known as black kale.
What You'll need
- Mirepoix: This is a mixture of 2 parts onions, 1 part carrots, and 1 part celery.
- Tomatoes: A large can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Aromatics and spices: Italian herbs and seasoning, garlic and bay leaves.
- Lentils: You can use brown or green lentils. To reduce cooking time, you can use canned lentils.
- Broth: I used vegetable broth, but you can swap it for chicken broth or use bouillon powder/cubes.
- Kale: I prefer to use Cavalo Nero, also known as Lacinato kale, Dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale, and Italian Black Cabbage. You can use regular curly kale as well.
- Flavour boosts: The parmesan rind is an excellent addition; it gives a nice umami effect to the soup. Lemon is a must as it brightens the flavours and gives the soup that perfect final touch.
Pro Tips for making the best Mediterranean Lentil soup
- Pre-boil the lentils. If you're using dried lentils, it's important not to cook lentils or any dried bean in tomatoes. Tomatoes are acidic and can stop your lentils from cooking completely.
- Layer the flavours. The key to any good dish is the layering of the flavours, especially in plant-based recipes. I layered the flavours by starting with the mirepoix, then the seasoning, and finished the dish off with a fresh pop of lemon.
- Thicken the soup. A quick blitz with a hand blender is an easy way to give this soup a thicker texture, but you can skip this step if you wish.
- Steam your greens! Don't you just love pops of colour? I sure do. Steaming your green leaf veggies in the soup's residual heat helps keep the vibrant green colour and maintains the plants' nutrients.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can swap out the kale for spinach, chard or any other hearty green vegetable you have on hand.
I've had trouble finding them sometimes too. If you run into this problem, simply use regular diced tomatoes.
It's ok, just leave it out and sprinkle some parmesan on top.
I wouldn't recommend any other lentils than brown or green for this soup.
Lentils do not cook well in acidic foods such as tomatoes. Sometimes it works; other times it doesn't, you can simply add everything together at once if you wish, but I've found the best results with adding cooked lentils to the pot.
Looking for More Lentil Recipes?
- Lentil & Chard Stew
- Roasted Cauliflower & Lentil Salad
- Mediterranean Lentil Soup
- Lebanese Whole grain Stew
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 onion, small diced
- 2 carrots, small diced
- 2 celery stalks, small diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 and ½ tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 28 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup cooked green or brown lentils
- 3 kale leaves, stemmed and sliced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 oz parmesan rind
- Prepare the Mirepoix. Heat a 6qt pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the onions are golden. Then add the garlic and sauté until fragrant 1-2 minutes.
- Season the soup. Add the Italian seasoning, cumin and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomato & broth. Pour in the diced tomatoes and the parmesan rind. Stir and simmer for 3 minutes. Then add the remaining 3 cups of veggie broth.
- Add the lentils. Pour the lentil into the soup with its liquids. Yep. Just pour the whole pot into the soup.
- Simmer the soup. Continue cooking the soup for 15 minutes. To allow the flavours to mingle.
- Blend to thicken. This step is optional! Using a stick blender, place it in the pot of soup and do a quick blitz. Remove and choose another area of the soup. Do this step a few times. The goal is to leave the soup thicker with lots of texture.
- Add the finishing touches. Remove the soup from the heat, add the kale and lemon and cover for 5 minutes to let the residual heat steam the kale.
- Serve in your favourite bowl with some sourdough bread.
Pre-boil lentils if using dried. In a small pot, add lentils, then cover with 3 cups of vegetable broth. Simmer the lentils over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes. (Do this step at the same time as you prepare the Mirepoix)
Never Boil lentils in Tomatoes:
I've seen many recipes where the recipe adds the dried lentils into tomato-based soups. This, however, will result in some uncooked lentils. It can also cause digestion issues. This rule doesn't apply to red lentils, they'll cook no matter what.
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Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 396mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 8gSugar: 8gProtein: 6g