National Nutrition Month Lentil Soup Recipe
By Karrin Trudell, RDN, Registered Dietitian Supervisor, Site Research Services
Consuming more plant-based meals can be budget-friendly as well as lessen our environmental impact. According to a report by the U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization, globally, the meat industry has a marked impact on water, soils, the extinction of plants and animals, and the consumption of natural resources. It also has a strong affect on global warming.
Another budget-friendly option is to cook in larger batches and save leftovers for future meals. Not only is it one less meal that’s being cooked, but it’s also less groceries being purchased.
This plant-based lentil soup recipe is one of my go-tos, especially during the cold winter months. It’s simple to put together and makes great leftovers that can easily be frozen for up to 3 months. The ingredients consist of some shelf-stable pantry staples, which tend to be inexpensive. Lentils are an easy legume to cook with since they don’t require any soaking prior to use like beans do. Lentils also don’t require as much cooking time as beans. This soup can be served alongside some pita bread or a nice salad.
The Best Lentil Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 14-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 2 cups dry green or brown lentils
- 7 cups vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 3 cups baby spinach, sliced into ribbon
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring frequently for about 4-5 minutes
- Now add the can of tomatoes (with juices), lentils, vegetable broth, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. Stir to incorporate everything.
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the soup has thickened. For a creamier texture, use an immersion blender to blend a few times in the pot. Alternatively, add 1-2 cups of the soup to a regular blender, blend until smooth and then return to the pot.
- Stir in the spinach and lemon juice. It will only take a minute for the spinach to wilt. Season with salt to taste.
Recipe adapted from Nora Cooks.