This Italian Lentil Soup, is a delicious healthy One Pot Soup Recipe. A hearty creamy soup without adding milk or cream. Perfect for lunch or dinner, serve with some crusty bread and dinner is served!
Lentils are very popular in Italy. Especially at New Years Eve / Day. No house is without a big pot Lentils & Sausage Stew. Italians are a very superstitious group. They eat Lentils at Midnight, which represents luck and prosperity in the coming new year.
My mother-in-law always made a delicious homemade Lentil soup with her homemade sausages. I decided to leave out the sausages and make it a just veggie soup.
- Olive oil
- Tomatoes – Pelati tomatoes
- Bay leaf
- Hot pepper flakes
- Baby spinach – you can use regular spinach and just cut it in half
What are Pelati Tomatoes?
Pelati tomatoes are skinned plum (san marzano) tomatoes that are canned in their own juice with no additives such as salt, garlic basil etc. You can also use canned chopped tomatoes or even passata as long as there is nothing added to the tomatoes.
How to make it
In a large bowl of water soak the lentils for approximately 1-2 hours, then drain and rinse. Chop the celery, carrots and potatoes.
In a large pot add the oil, chopped onion, carrots and celery, cook for 2 minutes stirring often then add the garlic and cook until onion is transparent.
Add the lentils, broth, tomatoes and spices. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue to cook for 30 minutes.
In the last 5 minutes add the spinach, stir to combine. At this point you can remove ⅓-½ the soup and blend until smooth either in a blender or food processor, then add it back into the pot. Heat through and serve.
How to make homemade broth
In a large pot add a few pieces of meat or chicken (bone in is also a good idea) or as I did for this recipe I used only vegetables, a carrot and an onion peeled and cut in half, a celery stalk cut in two, a bay leaf, 2-3 pepper corns, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt and 12 cups of water.
Bring it to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for about three hours. Stir occasionally and remove any foam that appears on the top of the broth. Pour the broth through a sieve, and let the liquid cool before using.
Any unused broth can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days. It can also be frozen in freezer safe containers and will keep for up to 6 months.
If you prefer you can always use store bought broth, just be careful about adding the salt, store bought can be very salty. It would be best to make the soup and taste for salt after it is cooked.
What are the difference between Lentils?
The brown and green lentils will retain their shape well, whereas the, split red and yellow lentils will disintegrate, therefore, a lot of people prefer these to green and brown in soups and stews. Personally I prefer the brown which is what I usually use. Although if you are pureeing soup red and yellow would be best to use.
What to serve with Homemade soup
I guess it all depends on if you are serving the soup as a main dish as a soup such as this one is, I like to serve a really good bread with soup, from Homemade Ciabatta bread to Soft Dinner Rolls to even a soft Focaccia, or if you prefer a simple lettuce salad always works.
It isn’t really necessary to soak lentils but I like to let them soak for about 1-2 hours, they will cook faster and soaking helps with easier digestion. If you decide not to soak the lentils then just rinse them under cold water before cooking, they may take a bit longer to cook.
Lentil Soup should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It can be re-heated on the stove or microwave. It will last up to three to four days in the fridge.
It freezes very well too, freeze in a freezer safe container. The soup will last up to six months in the freezer.
I hope you give this easy soup a try. I like to serve it with some Homemade Biscuits or sometimes I cut a few slices of bread, top it with shredded cheese. Then melt the slices in the oven and serve it with a big bowl of this Italian Lentil Soup. Buon Appetito!
More Delicious Soups
Italian Lentil Soup
- 1 cup dried Lentils* (190 grams)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 2 carrots (chopped) (1 cup / 120 grams)
- 1 celery stalk chopped (¼ cup + 1 tablespoon / 45 grams)
- 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 4-5 cups vegetable or chicken broth (940-1175 grams)
- 1 can pelati tomatoes (mashed) (1¾ cups /240 grams)
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon basil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 dashes hot pepper flakes or black pepper 1
- 2 medium potatoes (chopped) (1 ¾ cups – 240 grams)
- 1 ½ cup baby spinach leaves (45 grams)
*I like to soak the lentils for about 1-2 hours, they cook faster and aids ingestion.
**Depending if you use store bought or homemade broth you may want to add the salt after the soup is almost cooked.
- In a large bowl of water soak the lentils for approximately 1-2 hours, then drain and rinse.
- In a large pot add the oil, chopped onion, carrots and celery, cook for 2 minutes stirring often then add the garlic and cook until onion is transparent.
- Then add the lentils, broth, tomatoes and spices. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue to cook for 30 minutes, in the last 5 minutes remove the bay leaf and add the spinach, stir to combine. At this point you can remove ⅓-½ the soup and blend until smooth* then add back into the pot. Heat through and serve.
*I removed about 3 ladles full (1 -1 ½ cups), I left mine not completely smooth, a little coarse.
Updated from December 30, 2015.
Debbie T. says
HELP! I was a little distracted making the soup, and added a LARGE can of San Marzano tomatoes (794 g)! Should I add more chicken broth or just leave it for a more tomato-lentil soup? I want a balanced flavor profile.
Hi Debbie, you could had a bit more broth, and just cook it a bit longer on high so the extra liquid evaporates. Let me know how it goes. Take care!
Debbie T. says
Thanks for the reply. I ended up adding a total of 6 cups of broth. I pureed about half the soup and let it cook an hour longer. I sprinkled some grated Italian sharp cheese on top. Really good!! Next time I’ll pay closer attention while cooking. Also, I think I might finely shred the spinach. Thanks for a great recipe–and I used soaked red lentils.
Hi Debbie, thanks for letting me know and glad it worked out. I find cooking you can almost always correct mistakes, baking can be trickier. Take care!
Delicious soup!!!! Served Ribollita style with a toasted piece of bread under soup!! So very good!!! Also used orange lentils and soaked them, will always pre soak lentils from now on. Game changer!! Healthy, filling and was a wonderful reminder of our trip to Italy!! Thanks!!
Hi Gwen, thanks so much, so glad you liked the soup and great idea on serving it on bread. Take care!
Thank you, Rosemary, for another delicious meal. LOVE your recipes!
Hi Barbara, thanks so much, so glad you liked it. Take care!
No sodium count?
Hi Jacqueline, no because I didn’t add salt because the broth was already quite salty and the counter really doesn’t know brands. Sorry.
Teresa Delucchi says
Do you have to purée?
Hi Teresa, no you don’t have to if you don’t want to, you can leave it as is. I hope you enjoy it. Take care!
Absolutely scrumptious. Definitely made all the difference soaking lentils before hand. Thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe 🥰
Hi Bee, thanks so much, so glad you enjoyed the soup. Take care and Happy New Year!
Outstanding! This will be on my regular rotation of soups I make also love the fact that it is freezable!
When I smelled this soup it reminded me of the minestrone soup my dad made, I send to my son smell this soup and what do you smell? No hesitation from my son he said minestrone that nonno made. thank you for this amazing recipe
Hi Sonia, thanks so much, so glad you enjoyed the soup. So glad I could bring back a wonderful memory. Take care and Happy New Year!
I have not yet made this recipe, but all of the past recipes I have made from your site have been wonderful.
The reason I am commenting is to say “Thank you” for including both US and Metric measures in your recipes. I appreciate that you include both without switching to either one. I am a home baker and scale all recipes using mostly gram measures as they are easier to get exact very small measures.
Thanks again and Happy New Year!!!!
Hi Barbara, thanks so much and you’re very welcome. I usually use metric also, except when I make my Mom’s old recipes. Take care Happy New Year to you too!
Love this recipe. It’s so easy to make and it tastes delicious.
Hi Vanessa, thanks so much, so glad you like the soup. Take care and Happy New Year!
Lenore G says
I put a spin on recipe of zucchini I had and barley. Yummy at this time of year 12/1. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Lenore, thanks so much, great idea adding the barley. I love barley. Take care!
Loved this version with the potatoes normally I add pasta
Hi Sus, thanks so much, so glad you enjoyed it. Take care!