Italian Lentil Soup

Italian Lentil Soup -- this delicious soup is easy to make, and so comforting! It's naturally vegetarian (or vegan), but feel free to add in Italian sausage if you'd like extra protein. | gimmesomeoven.com

Soooo, I’ve now hosted brunch for mine and Barclay’s parents all together at my place twice.

And I have royally messed up the meal…twice.

The first was that lovely time when the quiche refused to set up and the crispy potatoes were anything but crispy.  And the second — a few weeks ago — was that lovely time when I made a version of this soup in the slow cooker that was a little too slow and never quite got cooked.  Apparently I went to church and accidentally set the crock pot on “low” instead of “high”, and after dishing up everyone’s bowls, realized that everyone was crunching down on half-cooked lentils and veggies.

Shining moments, indeed, for this food blogging hostess.

Of course, everyone was awesome as usual and acted like it was no big deal, and then kindly finished their crunchy lentils and un-crispy potatoes with a smile.  And I’m not one to sweat it out either, since cooking failures are a regular part of life here in my little ol’ Gimme Some Oven test kitchen.  But I am ready for the third time to be the charm.  (Because I swear I really can cook!)  ;)

Just to prove that to myself, I made another batch of this soup to test out the recipe.  And turns out, the second time making it was indeed the charm.  And it was so good that I wanted to share it with you too.  Well, the tested, non-crunchy, fully-cooked version, that is…


Italian Lentil Soup -- this delicious soup is easy to make, and so comforting! It's naturally vegetarian (or vegan), but feel free to add in Italian sausage if you'd like extra protein. | gimmesomeoven.com

Really, this soup began as one of those clean-out-the-pantry-and-dump-everything-in-the-crock-pot kind of meals for me.  And since this boyfriend of mine is vegetarian, I decided to nix adding the Italian sausage (although I’d totally recommend it for you meat-eaters in this recipe).

The one ingredient that I did run over to the market to purchase was a big batch of collard greens.  Ever since I had Kathryne’s lentil soup while we were living in Austin, I’ve been obsessed with adding collards to my soups.  They taste great, they hold their texture amazingly, and they also add a nice bright green “pop” to any soup.  I’m now a total fan!

The second time around, I also experimented with making this recipe on the stovetop as well as the slow cooker.  And I’m happy to say that either will work!  If you do the slow cooker version, just keep in mind that lentils take awhile to cook.  So bargain for a little extra time than most slow cooker recipes usually require.

Italian Lentil Soup -- this delicious soup is easy to make, and so comforting! It's naturally vegetarian (or vegan), but feel free to add in Italian sausage if you'd like extra protein. | gimmesomeoven.com

Once it’s done, you’re welcome to serve the soup “as is”, which also happens to be vegan.
Italian Lentil Soup -- this delicious soup is easy to make, and so comforting! It's naturally vegetarian (or vegan), but feel free to add in Italian sausage if you'd like extra protein. | gimmesomeoven.com

Or you’re welcome to load it up with Parmesan cheese and extra fresh parsley or basil, which would make this vegetarian.

However you make the soup, I feel like your batch is going to turn out great.  ;)  Enjoy!

Italian Lentil Soup

This hearty Italian Lentil Soup recipe is easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and full of the best Italian flavors!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced white onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 large carrots, peeled)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 celery stalks, leaves removed)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 7-8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup rinsed red lentils
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups roughly-chopped collard greens
  • optional toppings: freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, finely-chopped fresh parsley or basil

Directions:

Stovetop Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, carrots and celery, and saute for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the stock, lentils, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, black pepper, and crushed pepper, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pot partially with the lid.  Keeping the soup at a low simmer, continue cooking for about 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender and cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the collard greens, and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the greens have softened.
  5. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Remove the bay leaves.
  6. Serve warm, garnished with optional toppings if desired.
  7. This soup can also be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Slow Cooker Directions:

  1. Add the first 12 ingredients (through the red pepper) to a large 6-quart slow cooker, and stir to combine.  Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low, until the lentils are tender and cooked through.
  2. Stir in the collard greens, and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the greens have softened.
  3. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Remove the bay leaves.
  4. Serve warm, garnished with optional toppings if desired.
  5. This soup can also be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

*If making this recipe vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken.

**If making this recipe vegan, use vegetable stock and omit the cheese.

***If you would like to add meat, I recommend browning 1 pound of Italian sausage in a skillet separately.  Then drain the grease, and stir the sausage into the soup.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Italian Lentil Soup -- this delicious soup is easy to make, and so comforting! It's naturally vegetarian (or vegan), but feel free to add in Italian sausage if you'd like extra protein. | gimmesomeoven.com

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Comments

  1. Katrina — January 8, 2016 @ 11:59 am (#)

    This looks so delicious (and healthy!) I love the fire roasted tomatoes in there!

  2. Ali's Mom — January 8, 2016 @ 2:50 pm (#)

    As a guest at each of the brunches described above, I thought they were fabulous. It’s a treat to spend time with friends and family, and eat in Ali’s fabulous loft – even with “al dente” veggie soup.

  3. Jeri — January 8, 2016 @ 3:32 pm (#)

    I made a big pot of lentil soup for New Year’s Eve (considered to be good luck in many cultures) only to discover I was out of Parmagiana. We don’t have an all night cheese store, so I had to wing it with feta as a garnish. YUM! Can’t wait to try greens in my next batch. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 9th, 2016 @ 7:59 pm

      Very cool Jeri! We hope you enjoy the greens (we’re obsessed)! :)

  4. Sara | Tastefulventure — January 8, 2016 @ 6:34 pm (#)

    I’m always looking for new Lentil recipes (I just discovered how good they were…yes!) I can’t wait to try this, yum!

  5. Beverley — January 9, 2016 @ 5:01 am (#)

    give me soup any time of the day and I will be happy…love this recipe and Happy New Year xoxo

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 9th, 2016 @ 5:23 pm

      Thanks Beverley, we hope you enjoy this! Happy new year to you as well! :)

  6. connie — January 9, 2016 @ 1:05 pm (#)

    This soup sounds great.  I have never had collard greens – what do they taste like?
    Can spinach be sub for collard greens? or some other greens?  Thanks.
    .

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 9th, 2016 @ 6:01 pm

      Thanks Connie, we hope you enjoy this! Collard greens are really hearty, and they have a little bitterness to them (but they are so delicious in this soup)! Spinach doesn’t taste like collard greens, but itcan definitely be used instead, we just wouldn’t add it until the very end, since it’s much more tender and delicate. Kale is a little more similar in texture, since it’s a thicker, sturdier green, so that would work well too.

  7. Savita @ ChefDeHome — January 9, 2016 @ 5:33 pm (#)

    This soup look soo good! Lentils are my pure fav in soups! I bet roasted tomatoes added another layer of flavor.

  8. Mimi — January 9, 2016 @ 5:59 pm (#)

    I made this tonight and, as always, it was delicious!! I’m sure it’ll be even better tomorrow. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 9th, 2016 @ 7:46 pm

      Awesome, we’re so glad you liked it Mimi! :)

  9. Katie — January 10, 2016 @ 7:58 am (#)

    YUM! Can’t wait to make this! I’d like to add the sausage. When should I add it to the soup?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 11th, 2016 @ 5:18 pm

      Thanks Katie, we hope you enjoy! :) You can brown the sausage in a separate pan (you can either cut it in slices before or after cooking). Then add it once you bring the soup to a simmer.

  10. Tom ~ Raise Your Garden — January 11, 2016 @ 7:14 am (#)

    I’m putting on my Oakly sunglasses cause this soup is HOT HOT HOT! And the lentils come wife approved! 

  11. Rebecca @ NOURISHED. the blog — January 11, 2016 @ 9:21 am (#)

    This soup looks amazingly warm and cozy and perfect for January. Spinach has been my green of choice for a little while now but I think I am going to have to some of that collard green love. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 11th, 2016 @ 9:13 pm

      Thank you Rebecca, we hope you love it! :D

  12. Sandra — January 12, 2016 @ 10:58 am (#)

    I made this on Sunday for my lunches this week.  This soup is very very good.  Added turkey italian sausage, used green lentils (what I had in the kitchen).  Double the carrots, cause they are yum.  It really is fantastic.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 12th, 2016 @ 2:01 pm

      We’re happy you enjoyed this Sandra! :D

  13. Monica — January 12, 2016 @ 12:05 pm (#)

    I only have kale, and it’s so cold and windy here in Ohio that I don’t want to go to farmers market for collard greens. 
    Wonder how this would taste. I’ve never used collard greens so I don’t know how they compare to kale.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 12th, 2016 @ 1:40 pm

      We think kale would be awesome (it definitely doesn’t taste like collard greens), but the texture is not too far off (if you use lacinato kale)! We hope you enjoy, stay warm!

  14. Bita Arabian — January 13, 2016 @ 12:52 pm (#)

    Hi Ali!  Your post is timely – I’ve been on a lentil soup kick.  It is my all time favorite kind of soup.  I make it super simple with just carrots and onions.  I like collard greens idea – I’ll try it!  I’m not an official vegetarian… I’m a flexitarian is what I think they’re calling it these days.  I like my lentil soup meatless personally.  Anyhow, this is right up my ‘alley’ 😉.  Thank you for sharing! ✨Bita

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 13th, 2016 @ 2:46 pm

      Thanks Bita, we hope you love this! :)

  15. Emilie R. — January 21, 2016 @ 12:04 pm (#)

    Made this last night. REALLY good!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 21st, 2016 @ 8:04 pm

      We’re glad to hear you enjoyed it Emilie! :)

  16. Heavenly! — January 24, 2016 @ 10:48 am (#)

    I made this last night using homemade chicken stock, and it was heavenly! This will be a regular in my house! Thank you!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 24th, 2016 @ 5:27 pm

      Thanks, we’re so glad you enjoyed it, and homemade chicken stock is the BEST! :D

  17. Karen — January 27, 2016 @ 3:48 am (#)

    This looks delicious and I´m gonna make it tonight using kale. Do you know if collard greens are known by another name in other countries? I´m in Holland and we have Andive, but not sure if that´s a totally different animal?! ;-o…..bedankt :-)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 27th, 2016 @ 8:51 pm

      Thanks Karen, we hope you enjoy it! Here’s what we found about collards:

  18. judee@ Gluten Free A-Z Blog — February 6, 2016 @ 11:50 am (#)

    I was looking for a lentil soup recipe and came across your simple hearty healthy lentil soup recipe and your fabulous photos! Thanks , going to make it now!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 8th, 2016 @ 10:38 am

      Thanks Judee — we hope you love it! :)

  19. Mark | Vorrei — February 10, 2016 @ 2:23 am (#)

    I loved this lentil soup! I substituted minor red potatoes (quartered) rather than macaroni, utilized 4 garlic cloves, and added red pepper flake. This turned out completely delicious, superior to my most loved Italian restaurant! Including good extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan at the end is a must!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 10th, 2016 @ 2:16 pm

      Thanks for sharing Mark, we’re glad to hear that! :D

  20. Francisco — February 11, 2016 @ 10:45 am (#)

    Lentil soup remind me of my childhood. thank you for sharing this recipe…. I will definitely make this for my boyfriend on a rainy day

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 11th, 2016 @ 1:24 pm

      Thanks Francisco! We hope you enjoy this! :)

  21. Sarah — February 15, 2016 @ 4:19 pm (#)

    This soup is awesome!  I’ve made it twice, both times using the slow cooker.  The first time I sautéed the onions and garlic before adding to the crockpot, the 2nd time I just dumped it all in at once.  Both were good, but the carmalizing of the onions gave the soup more depth, which is how I will continue to make it.

    Oh I also had some sundried tomato Tampanade, so I put a big scoop of that in, too.

    I used beet greens and they wear fantastic!  I also tried the spinach, Meh,  they basically disappear.

    The Parmesan really rounds this out!  Highly recommend!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 16th, 2016 @ 8:39 am

      Thanks for sharing with us Sarah! That tapenade sounds wonderful! We’re happy you enjoyed this! :D

  22. Heather — February 19, 2016 @ 11:26 am (#)

    Thank you! I love to make a soup on Sunday to eat for lunch all week. I can’t wait to try this one. It looks delicious!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 19th, 2016 @ 12:56 pm

      You’re welcome Heather! We hope you enjoy! :)

  23. Emily — March 7, 2016 @ 7:57 pm (#)

    I made this tonight – delicious! I used Trader Joe’s split lentils which cut the simmer time in half (12-13 min) and subbed spinach for collards (adding the spinach the last 3 minutes of cook time). I also used hot italian sausage! All good!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — March 8th, 2016 @ 8:53 am

      Thanks Emily — we’re glad you enjoyed it! :)

  24. Cailiin — April 3, 2016 @ 4:22 pm (#)

    This recipe looks delicious! Just wondering if I should use dried lentils or canned for this recipe? 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 3rd, 2016 @ 8:38 pm

      Thanks Cailin! We used dried lentils. We hope you enjoy this! :)

  25. Sharon — April 25, 2016 @ 6:07 pm (#)

    I find that when cooking legumes such as lentils, tomatoe inhibits the cooking. I have ruined recipes when adding tomatoes before the legumes are tender. Tomatoes should only be added after the legumes or beans are tender.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 25th, 2016 @ 11:09 pm

      Thanks for your tip Sharon!

  26. Toni — May 2, 2016 @ 6:06 pm (#)

    I just made this lentil soup!!!! Delicious!!  This one will be my all time favorite!  

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 3rd, 2016 @ 8:52 am

      Thank you Toni — we’re thrilled that you love it! :)

  27. Mike — May 24, 2016 @ 3:49 pm (#)

    Hey there! Quick question. I don’t think my local store has greens and I’m going to make your spinach artichoke dip. I was wondering if it would change it much if I used the left over spinach instead?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 25th, 2016 @ 10:59 am

      We think that would be fine Mike — we hope you enjoy!

  28. Pam — June 14, 2016 @ 12:40 pm (#)

    I made this soup last night for dinner, followed the recipe exactly. And it was delicious! My only regret is not making a double batch. Delicious and healthy! :D

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 14th, 2016 @ 6:03 pm

      Thanks for sharing Pam — we’re happy you enjoyed it! :)