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…
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.
Once it’s done, you’re welcome to serve the soup “as is”, which also happens to be vegan.
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!
This hearty Italian Lentil Soup recipe is easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and full of the best Italian flavors!
*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!