Quick Weeknight Two-Lentil Soup
Some weeknights just require a big pot of soup. You know the ones I’m talking about right? Of course, it’s when you’re starting to feel a little under the weather. But maybe it’s just cold and gray. Maybe you had a long, stressful day. Maybe you just need a little something soothing to the soul. That fits in a bowl while you curl up on the couch and relax.
Ahhh… that’s what this Quick Weeknight Two-Lentil Soup is perfect for!
It’s incredibly warm and hearty, salty and delicious. It can be vegetarian or not. And it will make the soul sing. If you’ve had a hard day and need a little hug from the inside out, this is the dish you’re looking for!
Because magically, that’s what food is capable of. Not only does it have the ability to nourish us physically, but it’s also possible to choose foods that make your heart and soul sing. Sometimes that’s because the dish brings back memories of your mom in the kitchen, the meal you had after a long day out raking leaves with your dad. Or sometimes it’s simply the flavors and textures of the dish itself that just gives you a big, warm hug. It’s part therapy, part nourishment. All love.
This Quick Weeknight Two-Lentil Soup is exactly that for me. It tastes nearly identical to the memory of my Mom’s lentil soup that she used to make after holiday dinners to finish up a bunch of leftover ham, but I found a sneaky little shortcut that makes it possible to whip up on a moment’s notice.
Here’s the secret: by using two types of lentils we can simultaneously shorten the cooking time without sacrificing the texture. See, regular lentils typically have to cook down for a while to fully break down. But red lentils are hulled and split, meaning that they cook down much faster. So when we combine the two in a pot and let the soup cook for 25-30 minutes, the texture of a long boiled regular lentil soup appears, without having to sit on the stove for an hour or two.
The red lentils completely lose their shape in the cooking while the regular lentils cook down just enough to provide that satisfying bite that comes with lentil soup.
Now, if you want a vegetarian or easier soup, by all means swap out the chicken broth for veggie and scrap the diced ham. But if you’re looking for that classic Lentil and Ham soup flavor, this shortcut is a lifesaver on a rainy weeknight. I usually always have leftover ham from a roast or a frozen ham steak in the freezer, because it’s so great to toss into a soup, an egg scramble or a pasta dish on any given day!
And this big pot of Quick Weeknight Two-Lentil Soup makes leftovers to keep the soul-song going through lunchtime tomorrow! What a gift.
I highly suggest serving it with fresh bread or crackers and a salad!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 ham steak diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 3/4 cup green lentils
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook for 3 minutes until softened. Mince in the garlic cloves and let cook another 3 minutes until fragrant.
Add in the diced ham, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes. Stir together and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the red and green lentils, chicken broth, water and bay leaf. Stir together and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are softened.
Add in the apple cider vinegar, stir and let cook another 2 minutes. Serve!