Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lentil Soup with Cilantro

 Lentils are beans that I just cannot live without. They're an excellent source of plant protein, so they're definitely a staple in vegetarian diets. Whenever I make any sort of lentil soup, and believe me, I make lots, I always feel incredibly healthy after eating it. That's probably because I always add lots vegetables and grains to the soup. I'm a big fan of one pot meals...when I throw everything into a pot, cook it, eat it, and only wash one(!) pot. Lentil soup is one of those meals.

This here soup is very simple. I guess you could say it's a bit boring on its own. Well then why did I post this recipe, you ask? Because it's a blank canvas. Add any sort of vegetable or grain or herb or spice and you've got a completely different soup. I've made Indian versions with curry powder and a dollop of plain yogurt, Italian versions with Italian herbs and parmesan cheese, and I've even added some Mexican flare with this version with cilantro (you could totally add some chili powder to this, too). I really like adding chopped up kale, chard, collard greens, or spinach to boost the nutrition. You could even add some cooked wheat berries, quinoa, or brown rice, making  the soup quite filling. Be creative and find your favorite version, but also know that whatever way you choose to make it, you will get a nourishing, comforting bowl of soup every time.

Lentil Soup with Cilantro (see above paragraph for add-ins and variations)

1 cup dry French green lentils, soaked overnight, cooked until tender, and drained of all cooking liquid
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes in juice
2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
sea salt to taste
Fresh cilantro

1. In a soup pot, add olive oil and chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium low heat until the onion is nicely softened. Add the minced garlic and then immediately add the diced tomatoes.

2. If you're going to add any other spices, now is the time to do so. Also, if you choose to add any cooked grains to the soup, you can add those now.

3.Add the water or broth and the drained cooked lentils to the pot. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary, especially if you're only using water. Raise the heat to bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes.

4. If you're adding chopped greens, like kale, chard, collards, or spinach, add them to the soup now and let them wilt for about one minute.

5. Ladle into bowls and serve with lots of fresh cilantro. I really like cilantro and think it adds a wonderful flavor to the soup...but if you're not a fan, add any fresh herb you like!

Makes 4-5 servings

For more fabulous food and photos from Nourish The Roots, 
be sure to follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest


  1. This is a good looking soup that I will try to make soon!!

  2. Thank you so much! Let me know if you make it :)

  3. do red lentils work in this soup? It looks delicious!

  4. Thanks! I personally wouldn't use red lentils in this particular soup, only because they tend to lose their shape. I do like red lentils in this soup though:

  5. This soup inspired me to go buy a bushel of cilantro- what an under-appreciated add-in! This blog is just wonderful!

  6. Thanks you so much! And yes, cilantro is perfect in so many's one of my favorite herbs!