Lentil soup is one of those staples you can turn to as the weather turns chilly. If you have a few basics on hand, this is a soup you can throw together, with a soothing, hearty result. And it comes with a punch of protein without the heaviness of meat. It’s exactly the kind of recipe I’m trying to pass along to my daughter — easy, healthy, and cheap. The soup comes together in about 40 minutes, and is oh-so-much-better than what you would get out of a can.
I’ve tried different lentil soup recipes over the years, even one with ginger, another with coconut. But I’ve always come back to the Italian classic, with onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. This recipe, from Jill Duplex, in Good Cooking: The New Basics, calls for a can of crushed tomatoes. I’ve made it without the tomatoes too, when I didn’t have a can on hand, and I liked the result just as well.
I made this soup last weekend, after standing outside in the freezing rain and snow to watch my college son run a cross-country race. Those boys were so frozen after the race, I had to come home and make soup to get the image of frozen hair and bright red arms and legs out of my mind. But, not to worry, I did resist the temptation to drive the pot of soup right back to the dorm.