Once Fall hits, soup season is back. White bean lentil soup is perfect to stock your freezer with once the seasons start changing!
Lentil soup is an Italian classic and is something to have in the fridge and freezer all winter long. I love to have it with dinner or lunch. It's a great addition to the meal, but it's also a great stand-alone soup because the lentils and beans have enough protein to fill you up.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Parmesan Rind. The rind is something I always save and I add it to all of my soups. It adds an extra depth of flavor and it is so tasty and salty. Remove it before serving.
Broth. I always try to use homemade stock when I make soup but it's not always possible. I did a half-and-half situation when I made this dish. If you have a rotisserie chicken on hand occasionally, it's so easy to make a broth.
Lentils. I like to use whole lentils instead of split. It takes a little longer to cook but they don't get as mushy when you serve them.
Lemon. Adding the lemon at the end makes this dish. This is a mandatory item and will add so much flavor to the soup.
Beans. I used white northern beans because they are soft but you could substitute cannellini beans or kidney beans.
Lentil soup is an easy way to start learning to make soup, or cook in general, because soups can be very forgiving. The first part of lentil soup and a lot of soups is the soffritto.
What is Soffritto?
Soffritto, is an Italian mirepoix. It is the slow sauteing of onions, garlic, and celery as a base for the soup.
By slowly sauteing these vegetables in olive oil, the flavor of the olive oil and the vegetables starts developing into this wonderful, aromatic, combination.
Saute the soffritto on medium heat for 8-10 minutes and then add some garlic and stir for one more minute.
Adding the tomato paste
The base of the white bean and lentil soup is a combination of the soffritto with tomato paste. Once the garlic is added, add a layer of tomato paste to the pot and caramelize it.
Stir it in thoroughly with the vegetables and caramelize for 3 minutes. Caramelizing means you should see the tomato paste slightly sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Adding the broth and seasoning
I like to season with salt and pepper throughout the whole cooking process and then add the remaining seasonings once I add the broth.
Stir in the broth, the lentils, basil, parsley, and 2 bay leaves. Bring it to a boil and then lower it down to a simmer immediately. Stir in the parmesan rind and dried thyme. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Taste the soup to see if it needs more salt. Each chicken broth will have different amounts of salt.
Blending the lentils
After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, use an immersion blender to blend the soup for about 5 -7 seconds. Some of the lentils should still remain intact but this helps improve the texture of the soup.
After blending, add in the zucchini, beans, water, and salt. Return the soup to a simmer for 15 more minutes.
When the soup is finished simmering, stir in the spinach, lemon zest, and lemon juice. The lemon in the lentil soup gives it a bright finish that I really enjoy, It is the perfect addition.
Garnish the soup with fresh chopped parsley and more parmesan. Serve with a sandwich or on the side of dinner. Or just enjoy a great big bowl of this warm and savory soup.
- Blend the lentils after simmering for 20 minutes. This will split some of the lentils so that the soup is a little creamier. Some of the lentils will remain intact while others will melt into the soup.
- Adding the lemon at the end of the cooking process will brighten up the flavor and add more depth to the dish. Adding it too early in the cooking process will result in it being overpowered by the rest of the dish.
Lentil soup is a nutritious meal with plenty of vegetables, carbohydrates, and proteins. It is a well-balanced and flavorful meal.
It lasts for up to 6 months in the freezer and 3-4 days in the fridge.
What to serve with lentil soup!
- Lentil soup goes great on the side of some of our chicken dishes like the PERFECT Cast Iron Chicken Breast, Restaurant-Style Chicken Saltimbocca, or Crispy Italian Chicken Cutlets.
- I love soup and fish together! try it with our Pistachio Crusted Fish, Pan-Seared Vermillion Snapper, or Lemon Garlic Broiled Flounder.
- If you're looking to serve a few appetizers it would go great with Air Fryer Garlic Parm Wings, Baked Italian Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, orEASY Ricotta Bruschetta
Storage and Reheating
Lentil soup should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
You can extend the time in the fridge to 5-7 days by using this really easy trick. Fill your sink with ice and water. Drop the whole pot in the ice water and stir the soup until it gets cold. Then store in the fridge immediately.
This will bring the temperature of your soup down quickly to avoid a long slow cool down, which can allow for bacteria to start to grow in the food. This is how restaurants and caterers cool food quickly so that it lasts longer.
We always store some of this recipe in the freezer for a later date. Lentil soup will last in the freezer for 6 months.
Reheat the soup by placing it back in a pot on medium heat until warmed through to 165 degrees.
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Our Favorite Soup Recipes
White Bean and Lentil Soup
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 2 cups lentils
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 parmesan rind
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 4 basil leaves
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 14 oz can white northern beans
- ½ bag spinach
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- chopped parsley for garnish
- 2 bay leaves
- In a large stock pot, bring olive oil to medium heat. To start the soffrito, stir in carrots, onions, and celery and saute for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent. Add garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes until garlic becomes fragrant. Finally, add tomato paste and stir until homogenous with the vegetables and the tomato paste starts to carmelize at the bottom of the pan.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and add lentils, dried thyme, dried parsley, parmesan rind, and bay leaves. Raise the heat to high heat and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 20 minutes, use an immersion blender to blend the soup for 5 seconds. Then stir in zucchini, beans, water, and salt. Return the soup to a simmer, and continue occasionally stirring for 15 more minutes.
- Add in basil and spinach and stir until wilted. Zest in the zest from the entire lemon and then squeeze in all of the juice. Adjust the consistency of the soup by adding more water if necessary. Serve with parsley as a garnish.
- The parmesan rind is such a great addition of flavor. It's not a necessity for the outcome of the soup but it is a great addition.
- Blending the soup for a few seconds with an immersion blender will make the soup slightly creamier by breaking up some of the lentils.
- Adding the lemon at the end of the cooking process will brighten up the flavor and adds so much to the soup.