This lentil soup recipe is a great cold weather treat. It can be served as is - vegetables only - or you can add some white rice or short pasta to make it an even heartier Italian soup recipe. Your choice!
If you're like me and need to avoid nightshade vegetables, you can substitute turnips or parsnips for potatoes and just skip the tomatoes.
To make it a main course for those who just can't leave off the meat, you can add ground beef or pork, or even Italian sausage, for an extra tasty and satisfying soup.
Sometimes I like to use a bone broth, too.
Serve it up with hot crusty Italian bread and you've got a healthy and well balanced meal.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic and let cook until all these veggies begin to tenderize a bit, approximately 6 minutes.
Add the water or broth. Throw in the rest of the ingredients, minus the bullion cubes and salt. Bring them all to a boil over high heat, then add the seasonings. (Remember don't add the bullion cubes if you are using stock!) Turn the heat down to low, stir the soup, and let simmer until the lentils are tender...about 35-40 minutes.
If you like, you can add some rice or pasta about 10 minutes before the soup is done cooking. If you do this you may need to add an additional cup to two cups of water. Otherwise, remove the soup from the stove, serve and enjoy!