This Lentil Soup is one of my favorite soups to make as part of my weekly meal prep. It is loaded with all sorts of vegetables and can easily be made into a vegetarian or vegan option by substituting the chicken broth for vegetable broth.
In the winter time I often brown a pack of Jimmy Dean’s Spicy Breakfast Sausage , drain the grease, and add the meat to the soup. But for the soup pictured on this post I left the meat out. I served this Lentil Soup with my Mexican Cornbread Muffins and it was a perfect combination.
I don’t blend my Lentil Soup because I prefer the thinner broth and the vegetables to be in their original form. If you prefer a thicker soup, blend one to two cups of the soup once the lentil have softened up, and return the blended soup to the pot. Remember that hot soup should be blended carefully! Cover the blender lid with a towel and only fill the blender half way full and blend it on low. If you have an immersion blender it will work well too.
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Wash and dice all of the vegetables to an even size so that everything cooks evenly. I cut the vegetables into cubes that are about a 1/2 inch in size so that they don’t get mushy and cook evenly. Sort the lentils and remove any small stones or debris. Rinse the lentils, drain them, and set aside.
In a large soup pot, over medium high heat, warm 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Add the diced onions, carrots, celery, and sweet potatoes and cook them stirring often, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over the vegetables as they cook. Add the rinsed lentils, can of stewed tomatoes, and the broth (if preferred use vegetable broth for a vegetarian soup). Next add the minced garlic, and all of the dried herbs and spices. Bring the mixture up to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low so the soup simmers slowly.
Cover the pot and simmer the soup for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, to ensure that the soup doesn’t stick. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. At this point, add the spinach, cover the pot and allow the spinach to wilt down for a few minutes.
I don’t blend or mash the soup, but if you prefer a thicker soup, carefully blend 1 to 2 cups of the soup and add the thickened soup mixture back to the pot or use an immersion blender Stir everything together and serve.
A great addition to the soup is spicy sausage. I sometimes brown Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage and add it if I want the soup to have meat.
Note – this soup is completely vegetarian/vegan if you substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth.