In the cold and damp winters of the northeast, soup is a must-have for someone as cold-intolerant as I.  Far and away, Lentil soup is my favorite soup. I love how rich and hearty it can be, especially when it’s served thick almost like the consistency of a stew. I’ve played around with a number of recipes over many years to figure out the exact characteristics of a lentil soup that I like and don’t like, from the seasonings to the types of lentils and the cooking time. I’m happy to say that, after years of working on this, I’ve finally come up with a recipe that takes the best of all of the lentil soups I’ve made and combines them into this gorgeously rich soup.

Be forewarned: this simple recipe requires lots of tending for the first 30 minutes of cooking, so if you’re looking for a simple soup where you throw everything into a pot and let it boil up, this is not that soup. Like all of the best foods, this soup requires tending, care and attention. It’s the love you put into it that is the secret ingredient that takes this from soup to stupendous. 



2 ¼ cups dry brown lentils
4 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
2 cups chopped leeks, white part only (1 large leek)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon, fresh
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 celery stalks, medium-diced
2 large carrots, medium-diced
3 quarts no-beef broth
1/4 cup tomato paste


1. In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender.

3. Add the celery and carrots and saute for 10 more minutes.

4. Add the no-beef broth, tomato paste, and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked through.

5. Check the seasonings and serve hot.