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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup.

When I told you last Thursday that I would have this recipe for you tomorrow, no one actually believed that right?  Okay good, me either.  Just making sure we’re on the same page.

Whenever Casey is out of town, I tend to not really cook the way I do when I’m cooking for two.  I eat things like a whole tub of hummus, or three bowls of cereal for dinner.  But last week, I had a friend coming over for dinner and figured I could do better than a box of Joe’s O’s at the dinner table.

She’s been going through a really rough couple of weeks and months, and I keep trying to think of something I can do make it better.  I have tried to be a comfort by just being there to listen and talk, but I wanted to do something else.  I know when I’m feeling blue, there is nothing I love more than a giant bowl of soup.

Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup by Daily Garnish

So that is exactly what I made – a giant pot of soup.  We ate, we talked, and I hope it brought a bit of brightness to her week.  This is actually my version of my favorite canned soup from Trader Joe’s.  I eat it all the time for lunch, and now that I know I can make something similar at home, I can have a much fresher (much less expensive!) option.  It is hearty, healthy, and perfect for these chilly winter days and nights.

Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup

by Emily Malone

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1-2 hours

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups green French lentils
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 cups frozen green beans
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach

Instructions

In a Dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot, start by sautéing the garlic in a bit of olive oil until it begins to brown. Finely dice the onions, carrots, and celery and then add to the pot.

Cube the potatoes into bite sized pieces, and add after the onions have softened and begun to show browning.  Once all the veggies have cooked for 10-15 minutes, add the vegetable broth, lentils, vinegar, and spices. Bring it up to a simmer, and then back down the heat – you don’t want this to cook at a boil.

Like I mentioned above, I used my favorite canned soup as the inspiration for this recipe.  It’s such a quick and easy lunch option, with lots of good veggies as well as hearty lentils that fill me up with protein.  But it’s also $1.99 per can, so I’m happy to replace the habit with something homemade.  I can see making a big batch of this every few weeks!

Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup by Daily Garnish

Back to the instructions — Cover and allow the soup to simmer for at least an hour. The lentils will cook and the broth will thicken, so make sure to stir occasionally.  The soup might seem very thick, but hold out on adding any more broth at this time – the green beans and spinach will thin it a bit at the end.

This is one of those soups that can cook for just an hour, or all day in a slow-cooker if you prefer. Once you’re ready to eat – add chopped frozen green beans and a few handfuls of fresh spinach.  Stir the greens in until the spinach is wilted and the beans are warmed.  This should thin the broth quite a bit, but if it needs extra veggie broth at this point, go ahead and add it.  Finish seasoning with salt to taste.

Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup by Daily Garnish

Dish into individual bowls, and serve along side your favorite bread.

Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup by Daily Garnish

We had ours with roasted butternut squash quick bread, and it was a match made in heaven. 

Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup by Daily Garnish

Even though this is a thick, hearty soup, the green beans and spinach keep it feeling light and fresh.  This made an enormous amount of soup, and I’m sort of amazed at how quickly it all disappeared. 

Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup by Daily Garnish

If you are having family in town for the holidays, this is a great meal to whip up for a group!  I’ll be making it again when my family arrives in Seattle.  As always, enjoy!

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53 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Danielle     at 8:24 am

I like that canned soup as well! I’m just starting to cook with lentils. Are the different types of lentils easily interchangeable? All I have right now is a bag of Trader Joe’s red split lentils.

I love hearty soup when it’s cold and wet out!

[Reply]

lisa fine     at 8:28 am

What a great idea to recreate a favorite canned soup! I love to make lentil and barley soup during the winter, and split pea is another favorite.

Keep those posts coming, Emily! I’m sure life is always super busy for you, but I love to see what your family is up to.

[Reply]

Alex @ Raw Recovery     at 8:29 am

THANK YOU for sharing this recipe! I love that exact same soup from Trader Joe’s and I’ve been looking for a good veggie soup recipe. I love lentils and it’s nice to have some protein in there too. Hope your friend feels better!

[Reply]

This American Bite     at 9:17 am

This is the perfect recipe – I was looking for something hearty for tomorrow night and lentil soup was on my mind! Worth waiting since last Friday ;)

[Reply]

Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}     at 9:29 am

This looks so perfect! I love homemade versions of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods favorites. Thanks for sharing!

[Reply]

Val     at 9:44 am

Yum, tryng this this week.

[Reply]

Amy @ Extracurricular Activities     at 9:45 am

I want that soup right now! The temperature dropped from the 70s/80s to the 30s/40s this week in Houston (finally!), and I cannot seem to get warm. Methinks this soup would help. Too bad I packed a salad for lunch today :( Silly me. Love a big warm bowl of soup when the weather gets chilly.

[Reply]

Silvia @ skinny jeans food     at 11:03 am

It’s a pity that lentils are so little photogenic (although taste so good). That’s why I mostly buy the beluga lentils :-)

[Reply]

Leah     at 11:08 am

If cooking in a slow cooker for 8 hours would you still have to brown the onions and cook the potato first?

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I don’t think so. I think you can just cook it all at once.

[Reply]

Leah Reply:

Thanks Emily!

[Reply]

Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 11:21 am

I just picked up a few cans of TJ’s lentil soup yesterday and thought I should totally recreate this soup at home. Thanks for doing the work for me!

[Reply]

Shannan     at 12:29 pm

Yum!

This is a super random question, but I know you guys have moved around a lot. Where do you meet new friends? I know you are in Mom’s groups, so I imagine that helps. But, do you have any insights on where to meet friends when you don’t have that sort of outlet? I would love to have a girlfriend come over and vent to me! I live in a super small town, so it’s a bit harder.

Okay, randomness over! :) That soup definitely looks comforting!

[Reply]

Leah Reply:

I’m chiming in here just to lend a hand. I know you addressed this to Emily though…hope its okay.

I would say joining a bookclub if you can at a small independent bookstore is a great way to meet people with common interests.

You can also go to the site MeetUp and pick an interest of yours when you move to a new city (it can be anything from photography to hiking to dogs to baking). Those MeetUps are typically free and are amazing. It’s how my photography club gets together and I’ve tagged along with a friend’s dog field trips (one went to an island off Boston–40 people and dogs).

Join a yoga studio (or tai chi or karate). I find the people in those environments are much more caring and REAL than at a gym. You can pay for one class at a time. Great way to meet people.

Hang out in a coffee shop with a laptop or good book. Stick to the small shops–not Starbucks. You’ll be amazed at the people you will meet (I do that when I travel–I travel all over the US for work). :)

Hope this helps!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

All good ideas!

[Reply]

Shannan Reply:

Very good ideas! Thanks, Leah!

[Reply]

Leah Reply:

You are most welcome!!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Honestly, I’ve met a lot of friends through the blog. But I think a gym or running group is a great place to start! Or check FB and Twitter to see if there are local meetup groups or events.

[Reply]

Shannan Reply:

Thanks, girls! Those are great ideas. My town is so small I almost can’t go anywhere where I dont see someone I know, but not anyone that I could/would necessarily hang out with. I don’t live far from a bigger city, so I will try out your ideas there! :)

[Reply]

Leah Reply:

I understand. I grew up 1/2 hour to the nearest grocery store!! In the summer you had to bring a cooler so the ice cream would not melt on the way home. I tend to hang out closer to the city–it’s around 1/2 hour from my house.

[Reply]

Lindsey     at 12:47 pm

YES! This is my favorite soup!!! I am currently living in Jordan and winter arrived a few days ago so it is cold and rainy and I have been daydreaming of this soup. I have had a jar of green lentils in my cupboard waiting to be made into soup but I had no idea how to do it. Winter just got bearable! Thanks!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

You are most welcome!

[Reply]

Tammy     at 12:59 pm

This truly looks amazing… I hope this soup was as comforting as it looks! Going on the list of things to make… soon! Hope it will balance all those Trader Joes candies…. ;-)

[Reply]

Lindsey     at 1:23 pm

Ooh this looks good! So if you’re making a big batch for the week, would you just add the green beans and spinach each day before you eat it? Or would you add those the first night when you’re making it? I can’t wait to make this!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

No I’d just add them the first night. They were still good for all our leftovers!

[Reply]

Lele     at 1:55 pm

YES! I basically LIVED on that soup in college in cold cold Boston! I quit buying it for the monetary reasons you described above (oh and sodium…) and am excited to make the homemade version. Do you think the five spice powder is a must? Where do you get it?

[Reply]

Leah Reply:

You can get it at Whole Foods or Stop & Shop if you still live in the Boston area. Or an Asian food market.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Not a must, although I DO think the balsamic is a must. I would think you can get the five spice at any major grocery store.

[Reply]

Jessica     at 2:02 pm

This looks amazing, lentil soup is my absolute favorite. I actually make a really similar recipe with with diced tomatoes and minus the green beans. Probably going to go ahead and add the beans next time…

[Reply]

afarmerinthedell     at 5:32 pm

Love the tj’s soup. Thanks for a delicious sounding homemade version!

[Reply]

Luv What You Do     at 7:29 pm

Oh wow! That looks so good! I have been wanting ot make a new soup recipe and I think this is up next!

[Reply]

Allison     at 8:14 pm

I made this for dinner tonight. I didn’t have Balsamic or Chinese 5 spice, I just used Salt & Pepper. I added some kale too-really good and filling.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Yay glad to hear you liked it!

[Reply]

claire Reply:

What is Chinese 5 spice? What would be a good replacement?

[Reply]

Stephanie Wilson     at 9:19 pm

Perfect winter recipe! Thank you!

[Reply]

Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie     at 9:35 pm

Ohh this sounds perfect for me while I’m not feeling the best. Maybe I can talk Josh into making it for me! ;p

[Reply]

Meagan     at 9:55 pm

Chinese five spice and lentils! What a great idea!

[Reply]

Angela     at 11:46 pm

mmmm! Looks so delicious! What a great friend. Even if you’re not feeling like talking, comfort food always makes you feel a bit better.

[Reply]

Sally Mae     at 12:45 am

I am so glad you have friends around while Casey is gone. And I’m sure your friend appreciates the support and the delicious soup. I’ll definitely be making this. :)

[Reply]

Army Amy*     at 1:15 am

I love love love lentil soup, but I’ve never made it myself before. This recipe looks great!*

[Reply]

Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers     at 6:27 am

What a fabolous soup! So hearty!! I think I will try this in the crockpot!!

[Reply]

Christina     at 7:24 am

It’s almost as if you created this recipe specifically for me. I cannot wait to try it!

[Reply]

Jess     at 2:25 pm

I’ve noticed you eat a wide range of beans legumes etc however besides the oats, millet, quinoa and farro do you eat a wide range of wholegrains like buckwheat or barley? Just curious as there are no recipes for these?

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Jess, I have already answered this several times from you. We eat a lot of whole grains. Not sure why you don’t believe me!

[Reply]

Chiara     at 7:30 pm

Made this today and it is SO good!!!! Already planning to pick up more ingredients for the next batch.

[Reply]

Sarah G     at 7:47 pm

I read this and decided to make it immediately for someone I know who’s been having a hard time – ME! And it was totally the recipe for happiness! I made the bread as well, and it was all so fantastic and unexpected (I’ve never used or heard of Chinese 5 spice before). I’ll be making this again ASAP. Like, tomorrow. A million thanks!!

Also, laughing at the commenter who’s hounding you about whole grains. Too funny…..

[Reply]

Elyse     at 12:11 pm

I made this soup last night while it was snowing in Boston and it was perfect meal for a blustery evening! And the leftovers were amazing for lunch today. Great call with the five-spice–loved the flavor! Thanks for posting such a tasty recipes that I know we’ll be making all winter long. :-)

[Reply]

Whitney     at 12:55 pm

I made this last night, and we loved it! It’s already almost gone because I ate it again for breakfast and a snack today! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

[Reply]

Sunday Evening Snippets #3     at 8:59 pm

[...] can’t wait to try Emily’s Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup. It sounds [...]

Katie     at 10:22 pm

This soup is incredible! I’m a broke college student and I made this as an easy but healthy dinner- I was able to make it last a while by freezing it. It was definitely one of those recipes where you keep going back for “just one more spoonful”. Thank you so much for an awesome recipe!

[Reply]

vegan mofo #4: a vegan survey | Plants & Pages     at 3:35 am

[...] stew, based on Emily’s delicious recipe. Always a winner [...]

October, Part 2 | Elyse & Mike     at 9:19 am

[...] This mix of carrots, celery, onions and pink potatoes became a delicious lentil soup. This is one of my favorite fall/winter recipes and I highly recommend making it (and don’t skimp on the five-spice, it’s what makes [...]

weekly meal prep. | ciao mama     at 12:07 pm

[...] When dressing up these legumes, my favorite looks are lentil taco meat (via Oh She Glows), hearty lentil soup (via Daily Garnish) and lentil meatballs (via Cookie and [...]

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