This soup is think, hearty, and full of vegetables. And it’s quick to make since lentils do not require soaking.
- 1 pound dry lentils
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2–3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2–3 carrots, chopped
- 2–4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef or lamb (optional)
- 1–2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 can tomato sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2–3 quarts water
- Lightly sauté chopped onion, celery, carrots and minced garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent. Do not brown. (Optional: brown ground beef/lamb; drain well).
- Rinse lentils and place in large soup pot.
- Add vegetables (with oil) and meat (if used) to lentils.
- Add pepper, bay leaves, oregano and salt.
- Add 2 quarts water; cover and bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer.
- Cook 30–40 minutes until lentils are just tender (not mushy).
- Add tomato sauce and additional quart water, if desired.
- Cover and bring to boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Taste and just seasonings.
Serve with crusty bread and a salad. This soup tastes even better reheated the next day; it also freezes well.