Red Lentil Soup with a mix of vegetables is a perfect meal for any fall or winter day. Especially a day like today when the current temperature is 12 degrees Fahrenheit and all you want to do is wrap yourself in the coziest blanket and hibernate. My Easy Red Lentil soup cooks in one pot and is ready in less than 45 minutes.
We are one week into January 2018 and I can’t remember the last time NYC was this cold. It is positively frigid outside or as we say BRICK! Fortunately, I have heat in my apartment and a space heater keeping me toasty warm! Also, this is a perfect time to stay indoors and make a big pot of soup which can be lunch and/or dinner for a couple of days.
While I was at Whole Foods two days ago buying everything needed to make this soup I noticed pork belly in the meat case. Once I saw it, it was too late, I had to have it. How could I walk away from pork belly knowing its flavor would be a nice compliment to this soup?? I couldn’t, so I didn’t. I bought the pork belly and added it in. It was calling my name, as pork often does. If you can’t find pork belly you can easily substitute with bacon. Also, if you are vegan or vegetarian or just want to leave it out, you can and it will still taste good. I have made this vegetarian and with pork and I like both.
Easy Red Lentil Soup- healthy, easy, quick and tasty. Let’s get started!
Red Lentil Soup
Yield: 6-8 servings
1 1/4 cups red lentil
28 oz canned peeled tomatoes & half of the tomato juice
1 celery stalk
1/2 medium onion
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
6 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 fresh spinach
1/4 lb pork belly or bacon (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
*exclude the pork belly or bacon to make the soup vegan or vegetarian.
Firstly, rinse and drain the lentils and then set aside. Chop the carrots, celery, and onion into medium-sized pieces. Chop the garlic into small pieces. Next, slice the pork belly into medium pieces as well. In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat add the pork belly and let the fat render out. Give it about 4-5 minutes. After that add 1 tbsp of olive oil, toss in the chopped vegetables with a sprinkle of sea salt, and reduce the heat to medium. Stir the veggies regularly. Add the garlic and continue to stir to keep the garlic from burning.
*If you’re not using the pork belly or bacon use 3 tbsp olive oil instead of 1 tbsp.
Once the onions appear translucent remove the pork belly. Then add in the oregano, lentils, bay leaf, chopped tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Stir, taste and add salt as needed. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
Let the red lentil soup cook for 30 minutes. Taste the lentils, they should be soft by now. If not, allow it to cook a bit longer.
Once the lentils are soft remove the pot from the heat, add then add fresh spinach and stir. The heat from the soup will automatically wilt the leaves. Next, taste the soup again and add the black pepper and more salt to taste if necessary.
Finally, spoon into a bowl, add a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar and serve. Easy Red Lentil Soup ready to eat! I’m hungry. Check out another of my soup recipes Go Green Vegetable Soup.