Rustic Lentil Soup

Rustic lentil soup is full of nourishment, comfort, and flavor. A simmering pot of green lentils, tomatoes, carrots, celery, potatoes, and spices along with, if you’re so inclined, a triple threat of pork with sausage, bacon, and pancetta.

A white pot filled with rustic lentil soup, and a metal ladle scooping out a portion.

Adapted from Michael Ronis | Carmine’s Family Style Cookbook | St. Martin’s Press, 2008

This soup turns up most often on the menu at the 91st Street restaurant, where our regulars love it during the cold, icy months when New York is gray and damp. It’s a hearty and warming soup, made even more so with the addition of sausage, bacon, and pancetta—all of which can be tossed aside to make this soup ideal for vegetarians, with vegetable stock standing in for the chicken stock. This is a terrific Sunday night family meal and a delicious leftover weekday meal.–Michael Ronis

Rustic Lentil Soup

A white pot filled with rustic lentil soup, and a metal ladle scooping out a portion.
Rustic lentil soup is full of nourishment, comfort, and flavor. A simmering pot of green lentils, tomatoes, carrots, celery, potatoes, and spices. Add sausage, bacon, and pancetta, if you're so inclined.
Michael Ronis

Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 1 hr 45 mins
Appetizers
American
4 servings
727 kcal
5 / 6 votes
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Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter 1/2 oz
  • 2 ounces diced pancetta
  • 2 strips bacon diced
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 onion peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 small plum tomatoes peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • 5 to 6 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils* rinsed and drained
  • 1 russet potato peeled and diced
  • 1 to 2 Italian sweet or hot sausage links (5 oz | 143 g)

Directions
 

  • In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until the butter starts to foam. Add the pancetta and bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic has softened, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and onions and cook until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, strain the chopped tomatoes through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible.
  • Add 5 cups chicken stock to the pot and then stir in the strained tomato pulp, bay leaves, salt, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Add the lentils, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring the soup to a boil. Partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the soup for about 45 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes and cook the soup for about 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, or until the lentils and potatoes are tender. Add more chicken stock if the soup becomes too thick.
  • Meanwhile, remove the casings from the sausage. In a small nonstick saute pan over high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 4 to 5 minutes or until it is nicely browned.
  • Add the sausage and any fat remaining in the pan to the soup. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and serve.
Print RecipeBuy the Carmine's Family Style Cookbook cookbook

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Notes

*What can I substitute for green lentils?

Green and Puy lentils are usually favored because of their texture and flavor, holding their shape well in both warm and cold dishes. If you can’t get green lentils, brown lentils do an excellent job of subbing in. Brown lentils hold their shape like the green variety and have a similar earthy taste. Be aware that they can cook a little more quickly, so start checking them earlier than you would with the green variety.

Vegetarian Rustic Lentil Soup variation

Omit the pancetta, bacon, and sausage and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

Sliced Sausage Rustic Lentil Soup variation

Instead of crumbling and cooking the sausage, simply slice and pan sear before adding to the soup.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 727kcal (36%)Carbohydrates: 72g (24%)Protein: 35g (70%)Fat: 33g (51%)Saturated Fat: 10g (63%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mg (18%)Sodium: 1417mg (62%)Potassium: 1576mg (45%)Fiber: 25g (104%)Sugar: 10g (11%)Vitamin A: 5582IU (112%)Vitamin C: 16mg (19%)Calcium: 95mg (10%)Iron: 8mg (44%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This soup is seriously good, and it’s even better the day after. I like that it is a chop and drop kind of soup. It’s a snap to throw together—except for peeling tomatoes, a job I hate. I also like that it can be made to suit a vegetarian diet for those times when I want to serve the same dish to everyone.

Upon reading this recipe again, I was delighted to see that a vegetarian version was offered, as I don’t eat pork. Vegetarian soups are often lacking in flavor, but this soup certainly didn’t disappoint. It was delicious.

The choice to use green lentils made for a very nicely textured dish in which many of the lentils held their shape while just enough of them melted into a thick purée. The pieces of carrots and potatoes added to the chunky texture. As the recipe says, with a nice loaf of bread, this is dinner.


Originally published April 17, 2008

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I just made this and stuffed it in the freezer for my very pregnant cousin to eat in the coming weeks with a newborn in the house. It’s a hearty soup that I hope will nourish their hearts as well as their bellies. Thank you!

    1. Amy, I hope we live in the same city one day when I am very pregnant. How very thoughtful of you! And yes, I think it will nourish their spirit, given the lovely and generous mojo behind the recipe.

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