This Spicy Lentil Soup makes for a simple and hearty dinner. Full of healthy ingredients, it’s an easy recipe that will keep you full and warm all season long. (freezer friendly, gluten free)
I grew up eating lentils about once a week at home. My mom loved making them in a simple broth with onions and garlic, and my dad often refried them with some jalapeños like he would with refried beans.
I liked both preparations and never complained when that’s what they made for lunch or dinner. I usually topped them with some cotija cheese and ate it by the spoonful or with some flour tortillas.
Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. There’s something about lentils that are so rich and satisfying, it’s truly a comfort food for me.
Which is probably why this spicy lentil soup is one of many soups and stews I’ve been enjoying lately.
I like to serve mine with a slice of warm sourdough bread to help soak up some broth and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Simply delicious!
Why This Spicy Lentil Soup Is Irresistible
- It’s a warm and comforting dish that is sure to make you feel cozy on a cool, crisp night.
- This lentil soup is perfect for meal prep – cook it on a Sunday, then enjoy the leftovers during the week.
- It’s a freezer friendly meal. Make it in big batches, then store it away for a rainy day.
How To Make Spicy Lentil Soup
Start with a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add in the oil, onions and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and the onions have begun to soften.
Add the carrots, celery and sea salt into the pan. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the veggies have softened.
Add the remaining ingredients into the pan, except the ham. Mix everything together, then bring it all to a boil and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to simmer (on low) and cook for about 35 minutes, until the lentils are soft and cooked through.
To thicken the soup, use an immersion stick blender to blend a bit of the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. I gave the soup 5 or 6 quick pulses. You can also transfer a cup or two of soup into a stand blender, blend and then return to the pot. Alternatively, if you like the thickness of the soup as it is, you don’t have to blend it at all! It’s up to you.
Next, add the ham, cover the pot, and cook for another 10 minutes on simmer (low).
Taste and season with salt as desired. Serve with warm bread and garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme.
Tips and Tricks
- To make things super easy, I used cooked ham, cut it into cubes and added it in the last 10 minutes of cooking. This is a great way to use up any ham leftovers from holiday celebrations!
- If you want to make the soup even more “hammy,” you could use a ham hock and add it during the lentil cooking process. Once everything is done, just remove the ham hock, remove the meat and mix it in with the soup.
- To freeze the soup, simply let the it cool completely and place it in freezer-friendly storage bags or containers. Remove most of the air from the bags/containers and freeze until ready to eat. To reheat, simply defrost it in the microwave and heat it up until it’s hot.
- If you’re a vegetarian or just looking to make a Meatless Monday meal, you can leave out the ham altogether. It’s still packed with tons of flavor from the chili powder, cumin, paprika and oregano, so you won’t even miss the ham.
- Don’t be afraid to switch up the lentils you use. Red, brown, yellow – pretty much any type will work.
- If you don’t have ham on hand but still want some additional protein in the soup, you could easily replace the ham with sausage. Either buy precooked link sausage and cut it up or cook up bulk sausage.
This may sound crazy, but I’ve been on such a comforting soup kick lately, I almost wish it was snowing just so eating this soup can make me feel even more warm and cozy! Almost wish it was snowing.
I’m not totally ready for it, but I recently bought a puffy winter jacket, so I’m getting there.
Often times around the holidays, I can’t help but think about how lucky John and I are to have such an abundance of food. We seriously can’t complain. Our fridge is full of lots of blog leftovers, we probably have enough to last us two weeks! Luckily, because most of the recipes I make are freezer friendly, we don’t have to worry about food waste. Everything we make gets eaten, believe me.
This soup is no exception – it’s freezer friendly and perfect for meal prepping to eat throughout the week!
More soups to try
- Easy Turkey Pumpkin Chili
- Chicken Pozole Verde
- Easy Black Bean Soup
- Caldo de Res
- Sopa de Fideo
- Red Posole Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 large celery stalks/sticks, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 cups chicken broth (2 32-ounce boxes of broth)
- 2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pinch of black pepper
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 pound cooked and cubed ham, about 3 cups - perfect use of leftovers!
- In a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil, onions and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and the onions have begun to soften.
- Add carrots, celery and sea salt. Cook for about 8 minutes or until veggies have softened.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the ham. Mix together, bring to a boil and cover with lid. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 35 minutes, until the lentils are soft and cooked through.
- To thicken the soup, use an immersion stick blender to blend a bit of the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. I gave the soup 5 or 6 quick pulses. You can also transfer a cup or two of soup into a stand blender, blend and then return to the pot. Alternatively, if you like the thickness of the soup as it is, you don't have to blend it at all! It's up to you.
- Add the ham, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Taste and season with salt as necessary. Serve with warm bread and garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme.
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