Grandma's Lentil Soup Recipe

In July, my grandmother passed away. My grandma's passing is sad, but also natural. Children and grandchildren are supposed to outlive their parents and grandparents....and we all know that these things are coming sooner or later. The thing about death that I have learned is that if you are doing it right in life, loss should bring people together in love. And that is precisely what my mother and I did last week.

We came together in love and, on a whim, decided we needed to make my grandmother's lentil soup. This soup is one of my mother's most favorite dishes that my grandmother used to make. She told me that whenever she would go home my grandma would ask, "What can I make you?" Without hesitation my mom always said, "Lentil soup!"

This story makes a lot of sense because we ate the heck out of lentil soup when I was a kid. I love it. I don't think I ever had my grandmother's, though, which is what made cooking this soooooo special. My grandmother was a fabulous cook, and there is no better way to channel her memory than to get behind a stove and make something! We pulled out the family cookbook, poured over it, made just a couple of tweaks (like adding some pancetta!) and before we knew it, we had lentil soup.

You wanna know what is great about lentils? They aren't like other [bothersome] beans that don't want to cook up and get tender. If you have an hour to an hour and a half, you've got lentil soup. Now how does that sound? Terrific right?! I KNOW!

Best of all, this is a very basic recipe that is hearty, and gives you a great big hug. If you like a more brothy lentil soup, add an extra cup of water and an additional cup of chicken broth. I like mine nice and thick. But to each their own. As a side note, I ate this whole pot of soup in a week. Maybe I will make some more and eat it ALLLLLLLL up. No sharing. Hehe.

Grandma's Lentil Soup Recipe 

Time: 1-1 1/2 hrs start to finish | Makes 6 servings | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need:

4 ounces pancetta (or any ham, cut up real small) 
1 onion, diced 
2 carrots, cut small 
2 celery stalks, cut small 
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound lentils 
1/2 can (about 2 tablespoons) tomato paste 
3 cups chicken broth 
3 cups water 
Olive oil, once around the pan 

Method:

In a big old soup pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the pancetta, onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté about 5 minutes. 

Add your lentils, tomato paste, chicken broth, and water. Bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour or until the lentils are soft and yummy. (Remember, if you want it to be a more brothy, you can add another cup of water and broth.) 

I like to serve mine piping hot over a bed of fresh spinach. The soup wilts the spinach and it's just so delightful. 

Garnish with parmesan cheese if you please! 

This also freezes well if you want to make a double batch! 




18 comments:

  1. I made this yesterday, so good and so easy!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! It's one of my favs!

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  2. I am from a Sicilian family and grew up eating my Grandmother's lentil soup. Yours sounds similar to ours. She never added tomato paste or any meat. Signs of the times were that good Catholics served this on Fridays because we were unable to eat meat during those years. I will try your recipe to give some variety to my recipe. Sounds delicious. Funny, my mother didn't cook the lentil but I do. My children grew up eating this and split pea soup. Both served with a helping of spaghetti. Whenever their friends asked them what they were having for dinner, the friends would respond, "Ewwwww, that's gross!" My kids would laugh and tell them how great it was. This Mama would just smile.

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  3. Do you use dried lentils and does it matter what color/type?

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    1. I do use the dried lentils. I use the brown lentils, and haven't tried any other variety, but I think you could.

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  4. Made this today. Perfect for this crisp, gloomy, southern California weather.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Made today. Really yummy!
    P.s. sorry for your loss..my grandma also passed away last year :(

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    1. Thanks Tasha! It's a great recipe she made. Losing a grandma is hard...it's like the passing of an entire generation in some ways.

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  6. Just curious if salt/pepper should be added at any time. I'm just asking in case it's one of those "so obvious it didn't need mentioning" type of things ;P

    -Leah

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    1. You can salt and pepper it as needed. I find the bullion tends to add salt, plus I put a ton of parmesan on mine! Haha. But you should adjust to your salt loving level!

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  7. I love this recipe, thank you for sharing!

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  8. My Nona made this. She added bay leaf, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper (no stock, just water). Served over broken spaghetti.

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  9. Grazie!! From one Sicilian to another!

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  10. Delicious! I will make this again.

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  11. This is the second time I made this soup. I will make it again and again!

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  12. Going to try this today subbing ground beef for the ham. Fingers crossed.

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  13. I love this recipe. Been making it since this posted. I have only used Red Lentils and have no idea why. It's been fabulous. I love making this with kielbasa, honey baked ham etc. LOVE THIS RECIPE!

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  14. I have made this soup several times. It is easy and delicious! Thank you!!

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