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Lentil and caramelized onion soup with dark leafy greens

Season-spanning lentil and caramelized onion soup, with dark leafy greens. #vegan [ThePerfectPantry.com]

Lentil soup spans all seasons, but it will forever remind me of this time of year. When we lived in the log house, warm winters like this were rare (or maybe nonexistent); in March, along with late-season pruning of the pear trees, we spent plenty of time shoveling snow and breaking up the ice on our driveway and porch roof. After we all got warmed up by hard winter work, we collapsed into the Adirondack chairs on the front porch with a cup of something warm and steamy, like this lentil and caramelized onion soup packed with dark leafy greens.

Lentils don't need a presoak, as so many legumes do, and you can't overcook them. If they cook until they fall apart into the stock, so much the better. Just keep an eye on the pot so they don't stick to the bottom; a stir with a wooden spoon every 15 minutes or so will take care of the sticking. This version of lentil soup is vegan, but it will be just as happy if you garnish with cheese, or toss in some cooked chicken or shrimp, or more vegetables like zucchini and mushrooms.

It's so easy to make lentil soup: no presoaking needed! #vegetarian [ThePerfectPantry.com]

Lentil and caramelized onion soup with dark leafy greens {vegetarian/vegan without optional topping, gluten-free}

From the pantry, you'll need: olive oil, onion, lentils, thyme, vegetable broth, dry red wine, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.

Serves 4; can be multiplied.


2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
1 cup brown lentils
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 qt vegetable broth
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 very thinly sliced carrot
2-3 handfuls dark leafy greens (a mix of baby spinach, kale, collards, etc.)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish (optional)


In a Dutch oven over low heat, add the oil and onions, and cook slowly for 10-15 minutes, until the onion is very brown and limp.

Add the lentils, thyme, broth, wine and carrot, and cook, covered, for 30-40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. (How long this takes will depend on how fresh your lentils are, so just let them cook as long as they need to cook.)

Stir in the greens and balsamic vinegar. When the greens have wilted (2-3 minutes), taste, and add kosher salt and plenty of fresh black pepper, as needed.

Serve hot, topped with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional), or cool completely and refrigerate or freeze in a container with an air-tight lid.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More versions of lentil soup:
Greek lentil soup with red pepper and feta, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker curry carrot and lentil soup, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker chipotle lentil soup with avocado, from Cookin' Canuck
Lentil soup with Italian sausage and roasted red peppers, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Make a big pot of lentil soup with caramelized onions and dark leafy greens, and freeze it. #vegan [ThePerfectPantry.com]

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I love every type of lentil soup. I'll take Parmesan on mine, please!

Kalyn, lentil soup is like a base soup for me. I love to add cheese on top, too, or leftover shredded chicken or vegetables. Almost any type of mix-in seems to work!

love lentils, love lentil soups....i like to make a large batch, freeze half of it for another time....caramelized onions would make even a truck bumper taste good! adding parm just makes it even better ;0)

Three Feathers, I couldn't agree more!

When do I add the red wine?

Kaye, with the broth. Sorry for the omission; I'll correct the recipe.

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