Enjoy this simple, delicious, and amazingly versatile soup tonight. Then pack your bags. The recipe makes 9 cups, so you can be in Greece tomorrow, Mexico the day after, then India.

Simple Lentil Soup

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs. tomato paste

2 bay leaves

½ lb. (1¼ cups) black, green, brown, or red lentils, or yellow split peas, rinsed and picked over

1 15 oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1½ tsp. kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste


    In a large heavy pot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Sauté the onion and carrots until lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.



    Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 25–30 minutes (15-20 minutes for red lentils or yellow split peas). Remove and discard the bay leaves.



    Optional: For a smoother consistency, purée some or all of the soup with a hand blender.



    Season with the salt and pepper. (Don’t worry if you don’t use all the soup. It freezes beautifully.)


Per serving (1 cup):

Calories: 170

Total fat: 6 g

Sat fat: 1 g

Carbs: 22 g

Fiber: 4 g

Total sugar: 3 g

Added sugar: 0 g

Protein: 7 g

Sodium: 340 mg

For the toppings that create the Greek, Mexican, and Indian variations, go to nutritionaction.com/lentilsoup.

Cooking questions? Write to Chef Kate at healthycook@cspinet.org.

Photo: Kate Sherwood/CSPI.