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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. The variations on this recipe are endless.

This recipe was developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at

Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 9 cups


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Optional: For a smoother consistency, purée some or all of the soup with a hand blender.
  4. Season with the salt and pepper. (Don’t worry if you don’t use all the soup. It freezes beautifully.)

Nutrition Information

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

Photo: Kate Sherwood/CSPI.