French Lentil Soup (with vegan and vegetarian variations)
Serves: 4 (8 cups)
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped (see note)
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • ¾ cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) French green lentils, washed
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or ¾ teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  1. Cook bacon in a medium size stockpot over medium heat until crisp, about 4-5 minutes; remove to paper towels to drain.
  2. There should be about 2 tablespoons bacon fat reserved in the pan, if not add additional olive or vegetable oil to equal this amount. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, chicken broth, rosemary, thyme and salt; bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook uncovered until lentils are just soft, but retain their shape, about 35-45 minutes. For a thicker consistency, lightly mash the lentils in the soup with a potato masher about 4 to 5 times.
  3. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle chopped cooked bacon on top.
For a vegetarian or vegan option, eliminate the bacon and begin by heating 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil over medium heat to cook the vegetables. Sprinkle soup with crumbled feta or goat cheese, sour cream or plain yogurt for a vegetarian option.

For a vegan option, sprinkle with chopped tofu.
Recipe by A Year at the Table at