Lentil soup sounds …dull! But done right, lentil soup is simple, and simply delicious. Hands down, this a favorite for my family and with visitors too.
As is true with all my recipes, this one is inspired by the needs of kids in my pediatric nutrition practice. Fair to say, just about all of them have gut dysbiosis, and many of them, to an extreme and debilitating degree. They are managing conditions like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, multiple food protein allergies, food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and more. So, finding food that they can (a) tolerate (b) grow on and (c) enjoy is paramount. This lentil soup recipe fits the bill. Besides being easy to make, it replenishes with a variety of healthy starches, protein, micronutrients and fiber; it’s gentle on the digestion; and it tastes really good.
I use red lentils for this recipe, because they are easier to digest and softer than other lentils. Though it isn’t necessary in general, I rinse lentils before cooking and I soak them overnight, or for a few hours at least. This makes them even easier to digest when the delicate tissue in the small intestine has inflammation or decreased function. I also cook my lentil soup for about 3 hours. You will see most any recipe for lentil soup using red lentils suggests a cooking time of perhaps 30 minutes or even less. It’s safe to eat at that point and many people have no problem with that. But, for my intents and purposes, it is more digestible and tastes a lot better when cooked slowly for a lot longer.
I prefer doing this on a stove top in a big pot, on a day when I can set it up and then keep an eye on it simmering for a few hours. It can also be done in a crock pot. In that case, sauté the first ingredients til soft with seasonings, then add the lentils and liquid to your crockpot and set for two hours.
Simple Savory Lentil Soup
An easy recipe to master, soothing and nourishing. Enjoy with favorite grain free roll ups (Siete Almond Flour tortillas pictured here) or GF rustic bread like Kim and Jakes' peasant loaf.
Rinse lentils, then place in large pot. Cover with filtered cold water and let soak overnight or for at least 3 hours. They will open and look like this:
Drain lentils and set aside. Wipe pot dry to remove remaining water from soaking. Add bacon fat and olive oil over medium heat til melted. Add chopped scallions, garlic, and carrots, cook for 3-4 minutes til softening. Add thyme, sage, and rosemary and combine well with simmering veggies. Cook 1-2 minutes more.
Add salt and parsley and combine with all ingredients. Once evenly combined, add lentils and combine evenly again. Add chicken broth and bring to a low boil. Continue at low boil/simmer for 2 hours, or longer if thicker smoother texture is preferred. Add more broth as needed.
The only Navy Bean Soup I ever had growing up came out of a can and I didn’t like it very much, so I wasn’t inclined to make my own – until I had clients needing a version that was delicious and easy to digest for myriad special diets. This Navy Bean Soup version is legal for Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Navy beans are one of few beans and legumes allowed on this diet. That means it has no grains and no starches in it that are tough for a compromised gut to digest. Kids with Crohns, inflammatory bowel conditions, irritable bowel, or multiple food allergies may be able to enjoy this satisfying soup. The key to this recipe working well for tender tummies is soaking the beans overnight before preparing the soup.
As I poked around for versions to launch from for this recipe, I found old standards like Senate Bean Soup – a thick and smoky soup that, in some versions, leans on mashed white potato to thicken it so it has a rich chowder-y texture. Potatoes are a no-go for SCD folks, so those are omitted here – but add them if you like! For the broth, I often use my own homemade chicken broth which is SCD legal in its preparation. If this isn’t an option, look for unsweetened plain organic chicken broth in quart boxes such as Imagine brand Organic Chicken Bone Broth.
Rinse the dried beans in a colander with running water until foamy bubbles diminish or disappear.
Place the rinsed beans in a large pot and cover with filtered water. Add ~ 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and let soak overnight, or for 8 hours.
After soaking, drain the beans and rinse thoroughly, then set aside.
Wipe the large pot dry. Add bacon fat, ghee and olive oil and melt over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, celery, parsley, and scallions. If desired, add other vegetables here also.
Cook these til nearly soft, about five minutes. Add thyme and bay leaves, and stir vegetables to blend herbs throughout.
Add rinsed beans and stir with vegetables and herbs to evenly combine everything. Then cover with 8 cups (2 quart boxes) of chicken broth. Stir again to distribute everything evenly throughout the broth.
Bring to a low boil. Add honey, optional maple syrup, tamari, and lemon juice. Cover to simmer at low boil for 2-3 hours, or until beans are very soft.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sprinkling of fresh parsley leaves and enjoy!