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.