Back-pocket recipes: those meals you could make with your eyes closed if given the challenge. The recipes you whip together with your always stocked items in the fridge and cupboards. Maybe you have a few of your own, but if you don’t: fret not! This easy, no-fail lentil soup recipe is waiting to be your favorite back-pocket meal.
When I say this recipe is easy, I mean: it seriously takes less than 10 minutes to get this simmering away in your favorite soup pot. It does take about 20-30 minutes to simmer, but this can be significantly shortened by using precooked lentils or cooking the lentils separately. Lentils don’t love salted water. If you add them straight to the soup (like I do), be sure to not add the salt until the soup is finished cooking. Otherwise, it will take them about 40 minutes to absorb the liquid.
While delicious as is, this lentil soup recipe is a great canvas for adding a variety of different flavors and ingredients. Add what ever herbs or spices you might have on hand and use this soup as an opportunity to clear house in those veggie drawers! Adding a poblano pepper and extra chipotle chili powder is a must if you love spice. Zucchini also makes a great addition.
Why back-pocket recipes are great:
Life is busy! We don’t always make it to the grocery store as intended. We say yes to a last minute engagement. We don’t feel well, but need to put something on the table STAT. Having back-pocket recipes eases that “what will I/we eat” panic. I encourage you to do a survey of your food. What do you typically keep stocked at all times? Identify your always have items and start experimenting! Before you know it, you’ll have your own trusty go-to’s. But in the mean time, let’s start with this lentil soup!
Bon appetit, friends!
Back-Pocket Lentil Soup
An incredibly simple and delicious lentil soup recipe made with commonly stocked fridge and pantry goods.
- 1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 4 celery stalks chopped
- 4 whole carrots chopped
- 1/2 white, yellow or red onion diced
- 5 cloves garlic crushed or chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock or chicken broth
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1 can or jar diced tomatos
- 2 tsp sea salt more to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper more to taste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ancho or chipotle chili powder
- dash cayenne pepper
- 1 splash apple cider vinegar
- chopped cilantro or fresh herbs (to top) optional
In a large soup pot, heat 1 tbsp avocado or olive oil. Add garlic, onion, carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes (onion will begin to turn translucent).
Add the tomatoes, black pepper, cumin, ancho/chipotle and cayenne and mix well.
Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Note: This can be sped up by preheating the broth in the microwave or a separate pan while you prepare the vegetables).
Stir in the lentils and cover the soup. Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. When the lentils are cooked, add the sea salt and apple cider vinegar before serving in bowls.
Top the soup with chopped herbs, a squeeze of lime, crackers or crushed chips. Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for longer storage.