Lentil Soup with Fennel
This lentil soup with fennel is made from humble ingredients. It’s a wonderful way to transform pantry staples into a satisfying, nourishing bowl of deliciousness.
In the cooler months, there is nothing like a bowl of soup to warm you up and nourish your soul. I always find it especially amazing when you can make soup out of the simplest ingredients, like in this recipe.
Lentils are a good source of plant-based protein. One-half cup of cooked lentils provides about 12 grams of vegetarian protein. Combine this with a grain, such as bread, rice, or noodles and you have a complete protein, meaning it provides all the amino acids your body needs.
In addition to protein, lentils also provide fiber, iron, folate, potassium, and manganese. Although the nutrition will vary slightly depending on what type of lentil you choose–for example red, green, or brown–overall it’s pretty similar.
In this recipe, lentils are combined with classic soup vegetables: onions, celery, and carrots. A can of diced tomatoes completes the classic soup combo. The addition of fennel–or parsnips–adds fantastic flavor and distinguishes this soup from a simple lentil soup. I also love to use fire-roasted tomatoes for extra tomatoes.
And, of course, no soup is complete without a touch of green. I love to keep fresh parsley on hand for chopping and adding to almost everything, including this soup. Did you know parsley is rich in vitamin K as well as antioxidants such as vitamins A and C?
If you have been holding off on lentil soup because you don’t think your kids will like it now is the time to try. It may take many times of seeing it before they decide to taste it, and that’s ok. Serve it alongside familiar foods and let them decide whether or not to try it.
Younger kids may also enjoy helping you make this recipe. Let them feel the dry lentils and then have them help you by rinsing them and carefully adding them to the soup. If you have different types of dried lentils on hand, let them choose which one to add to the soup.
Lentil Soup with Fennel
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, chopped (or try 1 cup chopped butternut squash)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium fennel bulb, chopped (or use 1-2 parsnips, chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups water* or use vegetable stock (instead of water and bouillon)
- 2-3 teaspoons Vegetable bouillon*
- 1 cup dried green or red lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (plus extra for garnish)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (for serving) (or try a dollop of pesto!)
- To a large Dutch Oven over medium heat, add olive oil. Add onion, carrots, celery, and fennel if using, and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute, until fragrant.
- Add water, vegetable bouillon, lentils, tomatoes, parsley, oregano, and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Add extra water or stock as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.