This flavorful and low-fat Lemony Thyme Lentil Soup is easy to make and packed with rainbow goodness all bathed in a delicious lemony thyme broth. Whole Food Plant Based, vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, gluten free, no highly processed ingredients.
- 1 cup yellow onion, fine dice
- 2 medium celery ribs, small dice
- 2 medium carrots, small dice
- 2 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 cups vegetable broth *
- 2 cups water (or broth)
- 1 Tablespoon miso *
- 1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari *
- 1 – [ 14.5 oz. can ] petite diced tomatoes
- 2/3 to ¾ cup dry brown lentils (or green lentils) (+/-) *
- 1.5 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 4 medium potatoes)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda *
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ teaspoon dried crushed thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (+/-) *
- 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest (+/-) *
- 3 cups baby spinach (+/-) *
- Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- Red pepper flake
- Place the Spice/Herb Ingredients in a small bowl, mix well, set aside.
- In a large ceramic/enamel-lined Dutch oven, skillet or similar stock pot, add the diced onions, celery, and carrots; sauté over medium heat until they begin to soften, approximately 7 to 9 minutes. Add a tablespoon or so of vegetable broth or water if they start to stick and/or to prevent burning.
- Add the minced garlic, sauté for one minute, stirring constantly, then add all the remaining Base Ingredients (except the baking soda) and Spice/Herb Mix, bring to a boil, then add the baking soda, stir well, then cover with a lid, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 25 to 35 minutes or until the potatoes and lentils tender, stirring occasionally.
- Once the lentils and potatoes are tender, stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest and simmer for a few minutes, then add the baby spinach, stir well. Remove the pot from the stove and allow to sit uncovered for 15 minutes. This will allow the flavors to marry and develop.
- Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes.
*Tips for Success:
- Potato size is important! Don’t cut them too small or they will disintegrate before the lentils are done. Figure out the size you want to eat, then increase that size a little bit since the potatoes will break down a tiny bit.
- Never do a heavy rolling boil once you get the soup boiling. Your potatoes will completely disintegrate. Get the broth up to a boil, then lower to a simmer and place the lid on. When you remove the lid to occasionally check on the soup, the broth should be lightly boiling.
- Check the tenderness of the lentils occasionally. Lentils tend to cook based upon a number of factors including how old they are (older lentils take longer) and the type of lentil (green versus brown).
*Lemon Juice/Lemon Zest: The amount of lemon flavor is really a personal preference. Our family was divided over the amount of lemon and lemon zest to use in this recipe. Start on the lower end and build from there.
*Spinach: Spinach is a natural spice neutralizer. The longer you cook spinach, the more it will mellow out spice flavors. Your dish may have the perfect blend of spices before you put the spinach in and will continue if you only cook the spinach for a minute or so, but the longer you cook spinach, the spices will start to neutralize. We mention this because it is important to keep this in mind based upon when you plan to serve the dish. Sometimes, we won’t put the spinach in until one minute before we serve it.
*Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
*Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium. You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.
*Brown Lentils: We used Palouse Brand Small Brown Lentils (Pardina Lentils). You can use any dry brown or green lentil you wish. If you prefer a thick soup, then use ¾ cup of dry lentils. If you enjoy more broth, then use 2/3 cup of dry lentils. If using green lentils, please watch them closely at the 20-25 minutes mark to check their tenderness.
*Miso: We used Miso Master Organic Mellow White Premium Lite Miso, Certified Gluten Free. Miso really lends itself to balancing flavors when you don’t use oil. You can also use chickpea miso for a soy free version.
*Dried Thyme Crushed Leaves: We use Penzeys French Thyme. It has amazing flavor. If you can’t find dried crushed thyme leaves, you can use ground thyme, but use half the amount.
*Baking Soda: The baking soda is used in this recipe to help neutralize the acidity from the tomatoes and enhances the cooking process of the lentils and potatoes. Any time you have dry beans and/or potatoes introduced with an acid like tomatoes, it takes the liquids longer to penetrate the cellular wall of the potatoes and lentils.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Serves: 4 to 5
*Storage: Refrigerate and use within 5 days.