A folk saying goes “Fasolatha pou trefi tin Ellada”, loosely translated “The whole of Greece is brought up on bean soup”. One taste of this amazing lentil soup recipe you’ll know why!
A traditional and delicious favorite, lentil soup or Φακές is simple to make and quick to assemble. This recipe gives you the option to rough chop your vegetables and herbs, bringing your prep time down to around 15 minutes with the soup itself taking about 30-40 minutes to cook. Your cooking time will depend on how you like your lentils and how long your potatoes/carrots take to become fork tender. I prefer my lentils with a bit of texture left but not chewy and not mushy. Taste from 25 minutes on to find what you like best.
Red potatoes work well with this recipe as they absorb the flavors nicely. I often don’t peel them before adding to the recipe. This adds more vitamins/fiber to the dish, takes time off your prep work and adds another layer of texture that I really enjoy. And yellow onions are my favorite here and being able to rough chop both the garlic and onions is a treat.
I do peel the carrots. Just remember, when using carrots as small as the ones picture above, peel very gently as a good swipe could take off half the carrot. In a pinch, I’ve substituted frozen carrots for fresh. They work well in any variety crinkle cut to diced. When using frozen, either thaw ahead of time or use right out of the freezer – just give your soup a few minutes extra to return to a simmer after adding them frozen.
A fun touch is to add homemade baked soup croutons. I use whatever sliced bread is on hand, a sturdier white or wheat work best and cut shapes with seasonal cookie or biscuit cutters.
Traditionally, Greek’s will drizzle olive oil over the top of their bowls and add a splash of red wine vinegar. Serve with a piece of crusty bread and a large spoon.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1/3 cup chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp tomato paste disolved in 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 2 cups cubed potatoes
- 1 cup cubed carrots
- 3 tbsp fresh chopped dill
- 2 tbsp dried Greek oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp salt/fresh ground black pepper
- 6 cups water
- red wine vinegar optional
In a 3 qt saucepan, saute onions in olive oil until almost translucent. Add garlic, saute until just soft being careful not to burn. Add tomatoes paste in water, dill/oregano, salt/pepper and stir. Cook gently together for 3-4 minutes letting the flavors come together. Add lentils and cook gently another 3-4 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots and water. Mix well and bring soup to a low rolling simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are fork tender. Stir occasionally while cooking. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Serves 4 adults a meal sized portions.