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Tomato-Lentil Soup

Tomato-Lentil Soup


  • 1 pound lentils, such as lentils de Norcia or small French lentils

  • 4 cloves garlic, 1 crushed and 3 chopped, divided

  • Salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 small bulb fennel, cut into small dice

  • 1 leek, quartered lengthwise then chopped

  • 2 to 3 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 large bay leaf

  • Herb bundle of parsley, thyme and rosemary (a few sprigs of each)

  • Pepper

  • 6 cups vegetable stock

  • 2 cups passata or tomato purée

  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes

  • Chili flakes and EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to serve


Rinse lentils well and add them to a large pot with enough water to cover by about 2 1/2 inches. Add crushed garlic clove and bring to a boil. Add salt, reduce heat and simmer 30-40 minutes. Turn off heat and let lentils cool in any remaining liquid.  

Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat with olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add chopped garlic, fennel, leeks, celery, onions, bay, herb bundle, some salt and pepper, and cook partially covered for 7-8 minutes to soften, stirring frequently. Add stock, passata or purée, and tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon or crushing them with your hands when you add them to the pot. Stir in cooled lentils; combine and simmer to combine flavors and until soup reaches desired thickness.  

Remove bay and herb bundle, and serve in shallow bowls garnished with chili flakes and a swirl of EVOO.