Spicy Italian Lentil Soup

By Ken Ernandes

Category: Soup and Stew

Lentil soup was one of the favorite foods my grandmother prepared. But she never wrote down recipes. Instead, she used to demonstrate preparation to my [German] mother, who would sometimes be amused when the only quantities my grandmother could articulate was "a little." Nevertheless, I developed quantities that reproduce the essential taste, adding some non-Italian spices to give it a little extra flavor.


  • 1 lb. (454g) dried lentils

  • 2 quarts (2 liters) water

  • 1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped carrots or puree

  • 1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped celery or puree

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon oregano

  • 1 teaspoon basil

  • 1 teaspoon thyme

  • 1 teaspoon curry

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) pasta

  • (optional) diced ham or sausage to taste


  1. Wash and strain the lentils.

  2. Add water and lentils to a large pot, bringing to a boil.

  3. Add carrots and celery, allowing it to return to a boil before reducing heat to low.

  4. Add olive oil, salt, and spices, stirring the entire mixture well.

  5. Add pasta and ham (or sausage) if desired, stirring again.

  6. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until lentils are soft.

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