Red Lentil Soup

Red lentil soup is a hearty and healthy meal. And by adding turkey to it you can use up some Thanksgiving leftovers. Red lentils are a legume, and have had the sells stripped from them. This lets them cook faster, but means a bit less fiber in the meal. You can use green or black lentils in this recipe, but the cooking time will be much longer.

  • 1 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups chicken stock (low sdodium)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 – 3 cups coarsely diced smoked turkey (or smoked sauasge – see tesxt)
  • 2 red Serrano chiles (optiional)


Both meat and chiles are optional. And if you want vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.  For the meat, I prefer smoked meats such as smoked sauasage or smoked turkey. In the photo above I’ve used some turkey that I smoked myself, and is leftover from Thanksgiving day.  I actually prefer in this soup to use Texas style smoked sausage (I live in central Texas, so this is easy to find). If you can’t find that, you can use any smoked meat you can find. Kielbassa or Polish sausage is commonly available in grocery stores, and should work well.

The chiles you can see in the photo are late season Serranos from my garden. You can use any fresh red or green chile, or none at all. If you can’t find fresh chiles and want some heat, try adding some crushed red pepper. What I added in this batch did not add significant heat, but did have a light kick.


Dice carrots, onion, and celery, and saute in a dutch oven or soup pot using a bit of olive oil. Saute over medium low heat until onions are translucent (soft but not limp), 2 – 4 minutes. Add thyme. garlic powder, and salt, and cook for a minute longer. Then add lentils and cook another minute, stirring constantly. Add stock and water, as well as chiles, if using.  Bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 12 – 15 minutes, until lentils are tender and have mostly burst. Add meat after about 7 or 8 minutes so it can heat through (remember, it’s already cooked). The lentils will change from orange to yellow, and the soup should be somewhat thick.

This makes a hearty lunch or dinner, and is nice on a cold Autumn or winter day.


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