Anita’s Awesome Lentil Soup

Anita’s Awesome Lentil Soup is a robust, satisfying full meal soup that you’ll make again and again – perfect for a crowd or buffet.

Anita’s Awesome Lentil Soup started out as a recipe my mother used to make on special occasions, handed down to me along with many other memorable recipes. I altered it, adding green chiles and my own special tweaks and variations. I just made it for a family event and now I’m having to share my own version with the rest of my family!

I just served this version to my family in Silicon Valley and they declared it exceptional. It keeps very well and also freezes well. Sometimes I top it with shredded cheese. You can also adjust the amounts of ham and vegetables to your preference. Be aware that when you add more ham, it naturally increases the saltiness so be sure to take this into account. You also might want to add something like chopped celery. It’s really a very versatile recipe.

I like making a big batch and freezing half of it – comes in handy. I hope you try this one out – enjoy!

Anita's Awesome Lentil Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 12 oz smoked ham, cut into ¼-inch dice (2 generous cups)
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 1 pound lentils
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions, about 2 medium
  • 2 cups diced carrots, about 2-3 medium
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup diced mild or medium hot green chiles, divided
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add ham and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dump into slow cooker.
  2. Heat olive oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and bell pepper. Stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Place ham and vegetables in slow cooker and add 6 cups beef stock, lentils, and spices. Cover and and cook on high setting for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and let simmer another hour.
  4. In a blender, blend 1 cup of stock with ½ cup green chiles, tomato paste, and vinegar; set aside.
  5. In the meantime, wipe out skillet. Add 3 tbsp butter and melt over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir until light brown, about 5 minutes.
  6. Whisk in 1 cup stock. Bring to boil gradually, whisking constantly, then turn heat to low and stir in the stock, chile, tomato paste, and vinegar mixture. Blend well, then stir into soup in slow cooker. Add remaining ½ cup diced green chiles.
  7. Reduce heat, cover and simmer in slow cooker another hour.
  8. Thin soup to desired consistency with stock. Season with salt and generous amount of pepper to taste.


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