Packed with veggies and flavoured with smokey bacon and thyme, this soup is what you need when you’re looking for something easy, comforting and healthy. I added fresh spinach at the end for extra bite and some dill for flavour and colour but these are both optional (usually it’s just served with parsley).
The classic recipe is with ‘Lentille de Puy’ which are a type of french lentils, but these are sometimes harder to find. I used canned green lentils but you can use the dried ones as well, you just need to watch out for differences in cooking times.
The canned lentils are pretty much ready to eat, so you just need to cook them for ± 15 minutes with the rest of the soup ingredients. Dried Lentille de Puy need 45-50 minutes and regular dried lentils need about 20-25 minutes.
French Lentil Soup
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 250 g smoked bacon, cubes
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 2 twigs of thyme (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 can peeled tomatoes
- 200 g dried Lentils du Puy or green dried lentils (or 800 g canned lentils, drained, see notes)
- 750 ml chicken stock
- 300-400 g fresh spinach (optional), roughly torn
- Pepper & Salt
- 2-3 tbsp yoghurt
- Small bunch flat leaf parsley or dill, roughly chopped or torn
- Crusty bread & butter
Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and add the bacon until crispy, ± 4 minutes
When crispy remove a few to serve as a topping (optional, you can also just leave it all in the soup, see notes).
Add the onions and sauté until translucent and fragrant, ± 3 minutes on medium heat.
Add the garlic and sauté until translucent and fragrant, ± 2 minutes on medium heat.
Add the carrot, celery and thyme and sauté until softened, ± 2 minutes.
Add the lentils, tomatoes, stock and the bayleaf and let simmer away for 20 minutes.
Take off the heat, remove the bayleaf and thyme and using a hand mixer blend the soup, breaking up the tomatoes. Only a few pulses are needed, it's nice to keep the rough texture. I pulsed about 10 times.
Taste and season with pepper and salt.
Return to the heat and add the spinach, let it wilt for ± 2 minutes and then you're ready to serve.
Serve with a drizzle of yoghurt (optional)m some fresh parsley or dill and some crusty buttered bread.
- The classic recipe is with ‘Lentils du Puy’ which are a type of french lentils, but these are sometimes harder to find. You can also use canned green lentils but you just need to watch out for differences in cooking times. The canned lentils are pretty much ready to eat, so you just need to cook them for ± 15 minutes with the rest of the soup ingredients. Dried Lentils du Puy need 45-50 minutes and regular dried lentils need about 20-25 minutes.
- For a slightly healthier option, drain away the bacon fat after frying.
- For extra flavour you could also deglaze the pan with some cognac.