Warm Up with Lentil Soup

When the winter cold makes us want to eat warm, cozy things indoors, lentil soup is an excellent choice. Lentils make the soup hearty and filling. The spices and flavors in this version, like cinnamon, garlic, and red pepper flakes, make the soup extra warming. The soup is also delicious and it uses lots of seasonal produce, so feel free to whip up a batch on Austin’s 70-degree winter days - as well as the 30-degree ones.

Lentil Soup

Adapted from Rebecca Katz’s One Bite at a Time


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 small butternut squash or sweet potato, peeled and diced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, peeled and diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach, kale or chard (or ½ cup frozen)
  • Salt
  • Optional: lemon juice or balsamic vinegar


Place a 6-quart pot over medium heat and add olive oil.

When oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, and squash, adding a pinch of salt with each layer of vegetables.

Sweat vegetables (cook, but do not brown) until the onions are translucent, about 6-7 minutes.

Mix in the spices and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, and bay leaves.

Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, about 35-40 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.

Add greens and cook 3-4 minutes. Adjust seasoning with lemon juice or vinegar if needed.

Makes 6 servings.