International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Zuppa di Lenticchie

Zuppa di Lenticchie Recipe (Italian lentil soup)

(Italian lentil soup)

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Lentils are an ancient crop, nutritious and full of fiber. Lentil soup is an easy dish to throw together, and is hearty enough to make a full meal. Perfect for vegetarians, zuppa di lenticchie is the Italian version. Germans make Linsensuppe, the French soupe aux lentilles. The Greeks have fakis, and the Turks enjoy mercimek çorbasi.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Olive oil -- 3 tablespoons
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Carrot, peeled and chopped -- 1
  • Celery, chopped -- 2 stalks
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
  • Tomatoes. chopped -- 2 cups
  • Stock or water -- 8 cups
  • Lentils -- 2 cups
  • Parsley, chopped -- 1/4 cup
  • Rosemary -- 1 sprig
  • Bay leaf -- 1
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high flame. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute until the onion is transculent, 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce flame to medium-low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through but not falling apart.
  3. Adjust seasoning and serve with crusty bread.

Variations

  • Add pasta, pearled barley or rice when you add the lentils. This makes a thicker soup, and you make have to add more liquid..
  • For a meaty meal, add chunks of chicken, pork, or sausages to your simmering soup.
  • German Linsensuppe: Saute some chopped bacon and use the bacon fat instead of olive oil. Eliminate the garlic and tomatoes. Add sliced frankfurters and chunks of potato.
  • Greek Fakes: Add some oregano. When you serve the soup, drizzle it with some olive oil and red wine vinegar.
  • Spanish Sopa de Lentejas: Use red lentils and add a tablespoon of good paprika to the onions, carrots and celery as you saute them. Brown some Spanish chorizo and add it to the soup.
  • Turkish Mercimek Çorbasi: Use 1 1/2 cups of red lentils and 1/2 cup of bulgur wheat. Eliminate the rosemary, and add a tablespoon of paprika and 2 teaspoons of cumin to the onions, carrots and celery as you saute them. Garnish with mint and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.