A super simple lentil soup with a bright, balanced flavor.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 pound dried brown lentils, picked over
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 quarts water or vegetable broth
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add lentils and stir to combine. Add bay leaf, water (or broth) and a large pinch kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer, cover with lid slightly cracked, and cook until lentils are completely tender and falling apart, about 1 hour total, adding water as necessary (lentils should be completely covered at all times).
Using a hand blender, blend soup until as smooth as desired. Alternatively, transfer half of soup to a standing blender, blend until smooth, and fold back into remaining soup. Whisk in vinegar or lemon juice to taste, along with parsley (reserving some parsley for garnish). Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.