On a cold, wintry day, there's nothing better than to make a steaming bowl of homemade lentil soup. Lentils (which are actually legumes, not beans) are also considered one of the healthiest foods since they're high in fibre, iron and protein. Make your own heart-healthy, delicious bowl of lentil soup to warm your body and soul.
Presoak the lentils if needed. The firmer-variety lentils require presoaking in water for several hours. Lentils in a jar or tin are softer and usually don't require presoaking. If they don't need presoaking, rinse the lentils before cooking.
Pour lentils into a stock pot, and add stock or water. Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf and thyme into the stock pot over medium heat. Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. If you presoaked the lentils, decrease the cooking time.
Check on the hardness of the lentils. When they are soft, but not falling apart, the lentil soup is done cooking.
Remove the bay leaf before serving. A full pot contains six to twelve servings. Serve with crusty bread, if desired.
There are many different varieties of lentil soup that you can make. Use your palate as your guide, and add whatever ingredients you enjoy. Some additions include cubes of ham, green pepper, potatoes or even courgettes.