Thick and Hearty Red Lentil Soup

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DK Red Lentil Soup


  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 cups dried red lentils, checked carefully for debris and rinsed
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 2 medium potatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Lightly spray the bottom of a pressure cooker or Dutch oven with canola oil. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan often, until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery and cook for 2 more minutes.
  2. Add the lentils to the pot. If you’re using a pressure cooker, add 6 cups of water; for regular cooking, add 8 cups water. Stir in the potatoes, bay leaf, celery seed, basil, and thyme.
  3. For pressure cooking: Seal the cooker and bring to high pressure. Lower heat and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes (8 minutes for electric pressure cooker). Remove from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. If lentils are not completely cooked, cover loosely and cook (without pressure) until they reach the desired tenderness.
  4. For regular cooking: Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over very low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until lentils are soft and disintegrate when stirred.
  5. For both methods: Once the lentils are tender, add the liquid smoke, salt, and pepper. Check the seasoning and add more herbs if necessary. Cook several minutes uncovered to thicken (or add water to thin). Serve with warm whole-grain bread.
  6. Makes about 8 servings, and tastes even better the next day!