marisa mariella

easy mouthwatering recipes that unite your family and friends

My Lentil Soup

The first time I saw lentils was at my in-laws’ home on New Year’s Eve over 40 years ago. In keeping with their traditions from Puglia, my mother-in-law had prepared a big batch of lentils, a legume that I had never experienced in my calabrese home. To my surprise, the dish was not served as part of the dinner but was reserved for the ceremonial stroke of midnight. In their home, champagne popping was upstaged by the serving of lentils. And the more lentils you ate, the more money was thought to come your way in the new year. Regrettably, I didn’t eat any. Those little round flat dark beans were so peculiar to me that I could even try them. Fortunately at some point later in the year, either motivated by a need to convert me or just feed her family, my mother-in-law made her lentil dish. Deeply flavoured with tomatoes, onions, and celery, the lentils were soft, tender, and delicious.
Inspired by my mother-in-law, my lentil soup recipe boasts a wealth of nutrients and flavour. Serve it with a salad and crostini, the Italian-style garlic bread. For a heartier meal, add some cooked pasta like tubetti. The recipe can easily accommodate a vegan, vegetarian, or grain-free diet. No need to wait until next New Year’s Eve to make this recipe.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10


  • 6 tbsp Nardini’s Private Label Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp hot chili pepper flakes optional
  • 5 slices prosciutto diced (optional)
  • 2 large carrots peeled, diced
  • 5 ribs celery diced
  • 2 large onions diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 10 cups water
  • 796 ml can crushed imported tomatoes
  • 2" piece Parmigiano Reggiano rind scraped and washed (optional)
  • cups dried large green lentils rinsed and picked over
  • tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups spinach or kale chopped
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 2 cups cooked pasta noodles ex. tubetti


  • Place large pot over medium-high and add oil.
  • Add prosciutto and hot pepper flakes, if using, Add carrots, celery, and onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Then add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and stir.
  • Add the water and lentils.
  • Add the oregano.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The lentils should be soft but still hold their shape.
  • Add parsley.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Add spinach or kale. Add pasta, if using.
  • Remove cheese rind, if using. (It can be chopped up and served with soup.) Adjust seasonings. Serve hot in bowls.
  • Drizzle of Nardini’s Private Label Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Serve with crostini.


Toast thick slices of good-quality Italian bread. Rub fresh garlic on crusty surface. Drizzle with Nardini’s Private Label Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Substitute brown for green lentils, but not red. The skin of red lentils breaks down when cooked, turning the lentils into mush.
Experiment with your favourite herbs and spices.
You can cook the pasta in the soup during the last ten minutes. Just be sure to add more water before adding the pasta.
You can add 1 large potato, cubed, if you like. It will make a thicker soup. You may need to add more water to thin it out.
Salt the soup only after the lentils are cooked, otherwise, the lentils will be tough.