This lentil soup is quite simple, with straightforward ingredients and seasonings. It's pleasingly thick and hearty. The rice adds to the substantial texture. If you're enthusiastic, as we are, about tossing crisp bacon pieces on top of the soup before you dig in, taste when you are adding any salt to the soup at the end; you'll want to see how salty, or not, the bacon and broth are.

Serves 6 to 8


Look for the tiny Le Puy variety of lentils; they have a wonderful flavor. You can buy Le Puy lentils at specialty food stores, some supermarkets, and online.
  • 4 to 6 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3⁄4 cup peeled chopped carrots
  • 1⁄2 cup rice, preferably Arborio
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • Splash of red or white wine (optional)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, or more as needed
  • 3⁄4 cup dried lentils (see Note), rinsed and picked through
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or cheddar or crumbled feta cheese (optional), for serving


Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of the bacon fat from the pot, add the olive oil, onion, and carrots and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the rice, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring, until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the wine, if using, and stir until it's almost evaporated, about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, lentils, and half of the bacon and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Let the lentil mixture simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and the rice are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Feel free to add more liquid if you like a thinner soup. Serve the soup in bowls with the rest of the bacon and a sprinkling of Parmesan, cheddar, or feta cheese on top, if desired.

From The Mom 100 (Workman) by Katie Workman.


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