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Italian Lentil Soup Recipe for the New Year

Italian lentil soup is a comforting, hearty soup that’s easy to throw together and the perfect way to jump-start your new year or enjoy it on a cold winter day.

italian Lentil soup recipe

Why do Italians Eat Lentil on New Year’s Eve?

One tradition that has always stuck with me is the Italian custom of eating” “zuppa di lenticchie” at midnight on New Year’s Day. 

In Italy, lentils are believed to symbolize coins and wealth since they resemble small, rounded discs.

Eating lentils at the beginning of the new year will bring good luck, prosperity, and money in the coming months.

The tradition of eating lentils on New Year’s Day as a wish for prosperity derives from the tradition of ancient Rome.

During which at the beginning of the new year, it was customary to give a leather bag to be tied to the belt that contained lentils, considered a real treasure for those who did not have enough money to buy meat and thus ensuring the less wealthy a reserve of food important and valuable during the cold winter.

It’s a delicious superstition, and the lentil soup is absolutely delicious. 


Dried lentils: I prefer green or baby beluga for their texture.

One cup dried will yield about 4 cups cooked.

Chicken stock or vegetable broth: 4-5 cups is usually enough to submerge the lentils as they cook thoroughly.

Homemade or low-sodium store-bought works well. 

Carrot, celery stalk, and medium onion: the Italian soffritto.

These aromatic vegetables add a wonderful depth of flavor to the soup.

They also provide a hint of sweetness and freshness that balances out the earthiness of the lentils.

Tomato: I like adding color to my lentil soup; I use fresh chopped tomato, but tomato sauce or tomato paste can also work.

Bay leaves: A common ingredient in Italian soups and stews. It adds a subtle herbal note and enhances the overall flavor of the soup.

Sea salt and black pepper to taste: Season generously towards the end.

Extra virgin olive oil: For sautéing the soffritto and for the serving.

Drizzle some high-quality olive oil over the finished soup before serving. 

How to make lentil soup

Step 1

Rinse the lentils thoroughly. This helps remove any impurities and ensures a clean taste.

Step 2

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add the diced onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté until they soften.

Add the rinsed lentils, bay leaf, chopped tomato, and broth to the pot.

Bring to a boil, then let it simmer in a lower heat for about 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Step 3

Once the lentils are cooked, remove the bay leaf and season the soup with salt and pepper.

Ladle the hot soup into bowls and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil or parsley.

Serve as a main course with crusty bread or your favorite side dish.

Buon appetito!

Top Tips For a Delicious Soup

  • Rinse dried lentils well before cooking to remove any dust or debris.
  • For extra flavor, sauté pancetta or bacon before adding vegetables.
  • Lentil soup thickens as it sits – add more broth as needed when reheating.
  • Use vegetable stock to make a vegetarian lentil soup.


Sausage lovers: Brown some pork sausage or spicy Italian sausage before adding the vegetables to the pot. The savory sausage adds a meaty richness to the soup.

Veggie power: Add more vegetables to the mix.

Zucchini, swiss chard, bell peppers, baby spinach, or fresh kale can be excellent additions to boost the nutritional value.

Creamy soup: If you prefer a creamier texture, blend a portion of the cooked soup using an immersion or regular blender.

Pour it back into the pot and stir to combine.

Add Pasta: It’s something I love to do with leftovers the next day.

Cook the pasta directly in the lentils, adding about 2 cups of water. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.


If you have leftovers or want to make a big batch of Italian lentil soup ahead of time, here’s how you can store it:

Fridge: Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container.

It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Freeze: If you want to extend the soup’s shelf life, freezing is the way to go.

Portion the soup into freezer-safe containers or resealable freezer bags, leaving some room for expansion. It can be frozen for three months.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.



No, you don’t need to soak the lentils before cooking.

Unlike some other legumes, lentils cook relatively quickly without pre-soaking. Just give them a good rinse before putting them in the pot.


While dried lentils are preferred for their texture and flavor, you can certainly use canned lentils if you’re short on time or like the convenience.

Drain and rinse the canned lentils before adding them to the soup. Remember that canned lentils are already cooked, so you’re the cooking time to avoid overcooking them.

Can I use other types of lentils?

Yes! While the recipe calls for dried lentils, you can experiment with different types, such as green lentils, brown, or black.

Remember that cooking times may vary slightly, so adjust accordingly.

Delicious Italian lentil soup Recipe


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Italian lentil soup recipe

lentil soup

Italian lentil soup recipe, not only is it easy to make, but it's also the perfect way to start your new year with a little bit of good luck.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 3 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 1 Large carrot
  • 2 Celery sticks
  • 2 Red tomatoes, or a can of tomatoes 
  • 1 1/4 cup Dried lentils
  • 4 cups Vegetable broth as needed
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • A few bay leaves
  • Basil (optional)


  1. Rinse the lentils and drain and dice the carrot, celery, and onion.
  2. In a high-sided pot, sauté the diced carrot, celery and onion.
  3. When they are golden brown, add the diced tomato, basil leaves, and bay leaf which will give the dish an excellent aroma.
  4. Cook for about 3 minutes, and at this point, add the drained lentils.
  5. Cook for a couple of minutes and add the broth.
  6. Continue cooking with the lid on. If the lentil soup gets too dry, add more broth.
  7. Once the lentils are cooked, add salt and pepper to the soup, stir, and serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and more fresh herbs.
  8. Serve it with garlic bread or croutons. Alternatively, you can add some pasta or rice.


If you like strong flavors, you can add a pinch of Chili Powder, Turmeric, or Ginger to the Lentil Soup.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 896mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 8gSugar: 7gProtein: 8g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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