Even though the weather has been getting warmer lately, there are still days when I crave a nice bowl of lentil soup for lunch. Especially if it’s a lentil soup that conjures up the Mediterranean sun and the seaside.
This Greek lentil soup (Faki) comes from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, which has a recipe revised from one that reader and Greek cookbook author Vilma Liacouras had sent in to the paper in 1977. I don’t think I had ever tried lentil soup Greek-style before, but wow, am I hooked now. It may become my go-to lentil soup. In the beginning of the cooking process, it may seem like your ordinary tomato-lentil soup, but the magic comes towards the end. You toss in plenty of parsley, mint, and basil. Then you stir in a generous amount of good olive oil. And finally, you add some red wine vinegar; that extra bit of acidity really brings the lentils to a whole new level.
Oh, yes, and the soup practically demands having plenty of salad, bread, feta, and olives on the side, a.k.a my absolute favorite things for an easy weekend lunch or weeknight dinner.
This recipe makes plenty of soup, so plan on inviting company over or having lots of leftovers, both of which are good things.
Greek Lentil Soup (Faki)
- 1 pound lentils
- 10 cups water
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
- 10 to 12 canned Italian-style plum tomatoes with juices (I used 1-large 28 ounce can of Muir Glen Organic tomatoes. This is double the amount of tomatoes in the Times recipe, but to me it’s the perfect amount.)
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 sprigs fresh parsley, roughly torn or chopped, plus more for ganish
- Small handful basil and mint, roughly torn or chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground blak pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
- Rinse and pick over the lentils. Place the lentils in a large pot with the water. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about 90 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley, basil, and mint, olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes, until the lentils are very tender.
- Stir in the red wine vinegar and adjust with more vinegar if you’d like. Serve hot, preferably with crusty bread, salad, feta, and olives.
Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook
More lentil recipes to try:
Lentil Almond Stir-fry from 101 Cookbooks
Pea, Lentil, and Bacon Salad from Souvlaki for the Soul
Curried Rice and Red Lentils from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Lebanese Lentil Salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen