Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

My son and I were home alone on Sunday and had one of those super lazy days where we stayed in pajamas all day long and didn’t leave the house.  What a nice treat complete with hard rainfall, cozy covers, and movies on t.v.  Around 11:00 a.m. I got up and threw together a simple slow cooker lentil soup and enjoyed the yummy aroma emanating from the crockpot throughout the afternoon.  It’s really nice to know that dinner’s cooking and you don’t have to worry about it later- gives you more time in your day and something to look forward to that night.  
INGREDIENTS (from America’s Test Kitchen)
  • 2 medium onions , minced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves 
  • 2 TBS Extra-virgin olive oil (for serving, optional)
  • 1TBS tomato paste 
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked, rinsed and minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves , or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 slices of bacon 
  • 3 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks 
  • 12 ounces portobello mushroom caps, gills removed, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (I used sliced bella mushrooms)
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils (1 cup), rinsed and picked over
  • 1 bay leaf (not pictured)
  • 8 oz. Swiss chard leaves only (I used collard greens) 
To maximize the flavor of the soup, I cooked the first few ingredients (onion, garlic, thyme, bacon, tomato sauce, porcini mushrooms) over the stove for about five minutes, but the recipe says you can have the same effect by microwaving those same ingredients for 5 minutes. 
Lentils are a great source of protein with about 3 grams of protein per tablespoon.

Stir both broths, bacon, carrots, fresh mushrooms, lentils and bay leaf into slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low until the soup is thickened and the lentils are tender, 9 to 11 hours. (Alternatively, cover and cook on high for 5 to 7 hours.) 

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When the soup has about 30 minutes left to cook, remove the bacon and bay leaf, and add in the chopped swiss chard (I used greens because my store was out of chard).  
At the end, season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle in a bit more olive oil.  I served ours with toasted French bread, but a healthier option would be to skip it or use whole wheat. 
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  1. September 30, 2013 / 2:20 pm

    Sounds like the perfect day! The soup looks and sounds delicious. I love making soup this time of year. Going to have to get a little more creative this fall since being GF and now not being able to eat tomatoes (or anything made with them for that matter).

  2. September 30, 2013 / 2:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing – this looks delicious!

  3. October 1, 2013 / 4:09 pm

    great idea– thank you! it looks delishh!

  4. October 2, 2013 / 2:14 am

    I've been on a crock-pot kick lately…looking forward to trying this recipe out! Thank you for sharing!

  5. October 7, 2013 / 8:29 pm

    I made a version of this recipe, lol. I did it vegetarian so no chicken broth or bacon. I just used all vegetable broth. I used regular mushrooms in place of the porcini (still used the portobellos though). I also doubled the carrots and added celery. I completely forgot the bay leaf and the swiss chard! I did not slow cook this because I started it at 2:30, but it was fantastic! I love lentil soup and appreciate this post because it gives me an alternative lentil soup recipe, thanks Megan!

  6. October 13, 2013 / 2:53 am

    I made this yummy recipe this week. LOVED IT!!! I used turkey bacon and it was great. Thank you for sharing a wonderful recipe. Love your blog.

  7. October 20, 2014 / 7:20 pm

    Hi! This looks amazing! I've never used a slow cooker and I'd like this to be my first recipe. 🙂 Can you tell me how many servings this soup makes?

    • October 21, 2014 / 2:00 pm

      Hi Paula, if I remember correctly, it makes 4 – 6 servings. Hope you enjoy! I posted this awhile ago, but your recent comment makes me want to serve it again this week!

  8. November 19, 2014 / 1:05 pm

    when on the 24 day challenge how do you figure out portion size with soup

  9. April 27, 2016 / 3:22 pm

    I was wondering why the bacon is removed, and does it go back in once the soup is completely finished cooking?

  10. Faran
    August 26, 2019 / 7:27 pm

    Just wondering your thoughts on this in a pressure cooker? timing and everything?

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