Garlicky Lentil Soup with Carrots, Kale and Other Staples

Garlicky Lentil Soup

I love recipes that have an ingredient list full of things I always have on hand in my pantry, refrigerator or garden. I figure any ingredient that is always in stock is probably something I like quite a lot. So it just makes sense that a recipe made up entirely of things I always have in the house is a recipe that will make me happy. Domenica Marchetti’s (mom’s) Garlicky Lentil Soup is just such a recipe.

It starts with a mirepoix that is “fortified” with fennel and garlic. These are all staples in my house. As are lentils and potatoes. The only ingredient that might not always be in my house is Tuscan kale. But it’s the end of the season and I have 4 big Tuscan kale plants getting ready to bolt. So I harvested the best of the new young leaves for this soup, and pulled the plants out by their roots. In fact it was the end of the kale that convinced to make this Garlicky Lentil Soup in the first place.

If you’re not familiar with Domenica Marchetti or her books on the glorious foods of Italy, then get thee to a bookstore. This Garlicky Lentil Soup is from the latest of this series, The Glorious Vegetables of Italy.

I’m presenting an adapted version of Marchetti’s Garlicky Lentil Soup. However, the only thing “adapted” is the language. I simply presented her ingredients, procedure and intentions in my own words. Well, there’s one thing I know she intended that I didn’t get quite right– the croutons. Her mom’s version is made from big chunks of really good, chewy Italian bread. The closest thing I had in the house was sliced sourdough bread (I’m a Californian after all). Which means my croutons got a bit too crisp. I should have known better and paid more attention to them, or (gasp) gotten into the car and gone to the store. But I told you, I made this Garlicky Lentil Soup with ingredients I had on hand. That statement would be a lie if I had decided to sneak down the hill and purchase the proper bread. GREG

Garlicky Lentil SoupGVIMarchettiPS: Domenica herself left a message on my Instagram post about this soup. She was kind enough to admire my kitchen. So I’ve attached a photo of me in my kitchen. It may seem a little self-indulgent, but I love my kitchen and am happy to share its extravagance! You can read more about the renovation of my kitchen here. Be prepared it was painful (so was my writing back then).

Sippity Sup (Greg Henry) in his kitchen.

Garlicky Lentil Soup 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4–6Source Adapted from Domenica MarchettiPublished
Garlicky Lentil Soup


  • ¼ cup olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
  • 4 clove garlic (peeled and lightly smashed)
  • 3 carrots (sliced)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 fennel bulb (trimmed and diced)
  • 1 stalk celey (diced)
  • 8 ounce Tuscan Kale (chopped)
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato (or similar, peeled and diced)
  • 1 turnip (peeled and diced)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cup vegetable stock
  • 4 cup water
  • 2 cup brown lentils
  • homemade croutons (optional)


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add garlic, cook until fragrant; about 1 minute. Stir in carrots, onion, fennel, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened, but have not yet begin to color; about 7 minutes. Add kale, potato, turnip, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes; gently stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale begins to wilt. Add the stock and water; stir in lentils.

Raise the heat to medium-high. Just as the mixture begins to bubble, reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes. Uncover, discard bay leaf and whatever is left of the thyme sprigs; adjust seasoning.

Ladle soup into shallow bowls, drizzle with olive oil and top with croutons (if using). Serve immediately.