Delicious Red Lentil and Ham Soup Recipe: Perfect for Any Meal

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Looking for a hearty, comforting meal that’s both nutritious and delicious? Red lentil and ham soup is your answer. This delightful dish combines the earthy flavor of red lentils with the smoky richness of ham, creating a bowl of warmth perfect for any season. Plus, it’s packed with protein and fiber to keep you feeling full and satisfied.


Gather these ingredients to create your delicious red lentil and ham soup. These components are essential for achieving the rich, hearty flavors that make this dish a family favorite.

Red Lentils

  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained


  • 1 cup cooked ham, diced into small cubes


  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Broth and Seasonings

  • 6 cups chicken broth (preferably low-sodium)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Necessary Tools and Equipment

To create a delightful red lentil and ham soup, you will need the following tools and equipment. These items ensure efficiency and ease in your cooking process.

Essential Kitchen Tools

  • Large Pot: A heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven is ideal for even heat distribution.
  • Cutting Board: Use a sturdy cutting board to chop vegetables safely.
  • Chef’s Knife: A sharp chef’s knife makes chopping onions, carrots, celery, and garlic easier.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are key to a balanced flavor.
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula: For stirring ingredients without scratching your pot.
  • Ladle: Perfect for serving the soup into bowls.
  • Immersion Blender (Optional): If you prefer a smoother texture, an immersion blender helps achieve it directly in the pot.

Having these tools on hand will streamline your preparation of this hearty red lentil and ham soup.

Prep Work

Before diving into cooking, ensure all ingredients and tools are prepared. This prep work will streamline the process and guarantee a delicious red lentil and ham soup.

Cleaning and Chopping

  1. Onions: Peel and finely chop 1 large onion.
  2. Carrots: Wash, peel, and dice 3 medium carrots.
  3. Celery: Rinse thoroughly and chop 2 celery stalks.
  4. Garlic: Peel and mince 4 garlic cloves.
  5. Ham: Dice 2 cups of cooked ham into small pieces.

Ingredients for Red Lentil Soup

  1. Red Lentils: Measure out 1 cup of red lentils, rinse under cold water, then drain.
  2. Chicken Broth: Pour out 6 cups of chicken broth.
  3. Diced Tomatoes: Open a can of diced tomatoes (14 oz) with their juice ready to use.
  4. Spices & Seasoning:
  • Measure 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Measure 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Prepare salt to taste (approximately 1 teaspoon)
  • Prepare black pepper to taste (approximately ½ teaspoon)

Cooking Instructions

Follow these steps to cook the perfect red lentil and ham soup. Make sure all your ingredients are prepped and ready before you begin.

Cooking the Lentils

  1. Rinse Lentils: Place 1 cup of red lentils in a sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. Cook Lentils: Add the rinsed lentils to a large pot with 4 cups of chicken broth.
  3. Bring to Boil: Heat over medium-high heat until it starts boiling.
  4. Simmer: Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Preparing the Ham and Vegetables

  1. Sauté Onions, Carrots, Celery:
  • In another pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add 1 diced onion, 2 sliced carrots, and 2 chopped celery stalks.
  • Cook for about 5-7 minutes until vegetables soften.
  1. Add Garlic:
  • Mince 3 cloves of garlic.
  • Stir into the pan with vegetables and cook for an additional minute.
  1. Add Diced Ham:
  • Chop 1 cup of cooked ham into small cubes.
  • Mix into the vegetable mixture and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Adding Sautéed Vegetables and Finishing the Soup

  1. Combine Mixtures:
  • Once lentils are tender, add the sautéed vegetable and ham mixture into the pot with lentils.
  1. Add Tomatoes & Seasonings:
  • Pour in one can (14 oz) of diced tomatoes with their juice.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon cumin, salt to taste (about a pinch), and black pepper (about a pinch).
  1. Simmer Together:
  • Bring everything back to a gentle boil on medium heat then reduce to low again allowing it to simmer uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes letting flavors meld together perfectly.

Simmering the Soup

Once you have combined the sautéed ham and vegetables with the cooked lentils, it’s time to let your soup simmer to perfection. Follow these steps carefully:

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large pot, combine your sautéed ham and vegetables with the cooked red lentils.
  2. Add Diced Tomatoes: Pour in one can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes, including their juice, into the pot.
  3. Season Well: Add one teaspoon of dried thyme, one teaspoon of ground cumin, half a teaspoon of salt, and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper to enhance flavors.
  4. Stir Thoroughly: Mix all ingredients well to ensure even distribution of seasoning and ingredients.
  5. Adjust Consistency: If needed, add more chicken broth or water to achieve your desired soup consistency.

Simmer Process

  1. Bring to Boil: Increase heat to medium-high until the mixture starts boiling gently.
  2. Reduce Heat: Once boiling, reduce heat to low-medium so that it simmers softly.
  3. Simmer Time: Let the soup simmer for 20-25 minutes uncovered until lentils are tender and flavors meld together beautifully.

Taste and Adjust Seasoning

  1. Taste Test: Taste your soup and adjust seasoning as necessary by adding more salt or spices if needed.
  2. Optional Additions: For added flavor depth consider stirring in two tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley or cilantro before serving.

Serving Suggestions

Elevate your red lentil and ham soup with these serving suggestions to make every bowl a memorable experience.


Add the finishing touches to your soup with these delightful garnishes:

  • Chopped Fresh Parsley or Cilantro: Sprinkle over the top for a burst of color and freshness.
  • Crumbled Feta Cheese: Add a creamy, tangy element that complements the savory ham.
  • Lemon Zest: Grate a bit on top for an unexpected citrus twist.
  • Toasted Pine Nuts or Almonds: Provide a satisfying crunch and nutty flavor.


  • Crusty Bread or Garlic Toast: Perfect for dipping into the hearty broth.
  • Simple Green Salad: A fresh, light counterpoint to the rich soup. Try mixed greens with a lemon vinaigrette.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Enhance your meal with roasted carrots, broccoli, or bell peppers seasoned simply with olive oil and salt.
  • Rice Pilaf or Quinoa Salad: For those who want something more substantial alongside their soup.


Red lentil and ham soup is more than just a hearty meal; it’s a versatile dish that can easily be elevated with the right garnishes and sides. Whether you choose to add fresh herbs, crumbled cheese, or some toasted nuts, these touches will enhance your dining experience.

Pairing this flavorful soup with crusty bread or garlic toast adds satisfying textures, while simple green salads or roasted vegetables bring in refreshing contrasts. For an even heartier option, serve it alongside rice pilaf or quinoa salad.

By incorporating these ideas into your meal planning, you’ll transform a simple recipe into a gourmet experience that’s sure to impress family and friends. Enjoy every spoonful!

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