Umbrian Lentil Soup (Zuppa de Lenticchie)

4 to 6 Servings

1 hour

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In her kitchen in Perugia, Italy, home cook Silvia Buitoni taught us how to make brothy but hearty Umbrian lentil soup, or zuppa di lenticchie, a regional classic and a fine example of rustic Italian cooking. Of utmost importance, of course, are the lentils. Golden in tone with a pale green cast, Castelluccio lentils, which are grown in the Umbrian village of the same name, are the backbone of this simple but satisfying dish. Their flavor is nutty, earthy and subtly sweet, and though they become tender and plump with cooking, they still retain their shape beautifully and don’t break down as they cook. Castelluccio lentils are worth seeking out in Italian markets or online—but if you can’t find them, opt instead for French lentils du Puy, which are green-gray in color and have similar texture and flavor characteristics. Puy lentils may take a little longer to cook, so be sure to taste them for doneness.

4 to 6



Don’t cook the lentils covered for the entire time. When they’re just shy of tender, uncover the pot, turn up the burner half a notch and cook for a few more minutes. This allows some of the liquid to evaporate so the broth becomes thicker and richer.

1 hour



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Jennifer B.
August 6, 2022
Blasphemous but delicious. I used red lentils, cuz that's what I had and it was fine. The soup cooked on very low heat for 40 minutes and even the red lentils held their shape. I had some beef stock left over from boiling a brisket and that really made the soup.
Jennifer S.

This was a very satisfying and hearty soup and will be a go-to recipe when I want to make something quick and simple that packs good flavor in a short amount of time using pretty basic pantry staples. I didn’t have celery so my version had more of a natural sweetness that I compensated for with a little lemon juice and balsamic vinegar stirred in at the end. I don’t always use Parmesan myself, but I found it really helped to add a punch of umami and rounded out all the flavors. Will be a good soup for the cooler days ahead!

Jonathan M.

Earthy, balanced, deeply flavored soup. We loved it, will definitely make again.

Sharon S. is a good source for the Umbrian lentils. They also have a lot of good quality Italian foods.

Connie D.

Loved this comforting soup! Had depth of flavor for simple ingredients. Will be making this again and again!

Eleanor W.

delicious yet simple soup with a nice blend of flavors. used pecorino instead of parmesan -- also great!