Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese - with classic tomato-basil flavor and lots of healthy red lentils, this delicious, unique soup has a classic Caprese topping of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil.

With traditional tomato-basil flavor and lots of healthy red lentils, this delicious, unique soup has a classic Caprese topping.

I was getting a little worried. We’ve had an unseasonably mild winter here in North Carolina with many days climbing into the 60’s and 70’s – a few even in the low 80’s!   Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen new blooms and buds here, there and everywhere. Definitely not normal in this part of the country in February. Daffodils sway cheerfully in the warm breezes, Bradford pears line the streets in soft puffs of white, and pointy green tulip tips, drawn by the warm sun, are popping up prolifically throughout the neighborhood.

It wasn’t the early arrival of spring that had me worried, as it’s wonderful to be able to get out and enjoy the lovely weather. Scott’s even begun planting the gardens and we’ve got neat little rows of lettuce, spinach, kale, snow peas and Swiss chard coming up in the raised beds as well as early spring herbs flourishing in pots on the deck.

This may sound crazy but my concern with a February spring was soup. Soup? Yes, soup. For me, one of the big draws of  the winter culinary season is soup. I love making a big pot, loaded with healthy veggies and lean protein. A favorite, casual winter dinner for us is soup, salad and a loaf of warm, crusty bread. Soup is also perfect for lunches and meals on the run. (Don’t tell anyone, but I even like it for breakfast.)

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Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese - with classic tomato-basil flavor and lots of healthy red lentils, this delicious, unique soup has a classic Caprese topping of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil.

But soup doesn’t really go well with balmy breezes and mild temperatures, so I was thrilled when our thermometer started dipping again into the 30’s at night with cool, crisp days.

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese -with classic tomato-basil flavor, this healthy, unique soup has a delicious Caprese topping

Out came the soup pot and this wonderful Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup was conceived. It’s hearty, healthy and incredibly delicious.

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese - with classic tomato-basil flavor and lots of healthy red lentils, this delicious, unique soup has a classic Caprese topping of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil.

I wanted something a bit different for a topping and after throwing around a few ideas, I decided on a classic Caprese combination: fresh mozzarella, tiny tomatoes, fresh basil and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese - with classic tomato-basil flavor and lots of healthy red lentils, this delicious, unique soup has a classic Caprese topping of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil.

As the name suggests, the tomatoes are roasted in the oven along with onions and lots of garlic. Everything gets a nice caramelization before it’s added to the soup pot with red lentils and chicken broth. Roasting transforms even tasteless grocery-store-winter-tomatoes into something wonderful!

Why lentils? Because they’re delicious but also because they add such great nutritional value to this soup. Lentils are so nutrient-dense, it’s hard to even know where to start when listing their health benefits. They’re good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K an are particularly rich in dietary fiber, folate and iron. I love that, in addition, lentils are high in lean protein so they make the soup much more filling. “Stick to the ribs” food, as my mom used to say. I chose red lentils because they cook really quickly and they also help  keep the soup a pretty color.

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese - with classic tomato-basil flavor and lots of healthy red lentils, this delicious, unique soup has a classic Caprese topping of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil.

The cook time on the stovetop is short, just about 15 minutes to soften the lentils and meld the flavors together. All that’s left is a handful of fresh basil and a quick puree with a immersion or stand blender. I like to leave the soup a bit chunky as the texture adds a nice dimension and goes nicely with the wonderful Caprese topping.

So take advantage of these next few weeks and enjoy a pot of this Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese . Time is fleeting and before we know the parade of spring summer produce will begin and the soup pot will be put away for the season. Bon Appetit!

A few items I used to make and serve this soup:

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Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese -with classic tomato-basil flavor, this healthy, unique soup has a delicious Caprese topping

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Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese

With classic tomato-basil flavor and lots of healthy red lentils, this delicious, unique soup has a wonderful Caprese topping – fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil leaves.

  • Author:
  • Yield: 10-12
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 pounds plum or roma tomatoes, washed and halved, lengthwise
  • 1 large sweet onoin, peeled, halved and cut into wedges
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, crushed (with the back of a knife) and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup red lentils*, about 7 ounces
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 7-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 medium bay leaves
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the topping:
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella**
  • 1 pint yellow and red cherry tomatoes, or use one color
  • small fresh basil leaves , for garnish
  • extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • fresh ground black pepper, for garnish
  • Makes 6-8 generous servings***

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar in a large bowl. Stir gently with a large spoon or spatula to coat. Turn mixture out onto a rimmed sheet pan and arrange tomatoes cut side down. Nestle garlic cloves in the center of the pan. Be sure to scrape out all the good oil and juice in the bowl.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes, then flip tomatoes to opposite side and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until most of the liquid has been evaporated. Depending on the size of your tomatoes, cooking time can vary a bit so keep an eye on them at the end.
  3. Remove from oven and transfer the tomato mixture (and any liquid left in the pan) to a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the lentils, broth, tomato paste, bay leaves and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a steady low simmer. Cook for 20 minutes then remove from heat.
  4. Remove bay leaves and add basil to the soup. Then blend with an immersion blender or stand blender. If using a stand blender, allow the mixture to cool a bit before blending. It’s also a good idea to leave the center cap of the blender lid off and cover it with several layers of paper toweling. (If too much heat builds up in the blender container, it can cause an explosion.) Leave the soup a bit chunky, not super smooth.
  5. Taste and add a bit more salt, if needed. Serve soup hot topped with halved Ciliegine (see note below), cherry tomato halves and small fresh basil leaves. If your basil leaves are large, just slice them thinly. Drizzle each serving with a teaspoon of olive oil and a shower of fresh ground black pepper.

Notes

Notes:
* – red lentils are a fairly common variety. You’ll find them in the dried bean section of most larger grocery stores.
** – most larger grocery stores (including Super Walmart) carry the small balls of mozzarella called Ciliegine or Bocconcini. If you can’t find either of these varieties, just use a bigger ball and dice it into 1/2-inch pieces for the topping.
– ***this recipe makes a large pot (will feed 6-8 easily) but it can be halved. You might be sad with yourself if you half it though as it makes wonderful lunches and quick meals on the run.

 



26 thoughts on “Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup Caprese”

  • Am making this now and it smells amazing…But I’m unsure about the basil. Does it get pureed in, and if so, when do I add it?
    Thanks so much for all the beautiful and delicious recipes.

  • This soup will go down in my recipe favorites for the end of time! I am fortunate enough to have a family (kids included, yay!) that loves lentils, so I knew it was going to be a hit no matter what. Oh my goodness, when those tomatoes, onions, and garlic were roasting I knew something magical was happening! What a winning combination! I did throw in some chopped Italian parsley at the end, just because I had some and it seemed like it belonged. Amazing recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  • One of the reasons we like this time of the year is because it gives us a chance to eat soup! So I’m with you — it’s nice to have mild weather, but give me enough of the cold stuff so I can make soup. Time for salads in the months to come. 🙂 Anyway, this looks super. 🙂 Thanks so much.

  • I love soup and we eat it all the time, no matter what season, I make soup at least twice a week. I have to try this, I haven’t made lentil soup in quite a while, now that I think of it. Beautiful pictures, it feels I could pick up a tomato from the bowl.

  • Made this today, it was delicious! Took a chance and threw everything in my Instant Pot after roasting. 10 minutes on manual and it was perfect!

  • These colors are amazing, Chris. I cannot even imagine how delicious this soup is. I have been trying to refrain from outdoor plantings here but it is hard. Instead I am biding my time in the greenhouse.

  • How pretty, Chris! We’re all so ready for spring and you’ve captured it perfectly in this dish and lovely setting. I know you are a tomato junkie too so thank you for this beautiful recipe. I know we’re going to love it!

  • This will be a total hit with my husband Chris! We both love tomato soup and lentil soup, so what a great idea to combine them! And I love the caprese spin too. This is going to be a definite winner on our soup menu! Thanks for sharing. Happy weekend!

  • What a marvelous soup! So much to love!!! I adore lentils, but usually buy the green variety—which would certainly muddy the look of your beautiful dish. Now I’m not so sad about the snow in our forecast—I will stay home and make soup!

  • I make a few lentil soups we love..but your toppings send this one over the top”!Pinning for sure..peretty pretty pics,and weather is weird here too..I heard 93 F in Fl today!

  • We had some record high temps here in February also but it’s snowing today. I would love a bowl of that beautiful soup tonight. Love the addition of lentils – a meal in itself!

  • I would love to make this soup, but have a husband with a ” picky palate” …Does this soup taste like tomato soup? I figure if it does, I could ” forget” to mention the lentils until he finished eating:)

    • Haha Gayann, I think he’ll love this. Scott’s not a huge lentil fan and he absolutely loved this soup! It has so much great tomato-basil flavor going on – the lentils just add lots of great nutrition. Let me know the results of the picky palate if you get a chance to try it 🙂

  • I appreciate your notes of where things can be purchased or found in stores. Thoughtful of you and helpful for us!

  • It looks like it would have such depth of complex flavor! So beautiful! And I love your beautiful pitcher with the white tulips!

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