The Best Ever Lentil Soup (My Secret Ingredient is Parsley Root)

Best Ever Lentil Soup With Secret Ingredients | Foodie Goes HealthyI love lentil soup in the winter because it’s warm, comforting, and filling. But let’s face it, lentil soup can be a little plain. When I designed this lentil soup, I added a few ingredients to give it a little something more. The extra flavor comes from herbs, spices, parmesan rind, and parsley root.

Parsley root is my secret weapon. I put it in winter soups like Beef and Barley Soup and homemade broth. It is exactly what it sounds like: the root of the parsley plant, however; this variety is grown for its large roots rather than for the leaves. It’s white in color and similar to a carrot in size, shape, and texture. Parsley root is related to parsnip, but has a sweeter, less sharp flavor.

Parsley Root | Foodie Goes Healthy

Parsley Root

I first learned about parsley root at Whole Foods market when I struck up a conversation with an elderly woman shopping in the produce section. She offered me tips for making chicken broth. Her number one tip was to use parsley root to flavor the broth by boiling it with the other vegetables. I have been using her tip ever since. I love to talk to people who enjoy cooking and food. I end up learning something new.

Recently, I started chopping up parsley root and sautéing it with other vegetables and adding it to soups that way. It’s a whole new level of wonderful. When I buy a bunch, it lasts in the refrigerator for at least a month. Sometimes parsley root is hard to find in the market. I can reliably find it at Gelson’s market in the winter and spring. I have bought it at some Whole Foods and occasionally at a farmers market. Sometimes I even ask a produce manager to try to get it for me. I might actually grow it myself in my backyard. In any case, it’s worth seeking out, but if you can’t find it, you can still make my dishes without it.

Ingredients for Lentil Soup |

Ingredients for Lentil Soup

I have been making this lentil soup all winter and keep a stash in my freezer. My eight-year-old daughter is especially fond of it, and I hope you will be too.

The Best Ever Lentil Soup (My Secret Ingredient is Parsley Root)
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10 servings
  • 1 heaping tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped small
  • 4 small carrots, chopped small
  • 2 large celery ribs, chopped small
  • 3 small parsley roots, chopped small
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided (use less if broth is salted)
  • Several grinds of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small piece of Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 2 boxes steamed ready-to-eat lentils, by Melissa's Produce or Trader Joe's (17-1/2 ounces each)
  • 5 to 6 cups unsalted vegetable broth (I've used homemade or Pacific brand)
  • Several handfuls of finely chopped kale (or spinach or chard)
  1. Sauté onion, carrot, celery, and parsley root in olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir occasionally until soft.
  2. Add in the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and thyme. Stir to combine, and cook for one minute. Then add the bay leaf, Parmesan rind (optional), and lentils. Add 5 to 6 cups of broth until desired thickness. Stir to combine and break up any chunks of lentils.
  3. Bring to a boil on high heat, then put on a lid ajar and reduce to low heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Use a stick blender in the pot to purée about ¼ of the soup. (Alternatively, use a regular blender taking caution with warm soup). Add in a little more broth if needed to adjust thickness. Stir, then taste and adjusting seasonings if needed. Serve warm. Garnish with chopped kale.
Keeps in the refrigerator for several days or freezes well.

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21 Responses to The Best Ever Lentil Soup (My Secret Ingredient is Parsley Root)

  1. Stephanie@ApplesforCJ December 14, 2016 at 10:17 AM #

    Sounds Great! I love eating lentils in soups and stews 🙂

  2. Ruthie Sater December 11, 2016 at 8:02 PM #

    I love discovering new ways to incorporate vegetables…..especially ones I have never experimented with. This sounds like a delicious fool-proof recipe. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing your always wonderful recipes and background stories.

    • Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy December 11, 2016 at 8:07 PM #

      Hi Ruthie: Thanks so much. Today I added 4 chopped mushrooms in the recipe (because they were lying around in my refrigerator). It added more umami flavor to this vegetarian dish. Hope you enjoy.

  3. Nancy Eisman March 7, 2016 at 10:14 AM #

    Sounds so delicious and perfect for this cool weather. Wish I had a bowl of it right now!

  4. Judy at My Well Seasoned Life. March 6, 2016 at 1:16 PM #

    Adding parsley root is a genius idea. Thanks so much.

    • Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy March 6, 2016 at 1:42 PM #

      Thanks Judy. Let me know if you come up with any more uses for parsley root- it adds such a nice zing to recipes.

  5. CC February 18, 2015 at 8:27 PM #

    Love this as I love lentil soup! We often add Parmesan rind to our tomato sauce, but this is a great idea to add it to lentil soup, too! I shared this recipe on my Cucina FB page a while ago; it needs to be shared! 🙂

    • Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy February 18, 2015 at 8:45 PM #

      Hi Christina- oh, I have to check out your recipe to see how you use parmesan rind to enhance tomato sauce. And thanks for the share. I got lots of likes!

  6. onetipsychick February 10, 2015 at 1:40 PM #

    I am going to look for parsley root next time I shop. I love lentil soup and really all vegetables, so I am anxious to try it!

    • Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy February 10, 2015 at 5:24 PM #

      I hope you find it. I just started asking farmers at my farmers’ market if they want to try growing it. I’m on a mission.

  7. LunaCafe February 9, 2015 at 7:43 PM #

    I LOVE parsley root, spurred on by heaps of it at Portland Farmers Market. It has a marvelous flavor and texture, perfect for winter bean and lentil soups. Bravo for expounding it’s virtues! 🙂

    • Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy February 9, 2015 at 8:03 PM #

      Hi Susan- glad to find another parsley root lover. Have you tried it in anything else other than soups?

  8. alisamarie February 9, 2015 at 12:11 PM #

    That’s the second time I’ve come across parsley root lately. Looks like it’s time to venture another new-to-me ingredient!

  9. Kristina February 9, 2015 at 9:17 AM #

    I am definitely intrigued by the use of parsley root – I may have to plant some this year.

    I am one of those who starts conversations at the market – whether I am giving the advice or listening to it, it is always a fun thing 🙂

  10. Kirsten February 9, 2015 at 7:13 AM #

    I think old folks are just fountains, heaps, piles of good information–a resource that is underutilized.
    I’m glad you had that chance conversation, and now I want to pull my parsley plant out of the frozen ground and see what type of roots are going on under there.

    • Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy February 9, 2015 at 8:28 AM #

      Kirsten- I’m curious to hear what you find. I’m wondering if the roots from regular parsley are substantial enough to cook with as a root vegetable. The parsley root that is specifically grown for the root is a different variety that has a large root and a modest amount of leaves.

  11. Kate Veggie Desserts (@veggie_desserts) February 9, 2015 at 2:03 AM #

    This looks so warm and comforting. I want some now!

    • Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy February 9, 2015 at 8:29 AM #

      Kate- thanks for stopping by. I’m wondering what your veggie desserts are about. I’m off to check that out.

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