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Published November 9, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Try a bowl of this comforting ham and lentil soup that is jam-packed with delicious ham, vegetables, and lentils that are cooked in stock. You will love the flavors of this and just how easy it is to make.
This recipe isn’t just meant to keep you nice and toasty during those cool fall and winter months, it’s also a great recipe to use leftover holiday ham. If you’re looking for more recipes that use leftover ham, check out my Ham and Bean Soup and Red Beans and Rice.
Ham and Lentil Soup
Ham and lentil soup is a hearty soup consisting of ham, vegetables, and lentils that are simmered in a broth until cooked. This soup will most likely have different variations depending on who is making it and what country or region of the country you are in. While it is a very simple recipe, you can be creative and add other ingredients to it to customize it to your liking.
What is a Lentil?
A lentil is a legume, or bean, that comes from the Mediterranean area and has been grown and eaten for thousands of years. There are several different varieties of lentils, but the most used ones are green, brown, and red, and go great with ham.
Lentils look a lot like split peas and come from a pod that grows on a plant much like peas, and then they are dried out. They have an earthy, nutty flavor and go great in salads, pilafs, soups, and especially with salmon and pork.
Most of the lentils in the United States are grown in the Pacific Northwest, and they do need to be rinsed before use so that you can wash off any dirt or get rid of any unwanted particles should any even be in there.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ham – You will need fully cooked and cut-up ham for this soup.
- Sausage – I prefer to use sweet Italian sausage. However, you can use just about any link sausage in this.
- Mirepoix – A combination of onions, celery, and carrots is used. Feel free to use a yellow, white, or sweet onion.
- Garlic – A few cloves of garlic will help bring out a lot of flavors.
- Vegetables – I like to add green beans and russet potatoes. Feel free to use Yukon potatoes instead of russets.
- Stock – You can use chicken stock or vegetable stock.
- Lentils – I used dried green lentils, but you can use brown lentils as well.
- Herbs – Fresh parsley and thyme add a lot of flavor to the soup. Other herbs that would work in this are fresh oregano or rosemary.
How to Make Ham and Lentil Soup
Add the sausage to a large pot over medium heat and cook it until browned and cooked throughout about 7-9 minutes.
Set the sausage to the side and add the onions, celery, garlic, and carrots to the pot and sauté for 6-8 minutes in the rendered Italian sausage fat.
Next, add back in the cooked sausage, ham, green beans, potatoes, and chicken stock and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 minutes.
Rinse the lentils and then add them to the pot, cover and cook over low to medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender.
Add in herbs, salt, and pepper, and serve.
Some other vegetables that would be great in this soup are:
- Yellow Squash
- Wax Beans
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 1 day ahead of time. Follow the reheating instructions below.
How to Store: You can store this ham and lentil soup covered in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. This will also freeze covered for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating and serving.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of soup to a medium-sized saucepot and cook over low heat until hot. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and serve.
Chef Notes + Tips
- Leftover ham is great to use in this soup.
- Remember, soup gets better with time, so the longer it can sit and simmer on low heat, the better it will taste.
More Soup Recipes
Ham and Lentil Soup Recipe
- 1 pound loose Italian sausage
- 1 peeled and small diced yellow onion
- 4 small diced ribs of celery
- 4 peeled and small diced carrots
- 4 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 2 cups trimmed fresh green beans
- 2 peeled and medium diced russet potatoes
- 2 pounds medium diced ham
- 12 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups green lentils, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Add the sausage to a large pot over medium heat and cook it until browned and cooked throughout about 7-9 minutes.
- Set the sausage to the side and add the onions, celery, garlic, and carrots to the pot and sauté for 6-8 minutes in the rendered Italian sausage fat.
- Next, add back in the cooked sausage, ham, green beans, potatoes, and chicken stock and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 minutes
- Rinse the lentils and then add them to the pot, cover and cook over low to medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender.
- Add in parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper and serve.