Here’s another ground beef recipe just for you – vegetable soup with lentils and beef! Adapted from my best lentil soup ever, with beef and Moroccan-inspired spices added for flavor, lentil soup can be boring…but not this one!
Healthy, hearty, economical and complete dinners. Oops……
New beef mince recipe idea: Beef & Lentil Soup!
This is a hearty lentil soup with lots of veggies and beef comfort! Why don’t we use ground beef more often in soups? It’s convenient and economical, absorbs flavors and makes that hearty meal a breeze.
My favorite Wednesday night dinner!
I like to brown the beef with spices to add flavor, which then seeps into the broth.
So it was tastier than the usual lentil soups which are notoriously bland and bland
I like to add a bit of Moroccan flavor to it for extra interest. But there are so many possibilities to use everything you have! Curry, Greek, Italian, Mexican… I recommend it in the recipe!
What goes in Beef & Lentil Soup
Here’s what you need to make this:
- Beef – ground beef/ground beef. Same thing, different names, depending on where you are in the world! You can use lean beef if you like, although the more fat the better the beef (since fat is actually where most of the flavor in any meat is). Substitute any other ground meat – pork, chicken, turkey or even lamb. All you have to do is adjust the amount of spice a bit – the whiter the meat, the more spice you’ll need (because ground meat has a more neutral taste since the meat doesn’t brown like the do whole chicken breasts);
- Lentils – Dried lentils work well here because you get a bit more flavor and consistency from the sauce.
But canning works just as well. Substitutes: chickpeas or beans!
You can use canned lentils if you like, but dried lentils are tastier and a bit thicker.
- Onion and Garlic – basic and standard flavor base for soups;
- Moroccan spices – here you can add any flavor you want! And it’s easy to figure out how much to use.
Start conservatively, add little by little and taste, then keep adding as needed until it suits your taste. I keep the basic recipe simple by using a store-bought Moroccan spice blend as the main flavor, then liven it up with a little extra spice. See recipe note for list of suggestions – go global!
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes – or Tomato Passata, known in the US as Tomato Passata (that’s Tomato Passata + a little flavor), or even my tomato pasta substitute for canned tomatoes, click here for recipe;
- Beef Broth/Bouillon – Rich beef flavor. But vegetable or chicken stock/broth would be delicious here.
For soups, I recommend buying stock in liquid form rather than using cubes or powder as the taste is cleaner and more natural. If you only have bouillon cubes or powder, this will work fine, but sauté the onions, celery, and carrots slowly longer. This will make a wonderful soffrito flavor base to offset. Instructions are in the cookbook;
Vegetables! Use 6-8 cups of whatever you want to cook well in a soup broth!
I have included an extensive list in the recipe notes. I usually start by adding veggies that can be simmered for up to 25 minutes at the start (eg carrots, celery), then add veggies that I want to keep greener and/or not mushy at the end ( for example, beans, zucchini). It also depends on how big you cut them – I cubed them so you get a little per spoonful.
How to make Beef Lentil Soup
And here’s how to make it:
- First, mix the spices in a bowl – we’ll use some to brown the beef and some to flavor the broth;
- Cook the onions, beef – sauté the onions and garlic (basic seasoning!), then the Beef is browned and shredded as you go (a flat-edged wooden spatula does this easily);
- Spiced Brown Beef – add some spices and cook with the beef. Here we are adding a lot of extra flavor to this soup, so get those spices ready! Snack, make sure it’s tasty, and adjust as needed. Some of the flavors will seep into the soup, but most will stay on the beef;
- Add everything – add vegetables which can be simmered for 25 minutes and all sauce ingredients (tomatoes, beef stock, water, remaining spices) and stir well
- Simmer 25-30 minutes to soften lentils and break up the tomatoes to thicken the sauce.
Tip: Older dried lentils take longer to cook, so very old ones can take 35 minutes. Add the quick-cooking vegetables halfway through cooking and according to the cooking time. After 15 minutes I added the diced zucchini and green beans – so cooked for 10 minutes. Cook them until tender and absorbing more than enough flavor in the sauce; and
- Serve! Opting for a Moroccan twist for the base recipe, I ended up with a dollop of yogurt and fresh cilantro.
I will post a list of suggested toppings for other spice blend combinations in the recipe card.
Why I love this Beef & Lentil Soup
This soup has so many benefits for me:
- Quick to make with all the vegetables I have (great freezer cleanup dish!) and no need to cut the meat;
- You can kapow it! Add spices according to your taste. It’s easy to understand: just add and taste, add and taste! As written, it’s just nicely spiced to give it some interest, but intentionally not spicy in your face (I save my real spice bomb for curries);
- Very economical and versatile.
Change the spices to your liking today!
- 100% freezes perfectly and keeps for several days in the refrigerator; and
- This is a complete and healthy meal: meat, starches and lots of vegetables. No need to make a separate side!