Lentil Soup with Plantains Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Lentil Soup with Plantains

Cheesecloth-wrapped bundles of garlic, herbs, and spices infuse this soup with flavor. The process of straining the broth and then adding it to the lentils lets you adjust the soup’s thickness—make it thick and hearty for a main dish or thin and brothy for a first course.



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1 large onion
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6 cloves garlic
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1 cinnamon stick
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3 whole cloves
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5 sprigs fresh thyme
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8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
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1 ½ cups brown lentils, rinsed and drained
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3 Tbs. olive oil
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2 ripe (black) plantains, peeled and diced (1 ½ cups)
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3 carrots, cut into ½-inch pieces (1 ¼ cups)
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½ tsp. salt
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⅛ tsp. ground allspice
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¾ cup chopped cilantro


1. Cut half of onion into chunks and other half into dice. Mince 3 cloves garlic; keep 3 remaining cloves garlic whole.

2. Tie onion chunks, whole garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, and cloves in square of cheesecloth. Tie fresh thyme in separate square of cheesecloth.

3. Bring broth and cheesecloth bundles to a boil in stockpot. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Stir in lentils, and cook 15 minutes more. Strain lentils, discard onion bundle, and set lentils aside; reserve cooking liquid and thyme bundle.

4. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onions, and sauté 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; add plantains, carrots, and salt. Sauté 15 minutes, or until plantains are golden. Stir in minced garlic and allspice; cook 5 minutes more. Add lentils, reserved liquid, and thyme bundle; simmer 15 minutes. Remove and discard thyme bundle. Stir in half of cilantro. Ladle soup into bowls, and garnish with remaining cilantro.

Nutrition Information: 

10 g
Total Fat: 
6 g
Saturated Fat: 
<1 g
36 g
0 mg
304 mg
11 g
9 g
Serves 8

Comments on this Recipe


Warming Soup

love this

too much prep. and not sure all the spices sound good in a soup-stew mix.

This was delicious! I used water instead of vegetable broth and less oil. Love the flavors from simmering the water with the onion and spices... it was worth the extra time, and that step could easily be done ahead of time. The sweet plantain pairs wonderfully with the savory lentils and carrots, and the spice mix really enhances those flavors. The only change I'd make is increasing the ratio of plantains/carrots to lentils, maybe adding in some celery as well.

This sounds delicious and I can't wait to try. However, six cloves of garlic sounds a bit heavy for a recipe serving eight people (even though it's being used (whole) to infuse the soup with flavor). Like one of the other comments, I will opt to use less olive oil. Although olive oil is healthy, I will start at either 1 or 1.5 tbsp.

Are these lentils pre cooked? Canned?

I made this today for new year's day since lentils are said to be good luck. It was good. I added tomatoes.