Parmesan Lentil Soup

I always feel like I'm playing a little bit of a game when I have random things in my kitchen I need to use, but don't want to go to the grocery just yet…and am still a day away from picking up my CSA. It's like that TV show Chopped, in which contestants are given a basket of random food to make a meal. Ninety-five percent of the time I surprise myself and make a totally cohesive and healthy meal! The other 5 percent? I am thiiis close to heading to the deli down the street for a sub.  

The other night was one of those "game show kitchen" nights. I had tons of dry ingredients and staples such as lentils and pasta, but also a few pieces of produce I needed to use up. This lentil soup has veggies and protein (love you lentils!), but also the right amount of flavor from a Parmesan rind and fresh lemon thyme. Thank goodness for leftovers! I could eat this all day. 

Parmesan Lentil Soup

Recipe by Carlene Thomas, RDN, LD
Adapted from
The Best Vegetarian Recipes by Martha Rose Shulman

This lentil soup has veggies and protein (love you lentils!), but also the right amount of flavor from a Parmesan rind and fresh lemon thyme.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped into rounds
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14-ounce can tomatoes with juice, seeded and chopped (or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ cup lentils
  • 1 chunk Parmesan rind
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • ½ cup small pasta
  • Garnishes: lemon thyme, grated Parmesan


  1. Over medium heat in a large pot, add onion, carrot and garlic with oil. Cook and stir until everything is tender for about five minutes.
  2. Add in tomatoes, turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the lentils with chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add Parmesan rind and bay leaf and reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add salt and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  6. Add pasta and cook until pasta is done.
  7. Top with more cheese, black pepper, salt and lemon thyme. Serves 6.
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Carlene Thomas, RDN, LD
Carlene Thomas RDN, LD, is a food photographer and recipe developer in Northern Virginia. She and her husband work full time on their business and social media platforms, Healthfully Ever After, where they work with companies to tell their story through food visuals including stop motion, photography and video. In the dietetics world, Carlene is the current President of the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Read her blog,, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.