This is the time of year my cooking focuses on combining items from my pantry with the fresh ingredients of the Spring CSA share.   This soup was the result of  what needed to be used up in the fridge and was rounded out by my pantry stash.  The bonus item that was added was left over smoked ham with the bone from Easter that I had shredded and frozen.   Ham is completely optional, any other protein (chicken, sausage, kielbasa) can be substituted.  This soup is equally as delicious with even more vegetables, there will be no shortage of flavor keeping this soup vegetarian.

I love the Baer’s Best Beans we sell because of their freshness.  The beans cook evenly and that overnight soak is not needed.  Whole green lentils were used in this soup, but if another bean is preferred, adjust your cooking time accordingly.

The start to the soup was cleaning out the produce stash, onions, kohlrabi, garlic and carrots.  Celery is a nice addition if you have it, I used dried celeriac leaves from the fall.  Low sodium vegetable broth in a box was used or if you have homemade vegetable stock!   A jar or can of crushed tomatoes ( I used Farmer Dave’s crushed tomatoes that I had in my pantry) was added.  If you have any tomatoes that you froze or canned from last season left, this is a great use for them.  Spices used included pepper, cumin, coriander, and a bay leaf.  If this soup is being kept vegetarian, consider using a couple teaspoonfuls of smoked paprika.  This will add another layer of flavor that the ham would have added.  Smoked ham was added halfway through cooking in this version, so no additional salt was added.  The seasoning came out perfect.   The soup involved a bit of chopping but it provided quite a few meals, so it was time well spent.

This is a mix and match soup and is great for using up what you have.


3 TBSP of olive oil

3 cups of chopped onions

4-6 cups of cubed, peeled kohlrabi and carrots

Adjust the amount and tailor the ingredients to suit what you have – turnips would be great added in as well.

**if you have celery – 2 cups of chopped celery**

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 carton of low-sodium vegetable broth

1 – 1lb bag of green lentils

2 TBSP dried, crushed celeriac leaves (omit if using celery)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 bay leaf

Ground black pepper to taste

Ham bone and shredded ham (optional)

Rinse off the lentils in a sieve and drain.

In a soup pot on medium high heat add the olive oil and onions, cook for 5 minutes.  Add the diced kohlrabi and carrots (or any other vegetables), garlic and the spices.  Stir well and cook for about 10 minutes.  Nestle the ham bone between the vegetables, add the vegetable broth and enough water to cover the vegetables by an inch.  Bring the soup up to boil and reduce to a simmer.  Add the rinsed lentils and shredded ham and stir.  Simmer until the vegetables and lentils are cooked tender.  Remove the ham bone, cool and store.

This made quite a few lunches which I changed up by adding cooked rice and greens to warmed portions.

A variation using similar ingredients is to make a chilled lentil salad.  Saute the vegetables until tender but not too soft, smaller cuts are better for this.  Cook the lentils separately.  Cool both portions then toss with a vinaigrette.

Serve portions with rice and/or greens.