UCookbook: The busy student’s soup

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion (white or yellow), diced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced (or buy pre-minced garlic and use 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (or meat broth if you prefer).
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Tamari
  • About 3 cups any pre-cooked, canned vegetables of your choice (E.g., carrots, peas, tomatoes, yellow wax beans, beets, etc.)
  • 1 ½ cups lentils (any kind, cooked), rinsed and drained
  • 3 handfuls spinach or other leafy green like kale or chard (about ½ a bunch)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: cumin, thyme, paprika, chili flakes, or hot sauce for some added flavor or heat


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the diced onion and let cook for about 10 minutes, adding in the minced garlic during the last 2 minutes.
  3. Add the broth and soy sauce.
  4. Add all the vegetables and lentils (drained) and the fresh leafy greens. Let these cook for about five minutes at a simmer (medium low heat). The greens will soften, and the other ingredients will warm up and mix together.
  5. Gently stir and add salt, pepper, and spices/herbs to your liking.
  6. If you want more liquid, just add more broth. The recipe serves about six—keep leftovers covered in the fridge.

Want to make a totally fresh version?

  1. Add the raw, thinly diced vegetables with the onion, and simmer for about 10 minutes, adding the fresh garlic cloves in during the last 2 minutes.
  2. When you add the broth, increase the amount to four cups. This will allow the raw vegetables and lentils to soak up some of the liquid as they cook.
  3. Next, add the raw lentils. Be sure to drain them after soaking them. Cover the pan and bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Lentils take about 20–30 minutes to cook. If you want to reduce the cook-time for the lentils, pre-soak them before you make your soup. Leave them sitting in some water for a few hours or overnight, then drain them before you start cooking.
  4. Lastly, add the leafy greens and any spices/herbs!

—Submitted by Franklynn B. University College London and Yale University

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