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Ham and Lentil Soup

Ham and Lentil Soup

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This soup is rich and filling. Serve it with crusty bread and a salad.MORE+LESS-


lb dry brown lentils, rinsed and picked over


large sweet onion, finely chopped


cups diced ham (such as spiral ham)


sprigs thyme, tied with kitchen string

Salt and pepper, to taste

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  • 1

    Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Stir well.

  • 2

    Turn the slow cooker on high and cook for 6 hours.

  • 3

    Taste to check seasoning and salt and pepper as needed.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • After my success with the pulled pork, I couldn’t wait to use the slow cooker again. In fact, it was washed and ready to go right after dinner (that never happens in my kitchen). So this weekend, I decided to use some leftover ham up in a tasty slow cooked Ham and Lentil Soup.We love lentils, and I almost always have a pound or two in the cabinet. Add in some chicken stock, onion, water, garlic and herbs, and we were ready to go with a filling, easy soup.Again, the Oval Stay or Go Slow Cooker by Hamilton Beach (provided to me by Tablespoon) cooked it perfectly. The lentils were tender. The flavor was rich and perfect. Everyone raved – and there wasn’t a drop of soup left to save. High praise, folks.This time I also got to test out a special feature on this slow cooker – special clamps that hold the lid down so that you can cook up a recipe (like Ham and Lentil Soup!) and take it over to someone else’s house without spills.Naturally, I was apprehensive about spillage. The last thing I need is for my car to smell like lentils for the next month. Fortunately, the clamps help the lid on tight for the whole ride. But then, how can they not? These aren’t itty bitty clamps – they are attached to the pot and hook into special nodules on the lid. It’s really well-designed.I think next time I need to try the low setting on the cooker – so far we’ve only used high. Can low work as well too?

    • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 1/2 cups diced smoked ham
    • 2 teaspoons dried savory
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
    • 3 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
    • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
    • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with roasted garlic
    1. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ham, savory and mustard and stir until ham begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add 3 cups broth and lentils and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices simmer uncovered 2 minutes. Add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin soup, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

    Recipe Summary

    • 1 pound dry great Northern beans
    • 8 cups water
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 ham hock
    • 1 cup chopped carrots
    • ½ stalk celery, chopped
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 cups chopped ham
    • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper

    Rinse the beans, sorting out any broken or discolored ones. In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and the beans and remove from heat. Let beans sit in the hot water for at least 60 minutes.

    After the 60 minutes of soaking, return the pot to high heat and place the ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mustard and bay leaves in the pot. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 more minutes.

    Remove ham bone and discard. Stir in the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season with ground white pepper to taste.

    Lentil Soup and Ham Stock 1 or 2 leftover ham bones 1 large carrot, washed peeled, and cut into 2″ lengths 1 medium onion, quartered 1 celery stalk, washed and cut into 2″ lengths enough water to cover ingredients in pot by about 2″

    Ham Stock Directions

    Place all ingredients in soup or stock pot and fill with enough water to cover everything by about 2″. Place over medium heat. When water starts to boil, reduce heat to low. Cook at the softest, lowest simmer your stove will go for about two hours.

    As the stock simmers, skim off foam and if liquid level gets too low, add a little more water.

    Allow stock to cool slightly, then pull bones and large vegetable pieces out of stock with tongs. one of my favorite things to do is pull off every last shred of ham from the bone and eat it, along with the super soft vegetables, which are nearly flavorless because all the flavor has been leached into the stock. I don’t care. I love it.

    Pour the stock through a sieve into a storage container to strain out the rest of the solids. You can use the stock as is, or cool, chill overnight in fridge, and remove hardened fat the next day. Don’t freak out — there will probably be a thin layer of fat and the stock underneath will be gelatinous.

    Lentil Soup

    Lentil Soup Ingredients

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 large carrots, chopped
    2-3 cloves finely minced garlic
    2 cups dried lentils, rinsed **
    pinch of dried oregano
    2 quarts ham stock (or any other stock for that matter)
    2 teaspoons kosher salt

    ** note ** When I rinse dried lentils, I place them in a large bowl or pot, cover with water, swirl several times with clean hands, then drain off water, repeating a few times. (If you’re Asian it’s the same method as washing white rice.) I don’t really trust putting lentils into a colander and rinsing them under running water as this doesn’t let any “lighter” things float away from the lentil.

    Lentil Soup Directions

    Heat olive oil or medium heat in a large soup or stock pot. Add chopped onions, carrots, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent and carrots have begun to soften.

    Add the lentils, dried oregano, and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender, checking by tasting at about 30 minutes. If the liquid level gets too low as it simmers, add water or additional stock.

    Reviews ( 34 )

    I made this exactly as written, except I used 4 c of homemade ham stock and 1 c of chicken stock. I used green lentils and red Swiss chard. It looked lovely and was just delicious. My husband is a "hot sauce on everything" guy, but he didn't want to this time because the flavors were just too so good. It's a little more time consuming than it looks, but it's worth it, especially on a cold rainy night.

    I made a larger pot with varied amounts of all the ingredients. I was out of bay leaves, will definitely add them next time. Still a wonderful hearty stoup!

    I have not been a huge lentil fan, but this recipe is delicious! I added precooked lentils in refrigerator case at Trader Joes and reduced broth to about 1 1/2 cups. Followed the suggests for using tomotoes with green chilies and added hot sauce to pot at the end and topped with shaved Parmesan. Wonderful! Will make again.

    It's certainly a hearty stew but I thought that it could use a bit more oomph - perhaps a dash of hot sauce as someone else suggested.

    Relatively quick and easy stew with delicious and hearty results! Prep is a breeze and the recipe comes together easily. Perfect for a week night. Certainly if you're not already a fan of lentils this dish won't be the one to win you over, but for the rest of us, it is really quite good. I have used both regular lentils and French green for this. I Prefer using swiss chard as it hold ups well to the liquid and doesn't break down too much. I add extra broth too. Note: the longer any type of legume has been on the pantry or grocery shelf, it will require extra cooking time.

    I've been meaning to try this recipe for years and am so glad I did! I used some leftover Christmas ham, subbed red lentils because they were on hand, used fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles for extra kick, and per another great reviewer tip, served with grated parmigiana on top. I also used some gorgeous organic SC collard greens, which I've never used before but I love the way they taste and wanted to try cooking with them. Easy to clean and prepare, and hold color and flavor well (baby spinach would've gotten too mushy), I put them in with the lentils and carrots since I knew they need longer cooking time. I made the stew last night and served today for lunch so flavors could blend - a hit with the DH and teenaged son. Will definitely put in the soup/stew rotation!

    What to do with leftover ham?

    Just like I think no Easter dinner is complete without a ham, no weeks following Easter are complete without some homemade leftover ham recipes! Obviously my family’s favorite way to use leftover ham is in a hearty leftover ham bone soup, but the possibilities don’t stop there. Here are some of our other favorite ways to use it:

      – the perfect dish for the morning after Easter! – get another great family dinner out of your leftover ham! – we love this as a breakfast OR as a dinner!

    Need some more soup inspiration? Here are some Real Housemoms tried and true favorites!

    Tools used to make this Leftover Ham and Lentil Soup recipe

    Stock Pot: I love making soup, so my stockpot gets TONS of use!

    Soup bowls: How gorgeous are these? I use them for cereal, soup, and so many other yummy meals!

    Related Video

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    Red Lentil Soup with Ham and Curry

    When I was growing up we never went out to dinner. With six kids I can imagine it would have been prohibitively expensive but more than that I can imagine my parents did not anticipate it as fun trying to corral all of us in a restaurant. Thankfully my mom was a good cook…though in retrospect I realize she really did the basics a lot. I can assure you that red lentils were never in our pantry!

    Spaghetti, meatloaf, fried chicken and grilled hamburgers made their way onto our table with regularity as did fish sticks every Friday night that I can remember. In the winter it would be casseroles, roasts or soups and I remember those soups. Chicken with Dumplings, Split Pea Soup, and Brown Lentil Soup. I love them all still and make them much in the same way my mother did all those many years ago.

    But the truth is some soups aren’t very pretty and can be hard to photograph so I’ve never bothered putting my brown lentil soup recipe on the blog. Then I discovered some red lentils. They are so pretty! Really more orange but still a far cry from a dirt brown color. This Red Lentil Soup with Ham and Curry made the grade and it’s a delicious and easy one too.

    I had just seen someone post about a white bean soup she had made using a ham bone left over from the Honey Baked Ham she had served for Christmas dinner and it made me want some soup. BAD. I recall thinking that it sure would be nice if I could just purchase a ham bone from them and not the whole ham you know, just to make soup.

    It hit me right after saying that I wonder if you can? I knew that Honey Baked Hams also sold sandwiches wouldn’t that result in a leftover ham bone too? I thought it worthy of a phone call and to my complete delight, they do!

    Not kidding…I was dressed and in the car within 15 minutes of that phone call and back home in a half hour with some canned white beans and a ham bone chock full of meat that had cost me $2.25 a pound. Can you say score?

    I only used half of the ham on that bone for the white bean soup so started to think about what else I could make. That bag of red lentils in the pantry were now crying to me. I took the easiest route possible with this soup. Overnight in a crockpot…another SCORE!

    Note: I made this soup years before I had an Instant Pot it would be a great candidate for that kitchen appliance too!

    Lentils fall apart much quicker than larger beans so the overnight cooking really did turn them and the veggies into a smooth and less chunky soup but I’m glad I did it. The ham fell off the bone and it was tender and so flavorful. And simple.

    Beyond the basics of carrots, onion, celery, stock and beans was some curry. Some good curry. Some oh my that is fabulous curry. The only minor negative? That initial moment when I woke in the morning and smelled something unfamiliar. There was a moment of huh? What? Oh yeah, that. Whew.

    Talk about an easy and super delicious soup this is it. And not having a ham bone is no excuse I even hear that Safeway sells them so I’m betting my new and fabulous discovery is old hat to some of you. WHY didn’t you ever tell me?

    Can I make the stock ahead of time?

    Absolutely! We often make the stock ahead, then freeze it in zipper seal bags until we’re ready to make our lentil soup.

    One last note: Don’t be scared off by the number of ingredients listed in the recipe below. Many of the same ingredients are used more than once – first in the broth, and again in the soup itself – and we listed them separately just to make the recipe easier to follow.

    You may enjoy these other Lentil recipes:

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    Ham and Lentil Soup

    • Author: Heather McCurdy
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 12 hours
    • Total Time: 12 hours 10 minutes
    • Yield: 6 - 8 servings 1 x
    • Category: Dinner
    • Cuisine: Soup


    • 1 Ham Bone
    • 8 cups water
    • 2 tablespoons dried portabellos
    • 1/2 tsp . black pepper
    • 2 cups diced ham
    • 2 cups lentils
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 1 TBS. dried parsley
    • 2 medium carrots, diced
    • 1 stalk celery, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, diced
    • 1 pinch crushed red pepper


    1. Put ham bone, water, onion, and garlic in slow cooker overnight (or 8 hours on low).
    2. Remove ham bone.
    3. Add diced ham, lentils, vegetables, spices, and herbs.
    4. Slow cook on high for 4-6 hours.

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    About Heather McCurdy

    Heather McCurdy writes at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond where she shows families how to slow down and savor life on any budget with tasty homemade recipes and family travel.