Featured Recipe: Ham and Lentil Soup with Garlic Country Toast

Copyright Linda Gassenheimer

This thick and hearty soup made with ham, lentils, and tomatoes takes only 30 minutes to make and is a great way to brighten up a winter evening.  It’s a whole meal in one bowl. Soups and casseroles are great family fare, but usually take too long to make for a mid-week meal. This quick meal fits the bill.

This is the type of meal that you can improvise with if you need a meal in a hurry and haven’t been to the supermarket.  Here’s what I keep on hand for quick dinners. Chicken broth, canned tomatoes and canned beans are staples in my pantry.  Also, I normally have onions, celery and carrots in the refrigerator.   If you don’t have basil leave it out and add any fresh greens you have in the refrigerator.


This meal contains 558 calories per serving with 18 percent of calories from fat.




1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup frozen chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 pound honey smoked deli ham, (cut into one thick slice and then 1-inch pieces)

2 cups low-sodium canned diced tomatoes

1 1/2-cups water

3/4 cup dried lentils

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 2 minutes.  Add garlic and ham.  Saute 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and water.  Bring to a rolling boil and slowly add the lentils so that the water continues to boil.  Cover with a lit and boil gently, 20 minutes.  Add the cumin and vinegar.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in basil.  Makes 2 servings.



2 teaspoons olive oil

2 large slices whole grain country bread

1 garlic clove, cut in half

Spread oil over bread and rub cut edge of garlic on top.  Place under a broiler or in a toaster oven for several minutes or until bread is golden.  Makes 2 servings.



Nutrition Information

HAM AND LENTIL SOUP:Per serving: 447 calories (11 percent from fat), 5.3 g fat (1.2 g saturated, 3.1 g monounsaturated), 12 mg cholesterol, 32.4 g protein, 66.0 g carbohydrates, 26.2 g fiber, 551 mg sodium. GARLIC COUNTRY TOAST: Per serving: 111 calories (46 percent from fat), 5.6 g fat (0.9 g saturated, 3.5 g monounsaturated), no mg cholesterol, 3.6 g protein, 11.8 g carbohydrates, 2.0 g fiber, 110 mg sodium.

Shopping List

To buy: 1/4 pound honey smoked deli ham, 1 small package dried lentils, 1 bottle ground cumin, 1 small bunch basil, 1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes, 1 bottle balsamic vinegar, 1 package frozen chopped onion and 1 loaf whole grain country bread.

Staples: Olive oil, garlic, salt and black peppercorns.




Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints:

  • Canned whole tomatoes can be used instead of diced, break them up with the side of a spoon as they go into the saucepan.
  • Toast can be made in a toaster oven or under the broiler.


  • Start soup.
  • While soup simmers, preheat broiler and make toast.
  • Complete soup.