Learn how to make easy slow cooker lentil ham soup using leftover ham and a variety of vegetables for an economical, healthy meal. It’s a great way to use a leftover ham bone (ham hock), but if you don’t have a ham hock, no worries. No crock pot? You can also make this simple recipe on the stovetop as well. Ready for a delicious slow cooker lentil ham soup recipe? Read on!
The Slow Cooker Lentil Ham Soup Backstory
I love to make soup with leftover ham bones, and one of the easiest soups to make is lentil ham soup in the slow cooker. When I graduated from college, my parents gave me a basic cookbook. One of the recipes was lentil sausage soup, and I adapted it to work with ham as well. I used to make split pea soup with a ham bone, but my family finally let me know that they didn’t care for split pea soup. It reminded me of the story in the James Marshall children’s classic, George and Martha. If you’re familiar with the hilarious tales about the two lovable hippos, remember when George became so sick of eating Martha’s split pea soup that he poured it into a very unexpected place? If you haven’t read the book, you are in for a treat. In fact, I went back and re-read the book before writing this post. But, I digress. If you are in search of a fabulous and easy recipe for lentil ham soup in the slow cooker, you are in the right place!
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Health Benefits of Lentils
Is lentil bean soup good for you? According to an article on the Medical News Today site, lentils have a wide variety of health benefits. Lentils are high in fiber, folic acid, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The fiber found in lentils can decrease high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Are lentils good for losing weight? As with other high-fiber foods, lentils can help a person feel more full after a meal. I like to use lentils in soup recipes because they cook faster than other types of legumes, such as pinto beans or split peas.
Lentil Preparation Tips
Do lentils need to be soaked before making soup? Lentils do not need to be soaked before using in soup. It is a good idea to pick over the lentils to check for small stones, though. You certainly can rinse lentils before using them in a soup recipe, but a visual check and careful sorting are fine as well. For this lentil ham soup in the slow cooker, I usually just do a visual check when I am measuring out the lentils in a measuring cup. What happens if you don’t rinse lentils? Some people like to rinse lentils and other legumes before cooking to make sure there are no stray pebbles, but rinsing is not necessary. How much does one cup of dried lentils make? One cup of dried lentils makes about 2 and 1/2 cups of cooked lentils.
Equipment Needed for Slow Cooker Lentil Ham Soup
Ideally, you will want to have a 6-quart crock pot (slow cooker) to make this lentil ham soup as easy as possible. A crock pot like this one would be perfect.
If you don’t have a crock pot, a large stock pot like this would work as well. I like the clear lid on this one, which is similar to the stock pot I use for soups.
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Lentil Ham Soup
2 cups dry lentils
2 cups chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups beef broth (or 8 beef bouillon cubes combined with 8 cups of water)
1 14.5 ounce can tomatoes, cut up
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon thyme or oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 cut chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery (optional)
1 ham bone or 1 pound chopped ham
Directions for Slow Cooker Lentil Ham Soup
The directions for this recipe are very simple. Put the ham bone (ham hock) in the crock pot (slow cooker) or chop up the ham and add it to the crock pot. Chop up the onions, carrots, and celery, if using. Add the chopped vegetables to the slow cooker. Mince the garlic cloves and add to the crock pot along with the rest of the ingredients. Set the slow cooker on low heat and let the soup cook for six to eight hours. If you are using a ham bone, just before serving, take the bone out and set it in a bowl to cool. Remove any remaining meat from the bone and return the meat (not the bone) to the slow cooker. The meat on the bone (if any remains) should come off quite easily. It’s a great way to get every last bit of value from leftover ham. Be sure not to eat the bay leaves.
Easy Lentil Ham Soup in the Slow Coooker
- Slow cooker
- 2 cups dry lentils
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups beef broth or 8 beef bouillon cubes combined with 8 cups of water
- 1 can tomatoes, cut up 14.5 ounce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon thyme or oregano crushed
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped optional
- 1 meaty ham bone or 1 pound chopped ham
- Put the ham bone in the crock pot (slow cooker) or chop up the ham and add it to the crock pot.
- Chop up the onions, carrots, and celery, if using. Add the chopped vegetables to the slow cooker.
- Mince the garlic cloves and add to the crock pot along with the rest of the ingredients.
- Set the slow cooker on low heat and let the soup cook for six to eight hours.
- If you are using a ham bone, just before serving, take the bone out and set it in a bowl to cool. Remove any remaining meat from the bone and return the meat (not the bone) to the slow cooker.
Directions for Lentil Ham Soup on the Stove Top
Lentil ham soup can also be made on the stovetop. The lentils cook more quickly than other legumes, so the soup can be prepared after work if necessary. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large stockpot on the stove. Follow the directions above for chopping the ham (if not using a ham bone) and vegetables. Add the vegetables to the oil and cook until softened, but not browned. Add all of the other ingredients, including the ham bone, if using. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 35-40 minutes. Before serving, remove the ham bone (if using), remove any remaining meat from the bone and return the meat to the stockpot. The bay leaves should not be eaten, but may remain in the soup pot to continue adding flavor.
Lentil Cooking Tips
Can you overcook lentils in soup? Sometimes, lentils do get mushy in soup. How do you cook lentils so they are not mushy? If you prefer firm lentils, add the lentils later in the cooking process, about 30 minutes before eating. The soup has to be boiling in order for the lentils to cook properly.
How long Can Lentils be Stored?
Why are my lentils still hard after cooking? Why are my lentils crunchy? If your lentils are hard or crunchy after cooking, they have probably been stored too long. I have never had this happen, even with large bags of lentils that have been stored in the pantry for a year. Different sources list one year as the maximum storage time, others advise storing for no longer than two to three years. That’s a huge variation in answers. To be safe, stick with the one-year maximum, and you should have no problems with crunchy lentils that refuse to soften when cooking.
What is Bad About Lentils?
Do lentils give you gas? That is one unfortunate side effect to eating lentils. Lentils do tend to make some people gassy. How do you avoid gas after eating lentils? One way is to take an over-the-counter product like Beano, which contains an enzyme that aids in the digestion of foods like lentils.
Without going into great detail, I can testify that Beano is effective when taken according to the directions. It really does help alleviate the problem. What happens if you eat lentils every day? Well, you might just need to stock up on a supply of Beano.
Other Crockpot Lentil Ham Soup Variations
I’m always a fan of getting some extra vegetables into meals, even if I have to sneak them in. To pack in additional vegetables you could add kale to make a slow cooker ham lentil and kale soup. You could add some crumbled bacon pieces on top of the soup to make slow cooker lentil soup with bacon. Toss in a quarter cup of dried split peas for split pea and lentil soup with ham in the slow cooker. There are many possibilities!
What Goes Well with Lentil Ham Soup?
Cornbread is a terrific side dish to serve with lentil ham soup. This soup also pairs well with dinner rolls. A nice crusty loaf of French bread would be a tasty accompaniment. If you are on a low-carb diet, a tossed salad is a great option.
Other Recipes to Warm You Up
Interested in other cozy, comfort food recipes? Try these!
- Easy Cola Chicken Recipe with 4 Simple Ingredients
- Raclette: More than Just a Meal, It’s a Fun Family Activity
- Easy Curried Turkey
- Easy Ham and Potato Hash
- Easy Thai Curry Chili
Are You Excited to Make Lentil Ham Soup in the Slow Cooker?
This delicious slow cooker lentil ham soup is calling my name. If you decide to try this easy crock pot lentil ham soup recipe, I’d love to see pictures. If you do make this recipe, take a picture and tag me on Instagram! I’ll feature the photo in my Instagram story.
More Meal Inspiration
It’s always nice to have a plan when it comes to meals. If you’re looking for a way to get more organized with your meal planning efforts, I’ve got something for you. Free, editable meal planners! The templates can be used over and over, as often as you need them. You can make as many duplicates as you like, and you’ll be able to save old meal plans for future reference. I hope it simplifies things for you.
If you would like even more recipe ideas, consider following my Easy Recipes board on Pinterest. Have a fabulous day, and enjoy making lentil ham soup in the crock pot!