Today we are continuing with our Abruzzo recipe series, where we share traditionally plant-based dishes from Abruzzo, Italy. We are hosting a vegan/vegetarian retreat there this October (there are still a few spots left!), and we’ve been having a ton of fun researching local, plant-focused recipes for our menu. Our co-host and Abruzzo local, Anna, learned this recipe from Nonna Aida (pictured below while carefully sorting lentils) from the village of Santo Stefano. Nonna Aida, who has since passed away, cooked this soup over the course of her whole life, so this is a solid, time-tested, and absolutely delicious recipe.
I think that lentil soup was the first intentionally vegan dish I ever prepared. It’s so good at showcasing the simplicity and flavor that is 100% possible in the world of plant-based cooking. This particular lentil soup recipe is magical, because it almost seems too easy with the quick preparation and small amount of commonplace ingredients it requires, but the result stopped us in our tracks with its big flavor. It’s nourishing comfort food at its best, perfect for any time of year.
Abruzzo, and specifically the small mountain village of Santo Stefano (with around 100 residents) is famous for their locally grown lentils. The lentils thrive in that particular part of the Apennine Mountains, and they’ve been cultivated there for over 1000 years. A few years ago, the lentils even became part of the Slow Food Presidia, which is an organization that helps protect rare crops and traditional processing methods around the world. We’ll be staying in Santo Stefano (in this amazing hotel) for part of the retreat, so our guests will get to taste the famous lentils and this lentil soup, prepared with all local ingredients. Meanwhile, we can all enjoy it at home with this recipe :)