How To Make Trader Joe’s Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains Recipe at Home

As the calendar turns later into the year, thoughts naturally begin to turn toward soup. Soup is not only warming for the home or apartment on chilly days of late fall, but it provides a meal that can often be readily frozen for later consumption on workdays in the office or weekday nights. There’s just something about lentil soup, and the experience is only enhanced by making it convenient.

What’s Joe Got To Do With It?

Trader Joe’s is one of the retail world’s kings of convenience food. The San Francisco-based grocery chain specializes in inexpensive, ready-to-heat meals that at worst are no worse than other convenience meals, but at best bring the comfort and heartiness of a home-cooked meal into the convenience of a microwave or oven portion.

Trader Joe’s house-branded groceries and convenience foods are a timesaver and a lifesaver for harried adult professionals, especially where kids are concerned.

For families experimenting with meatless cooking, flavor is a critical component. Without the savory, penetrating flavors that meat brings to a dish, and without the addition of unhealthy amounts of salt, spices have to do most of the heavy lifting in a vegetarian dish to bring new flavors to the party.

Especially where kids are concerned, something new needs to be done with potentially unhealthy levels of cajoling.

This is again where Trader Joe’s comes in. Trader Joe’s soups are convenient in cans, tetra packs and tubs. Because their recipes are both flavorful and wholesome, Trader Joe’s soups are a convenient way to speed up the process of getting kids adjusted to a less meat-heavy food style.

One of the most recent additions to the pantheon of Trader Joe’s soups is their Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains, a recipe that can be simply and rapidly adapted to being made from scratch. The home kitchen remains the best option for feeding kids, and getting them used to eating home cooking can ingrain habits that will keep them fed well for a lifetime.

Trader Joe’s Lentil Soup With Ancient Grains

Trader Joe’s blog describes their Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains as, “a whole lot of flavor [in] one tub, thanks to a satisfying blend of lentils […] in a savory broth.” A thick and tasty soup that goes readily with a baguette or other crusty French bread, Trader Joe’s Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains is a great convenience food that tastes close to homemade.

Why only taste close to homemade when homemade is almost as easy and far more economical? None of the ingredients in Trader Joe’s lentil soup are rare or expensive.

While Trader Joe’s Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains is inexpensive at only $3.50 for a container, you can make it at home with relatively few adjustments. Cooking show host/teachers from Julia Child to Alton Brown have made lentil soup a daily staple for aspiring home cooks as well.

For the authentic Trader Joe’s experience, a loaf of Trader Joe’s organic baguette and a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck complete this soup as a hearty, earthy meal. With organic veggies and lentils, this soup can be attractive, good for you and good for the planet.

Great Vegan Cooking

With simple ingredients, this lentil soup has the additional earthy benefits of garlic. With three ancient grains; quinoa, amaranth, and millet, it has a hearty bite. Pre-soaking the mix of grains and lentils for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, is a must.

This is a recipe that needs a good day or more of prep time, and as such, anyone who needs a quick soup fix should plan otherwise. There are soups, even vegetarian soups, that are conducive to quick preparation. Lentil soup isn’t one of them.

Freeze Babies Rejoice

Lentil soup is famous for freezing well, and this soup is no different. Like any lentil soup, this version can freeze comfortably for three months or more and only needs to be defrosted to be a delicious lunch or supper at any time. Thawed lentil soup is a delight any time.

Make It A Meal

This hearty soup needs no additional ingredients to make a filling meal on its own. However, if you are serving for a crowd, want a texture contrast from the soup or just need to stretch out your ingredients a little, a crusty bread, especially a French baguette, will prove to be a wonderful addition.


  • ¼ of a large onion, minced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups brown or green lentils, rinsed and soaked 4 hours up to overnight
  • 1/4 cup each quinoa, amaranth, and millet, rinsed and soaked with the lentils
  • 3 bay leaves
  • OPTIONAL: Kale, collard greens, or a small bunch of spinach, chopped finely.
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Soak lentils and grains at least 4 hours in salted water. Optionally, soak them overnight, which will result in a more tender final soup. Once soaked, rinse the lentils and grains in just enough water to cover. Drain the lentil-grain mixture and discard the rinse water.
  2. Preheat a large Dutch oven, 6-8 quarts. In this Dutch oven, sweat ¼ of a chopped onion and 4-6 cloves of garlic in olive oil or butter until softened and fragrant, 1-3 minutes.
  3. Once soft and fragrant, add the carrots and celery and sweat until they also begin to tenderize, 4-6 minutes. To the aromatics, add the tomato paste, cumin, marjoram, thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, and onion powder. Increase heat to medium-high and stir until tomato paste is beginning to lightly caramelize.
  4. Add broth, lentils and grains, add bay leaves. Once the broth reaches a boil, reduce and simmer for at least 45 minutes. The grains will tenderize more with a longer simmer time.
  5. OPTIONAL: During the last 15 minutes of cooking time, add two handfuls of your favorite greens, finely chopped, for additional color and texture.

You can also read:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *