Italian Lentil Soup for Good Luck on New Year’s Eve!

Why do Italians eat lentil soup on New Year’s Eve? My research shows that it goes back to the Romans. Lentils were offered as a gift to friends and family on New Year’s Day. The symbolism is that coin-shaped lentils grew as they cooked, representing prosperity and luck in the new year.

In Italy, lentil soup is served after midnight. Can’t stay up that late? Have an early dinner or make it on New Year’s day and enjoy abundance and prosperity in the new year!

Here is a vegetarian version, warm and toasty. Serve with a nice loaf of Italian bread, buttered and sliced. My mouth is watering! Add a side salad and you have a full meal.

Other notes from Cooking Classy: If you’re not vegetarian, chicken broth can be substituted. Don’t want to stand over the stove? Put everything but kale and zucchini in a crock pot on low. Add kale and zucchini and let cook for another 30 minutes. You can also substitute the veggies in the recipe with whatever’s in your fridge!

Italian Lentil Soup with Vegetables


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots (3 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onions (1 medium)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 4 (14.5 oz) cans vegetable broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups dried brown lentils , rinsed and picked over
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups diced zucchini (1 medium)
  • 2 cups packed chopped kale or spinach
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Parmesan cheese , for serving (optional)


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. 
  • Add carrots and onions and saute 2 minutes then add garlic and saute 2 minutes longer. 
  • Pour in vegetable broth and tomatoes. Add in lentils, basil, oregano, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add in zucchini and kale and simmer 10 minutes longer, if using spinach wait to add it until the last 2 minutes. 
  • Stir in lemon juice and add up to 1 cup of water to thin as needed (as the soup rests the lentils soak up more of the broth). 
  • Serve warm with parmesan cheese if desired.
Photo by Alesia Kozik on


Recipe compliments of Cooking Classy. Get more photos, tips and more information here:

Please let us know how your soup tastes and what changes you made!

Happy New Year!

Angela DiCicco

The Italian Grandmama

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