The Ingredient Ina Garten Adds To 'Wake Up' Lentil Soup

Who's excited for soup season? When the autumn temperatures take on a chilly edge, there's just something so comforting about a deep bowl of hot soup — preferably spooned down while wearing some flannel pajamas and sitting near a fireplace. Whether your soup of choice is a hearty minestrone loaded with white beans and vegetables; a sweet, creamy roasted tomato soup; a classic chicken noodle soup; or one of the hundreds of other variations out there, it's hard to resist soup come fall and winter.

The love of a good soup is something Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, appears to share with us mere kitchen mortals. The beloved cookbook author, cooking show host, and doyenne of entertaining lists plenty of soup recipes on her website, ranging from a robust Italian Wedding Soup dotted with chicken meatballs to a bright green Spanish Pea Soup With Crispy Ham — and she also has a recipe for Lentil Vegetable Soup.

A touch of red wine vinegar brightens the earthy flavor of lentil soup

If you love cooking with lentils, you already know that the protein-, fiber-, and mineral-rich legumes (via Healthline) tend to have an earthy flavor that can sometimes taste a bit one-note. For that reason, it's often recommended to add an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar to them once they're cooked, whose brightness can help lift the legumes' flavor (via

That's a strategy employed by Food Network cooking show host Ina Garten, who adds a slip of red wine vinegar to her hearty lentil soup featuring green lentils, leeks, and tomato paste. When testing recipes, Garten told Delish, she's "not just looking for the flavor and the texture. I'm looking for some edge that kind of wakes everything up." In the case of this lentil soup, she explained to the outlet, she felt the soup was nearly there, but was "kind of missing something. I just wandered to the refrigerator and pulled out some red wine vinegar and added just a splash to the huge pot. And that was it." 

So the next time lentil soup graces your stove, do as Garten does and hit it with some red wine vinegar (In a lentil soup of her own, Martha Stewart advices adding just a spoonful).