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Lentil Soup with Ground Beef and Brown Rice

An easy and tasty soup made from ground beef, lentils, and brown rice.

Lentil Soup Recipe with Ground Beef and Brown Rice from KalynsKitchen.com

(This post was updated with step-by-step photos and better photos of the finished soup in March 2012; the recipe was first posted in 2007.)   I originally made this soup on a day I was too sick to go the store, and I don’t think there’s anything that tastes as good or as comforting as soup when it’s cold outside. The weather in Utah has been so mild this year that we’ve only had a few days that were soup weather, but on one of those days I made this soup and enjoyed it that night for dinner.  I have a few containers in the freezer now for those snowy days I’m sure are still going to come.   I did add some balsamic vinegar to the finished soup this time, and I loved the way it perked up the flavor so I’m updating the recipe to add that.

A lot of the good flavor here comes from the homemade beef stock and homemade chicken stock I always try to have in the freezer, but I think even if you had to use canned beef broth and chicken broth this would still taste pretty good.   Use the low salt version if you used canned broth, and don’t be in too much of a hurry and shorten the simmering time, because that’s another step that builds in flavor. Lentils are just the type of low-glycemic “good carbs” the South Beach Diet is built around, and this soup uses the kind of ingredients many people always have in the house, so it might become one of your favorites.

Heat a small amount of olive oil and cook the ground beef until it’s nicely browned.

Heat a tiny bit more olive oil and saute the onions and celery until they’re starting to soften.  Then add the garlic, dried thyme, ground cumin, and dried parsley and saute a couple of minutes more.

Add the vegetables to the soup pot with the ground beef and rinse out the frying pan with 2 cups water and add to the soup.  Add beef stock, chicken stock,lentils and chopped carrots and let the soup cook at a very low simmer for about 60 minutes, or until lentils are tender. 

When the lentils are tender, add a more water if needed and then add the rice and cook 30-40 minutes more, or until the rice is done.  Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, stir in balsamic vinegar if desired, and serve hot.

Lentil Soup with Ground Beef

And here’s the original photo from 2007, not bad at all considering most of my photos at the time.

Lentil Soup with Ground Beef and Brown Rice
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn to use what was in the house when she was too sick to go to the store!)

1 lb. lean ground beef (use beef with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
2 tsp. olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 T minced garlic or garlic puree (or less if you don’t like garlic as much as I do)
1 T dried parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
4 cups homemade beef stock (or use 2 cans beef broth, low sodium recommended)
2 cups homemade chicken stock (or use 1 can chicken broth, low sodium recommended)
2 cups water, plus more as needed
2/3 cup brown lentils
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup brown rice (I used Uncle Ben’s whole grain brown rice, which I really like)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T balsamic vinegar (optional, but it adds a lot of flavor)


Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in heavy frying pan, add ground beef and cook until meat is well browned, using a turner to break up into small pieces. Remove meat to heavy soup pot.

Add another tsp. olive oil to frying pan and add onions and celery and saute 3-5 minutes, until vegetables are starting to soften. Add garlic, dried thyme, ground cumin, and dried parsley and saute 1-2 minutes more.

Add vegetables to soup pot with meat, and rinse out frying pan with the 2 cups of water and add to soup pot. Add beef stock, chicken stock, lentils, and chopped carrots to pot and cook at a very low simmer about 60 minutes, or until lentils are quite soft. Taste soup and decide whether to add a small amount of water. (There should be quite a bit of liquid, and the broth should be flavorful but not too strong tasting. If there isn’t very much liquid or broth seems too strong add more water at this point.)

Add brown rice and continue to simmer soup 30-40 more minutes, or until rice is done but still a bit chewy. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper (I did not add salt.)   Stir in balsamic vinegar if desired.   Serve hot.

This soup freezes well.  You may need to add more liquid when the soup is reheated, because some will be absorbed by the rice.

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South Beach Suggestions:
If you’re a South Beach Dieter, be sure to use low fat ground beef and brown rice, which would make this a good choice for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. I ate my soup with toast made with South Beach friendly 100% whole wheat bread.

Lentil Soup Recipe with Ground Beef and Brown Rice from KalynsKitchen.com

More Great Lentil Soups To Try
(Recipes from other blogs may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Lentil and Sausage Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Herbs from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spicy Sausage, Lentil, and Tomato Soup from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Steve’s Lentil Soup (Inspired by Farmgirl)
Hearty Lentil Soup with Smoked Sausage from Farmgirl Fare
Greek Lentil Soup from Healthy Green Kitchen
Ethiopian Inspired Red Lentil Soup from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Ham and Lentil Soup from Andrea Meyers
Rosemary, Lentil, and Tomato Soup from A Wee Bit of Cooking
Red Lentil Soup with Garam Masala from Sassy Radish
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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27 comments on “Lentil Soup with Ground Beef and Brown Rice”

  1. I hope you’re feeling better soon Kalyn. I’ve never understood how anyone could call it the common cold because there never seemed anything but miserable to me.
    The soup looks just great for a cold or even a healthy day.

  2. Hope your cold works its way out of your system soon. I love this soup, with or without the meat.

  3. This looks heartwarming, Kalyn. Get well soon.

  4. This sounds fantastic! I know that doing this would jeopardize the South Beach Diet friendliness of the soup, but could the carrot be replaced by a diced potato or sweet potato?

    I hope you feel better soon!

  5. Thanks everyone. I am staying home from school today and hope I feel well enough to go tomorrow. I am a bit better, but not great.

    Rachel, you can use sweet potato instead of carrots for South Beach and it would still be phase 2 or 3, but white potatoes would not be South Beach friendly. Great idea, I’m having a real thing for sweet potatoes right now.

  6. Oh, this looks wonderful heartwarming. It is a cold evening here in France and how I wish I could just have someone place this in front of me right now?

  7. I live soup when I have a cold. I remember many times, leaving work sick, but stopping on the way home to get soup fixin’s!
    And the lentils – I made lentil and meatball stew last night!
    Hope you are feeling better! What bad luck to have wasted a nice holiday being sick!

  8. I hope you are feeling better. This soup looks really good. I’ve never had lentils with beef, only vegetarian or with ham. I’ll have to try this!

  9. Generally, I am not a soup person but of late I’ve been seeing some exceptional soups around and yours is no different.

  10. “yours is not different” – meaning that yours is just as exceptional 🙂

  11. I have learned to love lentils since being in Peru. Before moving here, I don’t think i had tasted a single one! I will have to give this soup a try before summer gets the better of me! Feel better!

  12. Oh dear – hope you feel better soon… And isn’t it wonderful how comforting soup can be when you’re not feeling well? This looks nourishing and not too rich – perfect!

  13. Ok, this is the 2nd recipe from you that I have tried (stuffed peppers last Friday) and another keeper for me. Its very good, I adore your blog! Thanks so much for sharing such wonderful fare!

  14. Glor, thanks for taking time to let me know. I always love to hear that people are enjoying the recipes!

  15. had some lentil chili for lunch today!! I can't get enough of them lately!!

  16. Becky, I understand it because I'm completely crazy about lentils!

  17. I have a lentil soup recipe that everyone just loves…Ahem…except for the problem it can cause a few hours after eating it.

    When I saw this recipe, I thought this might just be the answer because while lentils are present, they're not THE main ingredient.

    And sure enough, it's been a winner. My husband absolutely loves it, and it is almost always on the list of soups when I have a soup making marathon. 🙂

  18. Too funny Kalyn! I visit Seattle and find this soup on the table! So good.

  19. Tanna, that is too fun! Hope everyone enjoyed it!

  20. I really want to make this soup but all I have is chicken broth. Think it would work? Or any ideas how I could fix it? I do have some Beef boullion, but I am afraid it would make it taste too artificial.

  21. Emily I'd probably use mostly chicken broth with just a little bit of beef buillon. I think that will work.

  22. Thanks. I thought of one more question. Covered or not while simmering?

  23. Uncovered, just as shown in the photos.

  24. We swapped the ground beef for ground turkey and added a package of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained). My husband says this may be his new favorite food! Thank you for the great recipe!

  25. Yvette, so glad you guys enjoyed it!

  26. Yummy! You have such a way with spices – I never would have thought of thyme and cumin together. I got called away during preparation so I threw it all in the slow cooker and it was great. Thanks as always!

  27. Thanks Amy; glad you liked it.

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