This leftover ham bone lentil soup is one of the tastiest soups we’ve ever had! So much flavor packed into one bowl. YUM!

If you have a leftover ham bone, this soup is a must-make. And if you don’t have a leftover ham bone, run to the meat or butcher section of your friendly grocery store and grab a ham hock. It’ll work just as well.

Lentils can get a bad rep for being a little, well, boring. But rest assured that there is nothing boring about this soup. It is hearty, wholesome, and packed with flavor.

stone bowl with ham bone lentil soup and veggies

Ham Bone or Ham Hock

The flavor foundation of this recipe comes from a leftover ham bone. Or, you can also use a ham hock.

The ham bone (or ham hock) simmers in the soup for close to an hour imparting a smoky, delicious, depth of flavor that is amazingly delicious.

After removing the ham bone, I like to pick off the little bits of ham and add them back into the soup. But even without doing so, the long lasting flavor of the ham bone has already done its job.

cooking ham bone lentil soup with ham bone, vegetables, and adding sausage

Optional: Sausage

This leftover ham bone soup recipe also calls for cooked, sliced sausage. I prefer using chicken sausage for flavor and leanness, and I like to brown it in a skillet before adding.

You can leave the sausage out for a simpler, more homestyle lentil soup.

My family of four teenage boys appreciates the oomph of the added sausage. 🙂

ladle lifting up scoop of lentil soup with sausage and veggies

While this lentil soup probably isn’t going to win any awards for looks (let’s be honest, lentils rarely do), it should not be discounted.

I serve this with fresh easy peasant bread, and my family can not stop raving. Even the most hardy of lentil-skeptics in our group think it is fantastic.

Those humble little lentils absorb all the amazing flavors of the veggies, aromatics, seasonings, ham, and sausage. Healthful and hearty, this soup is incredible.

Bonus: leftovers freeze amazingly well! (You may need to add additional broth to thin after thawing and reheating.)

stone bowl of leftover ham bone lentil soup with veggies

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spoon lifting up small scoop of lentil soup in stone bowl

Amazing Leftover Ham Bone Lentil Soup

5 stars (17 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion (1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup diced celery (2-3 ribs)
  • 1 cup diced carrots (2-3 medium carrots)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth (I use low-sodium)
  • 1 pound brown lentils (about 2 1/4 cups), rinsed and picked through/small debri and stones removed
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 leftover ham bone or smoked ham hock
  • 1 pound Italian chicken or pork sausages (fully cooked), sliced or chopped

Instructions 

  • In a 6- or 8-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, parsley, thyme, garlic, and crushed red pepper (if using), and cook, stirring often, until the veggies start to soften, 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the broth, lentils, bay leaf, and the ham bone or ham hock (it may not be fully submerged, that's ok). Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and continue to simmer for 45-60 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and moderate the heat if you need to.
  • While the soup cooks, brown the sausages with a bit of olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat (optional: you can leave the sausages out entirely or throw them in the soup without browning but I like the flavor and texture from browning them first).
  • Remove the ham bone, and if desired, pick off any pieces of ham and add to the soup with the browned sausage. Heat through.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper (this is important! Additional salt is not included in the recipe to account for varying saltiness in different varieties of ham and broth, so make sure to add to taste or the soup may be bland).

Notes

Salt: make sure to add salt to taste at the end of cooking. Depending on the ham bone or ham hock used, you may not need extra salt. Because I use low-sodium chicken broth, I add a pinch or two of coarse, kosher salt.
Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 347kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 38mg, Sodium: 759mg, Fiber: 15g, Sugar: 6g
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Recipe Source: adapted from this recipe (cut out some of the fussy directions, used a ham bone instead of a ham hock, increased vegetables, etc)