Italians Eat Lentils for New Years for Good Luck. Make this easy nuticious and vegetarian recipe all year long!

If you want prosperity and good luck in the coming year- you must eat these lentils on New Years Eve or New Years Day! It’s traditional to eat lentils at this time- although, we make this recipe during all seasons of the year. The little coin-shaped legumes supposedly bring good fortune, namely in the form of money, and, on the last day of the year, are usually served with cotechino, a soft, gelatinous boiled sausage that’s typical of northern Italy. In our home we make it with and without the cotechino. This is a vegetarian version of the recipe without meat. You can always add the sausage on top if desired.

lentils on plate with bread

Serve with my No Knead Bread RECIPE or Fast Italian No Knead Ciabatta Bread

Simple Italian Lentils start with a “Soffritto”

This humble lentil dish starts with a soffritto which is the Italian term for a mixture of chopped vegetables sautéed gently in oil. The word means “under fried”. This method creates a tasty flavor base for our soup. This process creates flavor and adds extra vegetables to the dish.

Italian Lentils in a bowl and spoon

Trust me friends, you will want to make this filling and satisfying lentil recipe. Once you do, it will be a recipe go-to!

Lentil Variety

Brown lentils are typically used to make this stew, as brown and green lentils are firm and retain their shape when cooking. Red or yellow lentils are softer and faster-cooking, with the tendency to fall apart into a thick and wonderful mush when cooked; these are better suited for soup, sauces, or dips. 

Childhood Memory…

I remember in the 7th grade when I went to my friends house to spend my first New Years away from family. I brought my little box of lentils ready to eat to keep the tradition. My friends made fun of me and asked what “in the heck” I was eating. I didn’t let their mocking get in the way of eating my lentils. I knew in my heart it was worth keeping the tradition and in the end I would be blessed with good fortune :). It never hurts to stick out like a sore thumb to keep your core values! You will never regret making the decision that makes your heart most happy.

lentils on a plate with bread

Eat Lentils all Year for Good Health…

Lentils contain a lot of fiber and protein. They are delicious topped with eggs, eaten as a vegetarian ragu, served on top of crusty bread, served on top of a green salad and more! Don’t let New Years be the only time you make these classic Italian lentils. Keep up the good luck all year around!

Health Benefits of Lentils

Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They’re also a great source of plant-based protein and fiber.

These are an all around super food you can’t miss in your diet. Another way I enjoy lentils is over a thick slice of hearty bread and a fried egg. You can make this a breakfast/ brunch item OR a tasty dinner!

Try this recipe Lentils Toast with Fried Egg Tasty lentil stew scooped over hearty bread and topped with a perfectly cooked egg are your brunch and dinner dreams! Simple, nutritious, and delicious. Don’t wait to make this. 

Italian Lentils in bowl

How to Store Cooked Lentils

Lentils are a great make ahead meal! After lentils are cooked: cover and refrigerate within two hours of cooking. Dried lentils that have been cooked can be kept covered in the fridge for 5-7 days or frozen for up to 6 months. Label with the date and store an air tight container made for freezing food. Having lentils in the freezer makes them easy to add to any meal.

The bay leaf and herbs add that extra savory flavor that make this dish hearty and delicious!

From my Cucina (kitchen) to your table!

Made with Amore, Elena

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lentils on a plate with bread

Italian Lentils- New Years Classic

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 35 min
  • Total Time: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian


Italian Lentil Soup Recipe: Simply Delicious. This hearty Italian Lentil Recipe is not only easy to make but healthy and delicious as well. One bowl is never enough!  It’s also great served in other ways! See notes…


Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) dried brown lentils
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Place the onion, carrot, and celery in a large saucepan or soup pot with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté gently on low heat until the vegetables are very soft and the onion is somewhat translucent, but not colored. Add the bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, tomato paste, and the dry lentils and 5 cups of water.
  2. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but retain their shape (this can take as little as 20 minutes to upwards of 35 minutes, depending on the lentils. I know that seems like a big time difference but all dried beans cook a little differently). Keep checking them and add more water if necessary. Add salt to taste only once the lentils are tender, otherwise they will remain tough. Stir through chopped parsley and serve as you like (see notes for ideas).


Lentils are delicious topped with eggs, eaten as a vegetarian ragu, served on top of crusty bread, served on top of a green salad and more! Don’t let New Years be the only time you make these classic Italian lentils. Keep up the good luck all year around!