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Lentil and Veggie Soup

Posted Oct 11 2010 12:00am

Fall is here and a warm, hearty soup is the perfect (and healthy!) comfort food. I love preparing a soup on Sunday afternoon and letting it simmer for a few hours – it’s an easy dinner for the evening, a few days worth of lunch for the week, and it makes the house smell divine.

This lentil and veggie soup is a nutritional powerhouse – combining the nutrients, protein, good carbs and fiber in lentils with the antioxidant power of veggies. Use this recipe as a guide and method to making lentil soup, and add any herbs, spices or veggies that you’d like.

Green Lentils (a.k.a. French Lentils) are a sturdy lentil and hold up well to a long cooking time. They will cook through but retain their firmness after about 45 minutes of simmering in this soup. Red lentils are much softer and will yield a “mushier” soup if you prefer that texture. I tend to stick to the green lentils in soups.


Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 min
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart organic vegetable stock (or organic chicken stock)
  • 1 cup purified water
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, cut in half, one half finely chopped, the other half left in tact at the root end
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large carrot (or 10 baby carrots) chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional for heat)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp course black pepper

Recipe:
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the chopped onion, carrot and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes (if using), salt* and black pepper to the pot. Stir and let cook another 3-5 minutes, until the mixture is well combined and very fragrant. Meanwhile, rinse the lentils until the water runs clear and pick out any debris that may be in the lentils. Add the bay leaf, stock and water to the pot and bring to a full boil; add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium low. Add the tomatoes and onion half**, then simmer for one hour before serving (see below). Remove and discard the onion half and bay leaf before serving.

If waiting longer than one hour to serve, leave the soup pot on the oven but turn the burner to the lowest setting. You can leave it on the stove for 2-4 hours.

Optional: Add a handful of chopped greens, like spinach or kale, to piping hot soup a few minutes before serving for even more nutrients and fiber.

*The amount of salt you need will depend on what type of stock you use. Start with one teaspoon and add more to taste if desired.

**Adding the onion half to the simmering soup will add a lot of flavor without adding the texture of tons of chopped onion in your soup. You can also chop the entire onion and add it if you really love onions, or just peel and half the onion and leave both haves in to simmer and discard them if you don’t care at all for the texture of onions.

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