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VEGETABLE LENTIL SOUP. . . getting back in the groove

Posted Jan 05 2013 4:35pm
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So, it's time to check in on how the Simply Maintain = No Gain challenge for the Holidays.  How did it go?  Did it work for you?  Actually, for about the first time in my memory I did not gain my normal 3 - 5 Holiday pounds.  I'm not really sure why.  I was a little more conscience of my meals and treats.  I did not have the "I have to have this treat because it's going to go away forever" mentality.  If I wanted it, I had it and forgot about it.  I knew there would always be more available.  That really helped do away with the sweet cravings that I normally have.  I also stayed active during the entire time.  My week off between Christmas and New Year's was full of fun, friends and food but also active.  I think these all came together this year in a good way.  

That being said, I still like to begin the new year in a healthy way and get back into a good routine.  If you are feeling a little "full" or sluggish after so much heavy and decadent food, I have a perfect meal for you.  (It's also rather chilly outside so that makes it even better!) 

VEGETABLE LENTIL SOUP

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups brown lentils
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 oz. baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. dry sherry
  • 2-oz. piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Directions:  Pick over the lentils and discard any misshapen lentils and grit. Rinse well and drain.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrot and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.

Stir in 6 cups water, the lentils, tomatoes, soup base seasoning, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the lentils are very tender, about 20 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, uncovered, until the spinach is just wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sherry.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and use a vegetable peeler to garnish the soup with shavings of the cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

**HINT  If you have a Trader Joe's nearby they have wonderful prepared steamed Lentils in the produce section.
Adapted from a recipe by Williams-Sonoma.

HAPPY FRIDAY!  What are you doing to move today?  Have you packed all the decorations away?  That's a good workout, too!  
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