Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Recipe: Lentil Soup

Hi Friends!

What a weekend in Ohio. Saturday late afternoon the snow came down and pounded on us! We took the kids out for dinner, locally and getting there was not fun! We slid everywhere! The drive home was slow and slippery!

Sunday the sun came out and we had 39 degrees as a high temp and all that snow melted away. It was warm enough that I got all my Christmas decorations taken down, packed and lifted into the attic and I was wearing running pants and a t-shirt! 

First thing this morning! Snowing strong! Can't believe all snow melted yesterday!
This fine Tuesday morning we woke up to complete covering of snow again! About 1 inch per hour and lots of wind and when you live in the country like I do wind means 1 thing, snow drifts. My kids school was closed so I will work from home today to keep an eye on them.

So, lentil soup....

I love it personally. I think the look of the lentils might put off some folks, but lentils come in different colors with different purposes for cooking. I like to use the green or brown lentils for soup, the basic lentil sold in the grocery. Lentils are so good and full of fiber. I like to make this soup and take for lunch for about a week. Besides lentil soup being low in fat and high in fiber, it is cheap to make.

Ingredients are pretty basic and you can add or take out whatever you want. I use herbs like basil and oregano or rosemary and thyme, it depends on what I am in the mood for. This last batch I used basil but was out of oregano so it was not a big deal. That's what I like about this soup you can customize it.

I bought carrots chips and diced them instead of cutting up a whole carrot, this reduced my prep time a lot. I diced the onion, sliced the celery, and quartered the mushrooms. You can use chicken broth, but I use vegetable broth. You can use 1/2 broth ad 1/2 water or you can use all broth, it's really a personal choice.

1/4c olive oil (I never use this much oil)
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1-2 cups mushrooms, quartered or sliced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dry oregano  (or thyme)
1 tsp dry basil (or rosemary)
1 bay leaf
14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 c. lentils
4 c. water
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth, plus 1-2 c. extra broth
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee carrots and onion in olive oil over medium heat. Add celery and mushrooms once onion and carrots have started to soften. Add garlic and dry herbs once onion is tender.

Stir in diced tomatoes with juice, lentils, water, and broth. Boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 1 hour or until lentils are tender. 

The soup will cook down and the lentils will expand reducing the amount of broth left in the soup. If you want more broth add an extra 1-2 cups of broth (based on your preference for broth). Let simmer an additional 5-10 minutes.

Optional - Some people like to add fresh spinach or kale to their lentil soup. When soup is ready to serve you can add in about 1/4 -1/2 cup of thinly sliced spinach or kale, let it cook until it wilts, add a little vinegar about 1-2tbsp. I don't do this because I don't want the spinach or kale and vinegar in the pot, but I may try it some time in a bowl of the soup.


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