Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Zesty Lentil Soup

My lentil soup gets a lot of play in this house, and a lot of praise wherever it goes!

It is such an easy recipe and tastes so fabulous that I thought I'd share it here. Served alongside my homemade bread (did I post that recipe yet?) it is a perfect, nutritious meal.

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. Italian Seasoning (or combine oregano, basil, and parsley)
3-5 dashes cayenne powder
1 large bay leaf
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups dry lentils, rinsed (any variety of lentils. I combine 3 varieties)
1/3 c. raw quinoa, rinsed (optional but kicks up the nutrition and thickens the soup)
6-8 c. water or stock (stock is better)
1 c. fresh spinach, sliced
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic vinegar to drizzle and serve (MAKES the dish!)

I clean and roughly chop my veg and then throw them in the food processor to get a very fine chop, and then I puree the tomatoes.

Throw all but the last 4 ingredients into a 4-quart crock pot. Cook on high for 2 hours, then low for an additoinal 4-6 hours. In the last 1/2 hour of cooking time, add your sliced spinach and lemon juice and zest. Salt and pepper the soup to taste. When serving, drizzle the Balsamic vinegar (we use a yummy pomegranate-infused Balsamic) over the soup. Enjoy!!!

This is a very easy recipe to double and serve a crowd or put away in the freezer for another day, which I just love to do! This is a very healthy meal, but don't let that turn you off. Even if you don't like lentils or THINK you don't like lentils, this could change your mind.

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