Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lentil Soup is a Cold Weather Cure

It's cold everywhere, though it only dropped into the twenties here in Atlanta last night. Anyhow, for those of you looking for a healthy and warming idea for dinner tonight here is a quick recipe for lentil soup that is won't take you more than hour to fix and it is very good for you to boot. It's vegan if you use the the vegetable stock.

You'll need:
1 cup of dried lentils of any type
1 quart of chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 medium onion chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped finely
1 carrot chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
1/4 - 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes (depending on your heat tolerance)
1 TBsp dried thyme or 2 TBsp fresh
2 TBsp tomato paste or a cup of canned tomatoes chopped
2 Tbsp olive or canola oil
1 TBsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a 4 quart saucepan saute the vegetables and garlic in the oil for about 10 minutes add the stock and lentils along with the tomato paste or tomatoes and red pepper and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes at which point the lentils should be cooked but not mushy. Finish with the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some nice toasted crusty bread and some olive oil on the side for dipping the bread.

If there are only two of you, as in my case, there is some left over. If you reheat and add a cup or so of cooked brown rice you have another meal that is different and tasty as well.

Another variation is to add some cooked pasta(like orzo) to the soup for something a little more filling. Chopped fresh spinach or kale( a couple of handfuls) is another good addition.

If you don't have any dried lentils then think about a couple of cans of chick peas(garbanzos) or other beans. Just rinse them first and a bonus is, you only have to heat them for ten minutes or so. Dinner in under 30 minutes.


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