Jul 29, 2010

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup: protein + flavor + easy/fast assembly = Fantastic Meal!

It’s Thursday: you’re tired, it’s been a long week, you’re ready for the weekend, you’re starving but you also have no desire to stand in a kitchen for long periods of time (especially when it’s already 90+ outside) and make yourself dinner. If this is you on a Thursday night, you’re not alone! But I have the perfect solution for you and that is lentil soup for dinner! It is honestly one of those one pot wonders I love to put together and it could not be any easier to throw together! You chop up some vegetables, pour in tomatoes, rice, lentils and broth, shake some spices into the mix and let it cook away! You can sit, rest your feet and let your kitchen start smelling delicious!

Here’s what you’ll need for your super fast and yummy meal!


(Makes enough for 2 dinner portions and a lunch portion for the next day! Also, I should note that some of my measurements are going to be rough estimates because I don’t exactly measure but go off of taste for this soup. Trust your taste buds and scent for this soup! )

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1-1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • low sodium chicken broth (2-3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup dried pink lentils, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by heating up your olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once warm, add the onion and garlic and let them soften up a bit (about 3-5 minutes) until the onions become translucent. When ready, add in the celery and carrots, along with the cumin and curry powder. I like to cook the vegetables with the spices so that they get a chance to absorb some of that flavor before all the liquid is added. Cook the celery and carrots for another 5 minutes or so and then pour in the can of tomatoes. No worries about the juices: We want all of it! Stir things around a little bit with a wooden spoon an allow all the flavors to incorporate. Your kitchen should already be smelling pretty good at this point!

Vegetables cooking: onion, garlic, celery and carrot.

Once things start to really come together you can pour in the chicken broth. It’s hard to give an exact measurement for this because you want to cover everything in the pot and then some. If you don’t add enough at first, you can always add more later, depending on how much broth you’d like in your soup. With the broth added, it’s time to pour in the brown rice. This is going to take 15-20 minutes to really cook all the way (if your rice isn’t already previously cooked) so with the rice added, I partially cover the pot. When you feel that your rice is almost done you can go ahead and add your lentils. It’s extremely important to rinse and drain the lentils. Make sure you take out any small rocks that may be present (don’t need to break a tooth!) and keep rinsing them in a strainer until the water isn’t murky anymore. Once the lentils are in, that’s your time to put the soup on simmer and prop your feet up! Your hard work is done and now it’s up to all the flavors to come together and make your lentil soup come to life!

It's hard to tell, but the rice and lentils really are in there! It just needs to cook down a bit!

I let the soup cook for about 15 minutes after I add the lentils. The pink lentils cook down really fast and you’ll see that they almost start to break apart. If I were serving the lentils as an actual side dish, I would keep a very close watch on them so that they cooked just before they broke down. However, in this soup, I personally don’t mind if they break down a little. It still looks and tastes great!

As promised, your lentil soup is done fast but is still delicious! It really doesn’t require much work after you have your veggies chopped up; the rest is just throwing it all in one pot. Easy clean up as well, which after a long day is another added bonus! After a long day at work, I’m a firm believer in the idea that you shouldn’t cut yourself short on good, nutritious meals. Your body is screaming for it while you’re brain is also telling you it’s done for the day. I’m not saying you should go in the kitchen and make a culinary feast but I promise you can make something homemade, something delicious and something that will re-fuel your body in no time! Minimal cooking, minimal clean up but you’ll get a huge bowl of delicious lentil soup out of it! For now, that’s lentil soup…in the shell of a nut!

Lentil soup for two with some homemade breadsticks!

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