Well, around here we are back to soup weather! It has been cold, blustery and even a little snowy lately. Perfect weather for one of my favorite vegetarian soups. This recipe makes for a healthy, hearty and flavorful dinner. I love Lentils because they are a health powerhouse and are easy to prepare. You don’t have to soak them like other legumes and they have a short cooking time. Lentils have a high level of protein, and they also contain dietary fiber, Folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods. Lentils are also one of the best vegetable sources of iron. Small French green lentils give this soup a nice texture, but regular brown or pink lentils work just as well. It is great! And by the way, this recipe freezes well too. So, in my case, I can have this delicious soup for lunch instead of the PB &J with the kiddos!
Tuscan Lentil Soup
submitted by Melanie
*recipe adapted from the book Flip the Switch
1 pound small French green lentils, rinsed
7 cups vegetable broth (I use chicken broth)
1 bay leaf
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 small cup pasta (try whole wheat)
8 oz spinach, chopped
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
freshly ground black pepper
fresh Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, combine the lentils, broth and bay leaf. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for approximately 45 minutes, or until lentils are just tender.
In a small skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, but not browned. Set aside.
Bring a med saucepan of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 5 minutes, or until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
Add the sauteed vegetables, spinach, tomatoes (with juice), and parsley to the lentils. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the pasta and season with the salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf. Ladle in bowls, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!