Can you believe that the school year is half over? It seems to me that it just started, but our new semester began today. Last Friday was a work day for teachers, and also the day of our second annual Soup Swap/ Luncheon. All morning you could smell simmering goodness coming from crock-pots plugged in throughout the building. It made doing report cards just a little bit easier knowing that the aromas wafting through the halls were previews of what was to come once lunchtime rolled around! While we watched the snow coming down outside, we relaxed and enjoyed a wonderfully diverse assortment of delectable soups, breads and desserts.
My contribution this year was a Hearty Lentil Soup. Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse, packing 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber in just one cup! There's less than one gram of fat per serving and absolutely no cholesterol in this heart healthy legume. What I really love about lentils is that they don't need to soak before cooking, which makes them a great choice for dinner when you haven't planned ahead of time. (Not that I'd know anything about that.) Most of your "hands on" time is just a bit of chopping, and then you can sit back and relax while the lentils simmer. Or you could use that time to make some homemade tortillas-a perfect accompaniment to this dish that's as easy on your heart as it is on your pocketbook. :)
recipe adapted slightly from Alton Brown
2 Tablespoons olive oil (I used 1 tablespoon)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons kosher salt (I used less than this.)
1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed-I used the regular brown lentils for this soup
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes (I used 1 can of diced tomatoes.)
2 quarts broth, vegetable or chicken (I used low sodium)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise- I did not have this spice, but I substituted a mixture of black pepper, cardamom and ginger.
- Heat olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven, over medium heat.
- Add onions, carrot, celery and salt and "sweat" until the onions are translucent, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add spices and cook one more minute, stirring
- Add lentils, tomatoes and broth and stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 35-40 minutes or until lentils are tender.
- Use a stick blender and puree to desired consistency.