Lentil Soup Recipe
Even if you are not familiar with using lentils in your cooking, you will find this lentil soup recipe an easy and tasty addition to your menu plans. Although it is called a "soup," it is really more like a stew, with its hearty consistency that will satisfy hunger for a longer period of time than a broth-based soup.
Lentils are one member of the legume family that does not need to be soaked before cooking. They are inexpensive, come in several varieties and are a good source of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
This soup is also very versatile.
-You can experiment with the seasonings. (I added the turmeric when I found out how good it is for you, but it is optional to the recipe.)
-I sometimes add a 10 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables as a way to increase the nutritional value and get some servings of vegetables into the meal.
-You can replace half or all of the rice with rinsed red or white quinoa.
-If you have fresh tomatoes from the garden, you can puree them, skins and all to replace the tomatoes and tomato paste in this recipe, or you can blanch them and use them instead of the canned diced tomatoes.
-You can use fresh garlic or a pinch of garlic powder or leave it out if you prefer. Garlic will add more flavor to the soup, but you may prefer a blander version.
A head or bulb of garlic usually contains about 10 cloves. 1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped garlic = 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes = 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic = 1/2 teaspoon garlic juice
Lentil Soup Recipe
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 cup brown rice (uncooked)
1 can tomato paste (optional - for more tomato flavor)
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon good quality salt
1 teaspoon dried basil* or several fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric** (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper*** (optional)
4 cups vegetable stock or water
Optional additions: fresh or frozen green beans, carrots, mixed vegetables.
Instructions for Lentil Soup Recipe:
(1) Sauté onions, pepper, and garlic in olive oil.
(2) Add lentils and rice and enough water for cooking. (6-8 cups)
(3) Cover and simmer until lentils and rice are soft.
(4) Add remaining ingredients and enough vegetable stock or water for desired thickness.
(5) Simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally and serve.
(6) If refrigerated promptly, this soup will keep well for up to a week in the refrigerator and may be frozen.
*Basil is a green, aromatic herb widely used in its sweet form for flavoring foods. It appears to have originated in India and is frequently used to flavor tomato-based dishes. Basil is the main flavor in pesto sauce and may aid in digestion. It is easy to grow in a kitchen herb garden and may be protective against some pests in your garden. Basil is a very good source of Vitamin C, A and K as well as, many minerals.
**Turmeric has a warm, spicy flavor and it enhances the flavor of the soup, but you can leave it out and still have a great soup.
***Cayenne pepper adds a bite, the size of which depends on how much you add.