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Vegetable Lentil Soup is the hearty and healthy meal you need when the weather outside is frightful. Lentils are high in protein, iron and thiamin to keep you going strong all winter long. This basic combination of vegetables and lentils can be changed dramatically with the use of different herbs, spices and the addition of meat.
Ingredients for Vegetable Lentil Soup:
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup zucchini, diced
1 cup white onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup lentils, rinsed
1 – 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce
4 cups water
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1-3 tsp favorite spice or herb blend* (such as cumin, chili powder, Italian herbs)
salt & pepper to taste
*I used 3 teaspoons cumin, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and the juice of one lime for the soup depicted here.
Season: By changing the seasonings of this “base” soup you can change the flavor. For this version, my inspiration was Tortilla Soup. I garnished with a little sour cream for richness.
Serving: This recipe makes about 9 cups soup. Since this is a large amount, you may want to divide the soup before seasoning if you are planning on leftovers. Make two or three varieties so you don’t get bored. Lentils (and vegetables) will absorb liquid so adjust broth and seasoning before serving and after reheating.
Variations: Try Italian herbs and ricotta cheese or chili powder and raw onions. Try ginger, chili and sesame oil. Start with a teaspoon of an herb or spice, taste and adjust. Add mushrooms, spinach, potatoes or even a fried egg on top.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a heavy soup pot and heat to medium. Add diced carrot, zucchini, onion, celery and red bell pepper to the pot and saute until onions are softened and zucchini have just started to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic. Add cans of tomatoes and sauce and stir. Add the lentils and combine. Add water and broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and cover. Allow to cook and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until lentil are of desired tenderness. Stir in desired seasonings, herbs. Serve piping hot and enjoy.