We are having soup week at my house this week with the freezing temperatures. My three kids actually love lentil soup and this Hearty Lentil Soup was a hit last night. This vegetarian version is so easy and super healthy. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner with a salad and a side vegetable (or crusty bread). Lentils are low in calorie and super high in nutrition! They are great for heart health, digestive health, cholesterol reduction and more. Lentils are also high in protein with 26% of the lentil’s calories attributed to protein. Lentils are also loaded with folate, fiber and iron. Lentils need no presoaking, and they cook in less than an hour (in some cases, under 30 minutes). Of all the kinds available, red lentils cook the fastest, because they are sold with their hulls removed. But they also provide less fiber than the black, brown, or green varieties, which come with their hulls intact. To store lentils, keep them a cool, dry place, and they will stay fresh for several months. Enjoy and happy New Year!
Hearty Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
11 cups low-salt vegetable or chicken broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
1. Heat the oil in a heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes; simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme sprigs.
2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls, and serve.