When I was about 23 or 24 I discovered that I adored lentil soup. Or I discovered that I really LOVED canned lentil soup (specifically Amy’s, it’s my favorite). Then about 2 years ago I tried making lentil soup in a crockpot, since they were all the rage. It bombed. It tasted like dirt, which I’ve realized is kind of not a good thing. So I chucked the whole lot of it and vowed to never try it again. But then I was perusing pinterest one day and found a supposedly easy lentil soup that used red lentils. Well I figured if it promised to be easy (and it did) then I would give it a go, but use the lentils I had on hand, because I’m not made of money. And the first time, it wasn’t bad. The lentils cooked (which really didn’t happen the first time) and the seasonings were okay. Granted I didn’t use broth, stock or bouillon (it’s verboten in my home) so it tasted a little weak, but still, not bad. But you can’t really put a “not bad” soup on a blog. Or at least you shouldn’t. So I tried it again but made a few modifications: I used my food processor to slay the vegetables instead of my knife, and oh my what a difference it made. The pulverized vegetables gave off so much more flavor then the diced ones did. PLUS I added more carrot and less onion, which might sound strange but it works for me. I also only add water which might sound gross but it actually doesn’t taste gross, so there’s that. But this time my husband and I tried a new stock:
Check it out- unsalted chicken stock!! It has sooooo much less sodium in it that I appeased my salt-weary husband. Score!
And I changed up the recipe even more: I skipped the celery. Truthfully I’m sure the celery might make a bit of difference in terms of bulk and flavor BUT I hate buying celery because you have to buy the whole thing and I only want a few sticks. We never eat the rest. So it went out. And I might have used less onion. We only had like a quarter of an onion left so I used what we had. But all my recipes are choose-your-own-adventure based so really you can do whatever you like. But here’s my original recipe plus some suggested modifications. Adapted from here.
Veggie Lentil Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large carrots, diced
2 large ribs celery, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 pound lentils
4 cups unsalted broth or water
2 – 3 more cups water
1 whole bay leaf
2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1/2 large lemon (optional)
In a food processor or blender chop your vegetables, all together- as small or big as you like. Heat a large pot and the oil on medium heat. Add the veggies and saute for a few minutes, occasionally stirring. Add the broth/water and extra water. Add the lentils and bay leaf and bring to a boil. When a boil is reached turn the heat down and cover. Let simmer until the lentils are cooked through and tender (can take anywhere from 20 – 40 minutes depending on the heat and how much you want the flavors to meld).
Take off the heat and if you want, add lemon juice. Take out the bay leaf, because they don’t taste good. Then enjoy.
Tip: This also makes a great freezer meal. Just ladle into a Ziploc container or baggie and store in the freezer until you find a day you really don’t feel like cooking and you really want a healthy meal.
And my husband, who doesn’t particularly care for soup (I don’t know how we ended up together sometimes), LOVES this soup. So, I win.