Every New Year's Eve my grandmother makes a fresh pot of lentil soup to share with the family. She believes that a few lentils before midnight will bring health and good fortune in the coming year. So given the New Year holiday, we thought we would share a simple recipe for lentil soup.
Not only is this recipe delicious, but it's a base to which you can add any number of wonderful ingredients. In the mood for something exotic? Try adding some classic Moroccan cooking spices like cumin, coriander, and cardamom. There is also no limit to the number of vegetables that work well with this delightful soup. So if you're looking to clean out your fridge before the new year, pull out your veggies, cut them up and throw them in. Some of our favorites are bell peppers, dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, beet greens), tomatoes, mushrooms and sweet potatoes.
Have fun and be adventurous. Most of all, have a wonderful and happy New Year!
1 medium onion chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 stalks celery chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup fennel chopped
9 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1 lb lentils
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Additional salt and pepper to taste
Rinse and pick through your lentils.
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add cut vegetables and a pinch of salt. Sauté until onions are glassy, about 5 -7 minutes.
Add lentils and mix until lentils are coated. Pour in vegetable stock and bay leaves. Mix ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower temperature, cover and allow to simmer for 40 minutes, or until lentils are soft.
Remove from heat, discard bay leaves and serve.
Healthy Benefits: Lentils are an excellent source of protein and fiber. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals like folate, iron and potassium, making them an excellent food option for pregnant and nursing moms. They are also heart healthy, help lower cholesterol and have virtually no fat. By adding in some of your favorite vegetables, the nutritional value of this soup skyrockets.
Adding Spices: Once you have sautéed the onions, carrots and vegetables, add your additional spices. Fully coat vegetables and allow to warm until aroma forms. Then continue with the recipe.
Adding Vegetables: Most additional vegetables can be added at the same time you add the vegetable stock and bay leaves. Vegetables like leeks, fennel and garlic should be sauteed along with the onions, carrots and celery.
Freezing: This soup freezes beautifully so don't be afraid to make double and put it in your freezer for a cold and rainy day or just a delicious lunch.