One-pot Lentil Soup

Simplicity is essential when it comes to mealtime. I’ve always been drawn to easy-to-make recipes that have few ingredients, take a short time to prepare and cook, there’s little cleanup, and provide leftovers. When I stumbled upon a one-pot lentil soup, it became a household staple.

We’re also a vegetarian household. My oldest daughter has been a vegetarian for almost three years now, and my youngest followed suit about a year ago. I’m a “sometimes vegetarian.” My girls are an inspiration. At first, however, I was challenged to make sure they had nutritious meals, so I started pinning vegetarian recipes to find easy meals to rotate into our weekly repertoire.

This one-pot lentil soup isn’t an original recipe but I’ve doctored it up enough to perhaps call it my own.

Before we get to the ingredients, here a tip about lentils: soak them by placing them in water for at least one hour. You can soak them overnight for up to eight hours. If you choose to soak overnight, I would suggest pouring them into a bowl and covering with water just before you go to bed, then in the morning, drain the water and put them in the fridge until you begin cooking.

Here are the ingredients from the actual recipe that appears on hubpages.com:

Ingredients

– 4 Tbsp Olive Oil

– 1/2 cup chopped carrots

– 1 large onion chopped

– 6 cloves garlic chopped

– 2 ribs celery chopped

– 1.5 cup lentils

– 1.5 tsp dried thyme

– 1 – 28oz can diced tomatoes

– 4 cups vegetable stock

– salt and pepper to taste

My girls don’t care for diced tomatoes, so I use tomato sauce. I also toss in some diced red and yellow peppers instead of carrots and celery, and sometimes I actually use garlic powder if I don’t have fresh on hand. I do use vegetable broth, for obvious reasons, but if you’re not vegetarian, you could use chicken broth. I also try and use organic as much as possible.

So here’s how simple it is to make one-pot lentil soup:

Cut and chop the onion, garlic and vegetables (Note: you can do this in advance. Typically, if I’m going to put in the effort to chop veggies, I generally chop enough for several meals at one time. That way, I can quickly throw together a healthy dinner without much fuss). 

Heat olive oil and add onion, garlic, vegetables, salt & pepper and thyme. 

Sauté until vegetables are tender, then add the lentils (and a little more olive oil) to allow them to soak of the spices. 

Next add the 4 cups of vegetable stock. Sometimes I add 2 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups water. 

Then add diced tomatoes or tomato sauce. Mix all ingredients together.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. 

It does take that long to cook and it gets hot, so also allow time to cool off a bit. I usually can’t wait to taste it and pretty much burn my mouth every time I make this recipe, so be patient or be warned! 😉

You can top with a little sour cream or cheese (sort of like chili) or your favorite garnish.

The leftover part, for me, is the best actually. I use the lentil soup to make yummy tacos with cabbage and avocado. The lentil soup also makes a great topping for a baked sweet potato or even on top of cooked pasta. Since the weather is warming up, cook up a batch and pack it up for a picnic or healthy lunches for work because it’s great cold too.

Recipe disclaimer: I’m always experimenting. My recipes are NOT tested outside of my kitchen, only with my family and some brave friends! Wink, wink. I encourage you to do the same and maybe take the recipes as a starting point. Add different spices or veggies, or not. I’ve found that the key to eating healthier is to enjoy the process of shopping, preparing, cooking…then eating! It’s a joyful experience that can be shared with people you care about. Create memories in the kitchen!
Note: Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

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