Did you know that Lentils are eaten on New Years Day by many Italian Families? Do you know why? Well this greenish tasty legume resembles a coin like appearance…when they plum up during cooking it symbolizes growing wealth. They are also considered to be good luck in Hungary so it is a popular meal at the beginning of the New Year. I want to share many family recipes with you this year along with all kinds of recipes…explore all different cuisines and flavors so why not start with a Good Luck Pot of Lentil Soup. I have a dear friend Keren who adores lentils and I have been telling her for just about 2 years that I will get her my recipe for lentil soup …I am very very embarrassed to say that I have not done that but today on the first of a new year…I am keeping my promise …yes Keren …I actually measured everything and wrote it all down. You see I usually just cook…you know what I mean …no measuring …weighing…etc…so when someone asks for the recipe it is just not all that easy to do …well I am going to work at that! So today I am bringing you and Keren a delicious, basic Lentil Soup that you can personalize any way you would like…but this recipe is a perfect start. Bon Appetit and may Luck be with you always!
This is a hearty Italian Comfort Food…just add a piece of crusty bread and a salad and Dinner is served!
The yummy blend of tomatoes…lentils…olive oil…carrots…celery…garlic…scallions…potatoes…mushrooms…herbs & spices and of course some pasta and cheese make this soup simple delicious! Basic lentil soup does not have the mushrooms & potatoes but I chose to add them in today. That is the great thing about this soup…if you have some zucchini on had…corn…yellow squash…spinach or any other of your favorite veggies…you can add it in there!
The whole pot cooks in less than an hour and the veggies are perfect and the little lentils are plumped up but not mushy…the soup is sooooooo good and sooooooooooo good for you! Wow are lentils a great source of protein.
So now for the easy recipe that once you try…you will be making often. This pot serves 8 or more! It is healthy…time efficient and cost effective! Plus when it is stored in Mason Jars it lasts a good week in the fridge and it is very freezer friendly. My family loves it and I hope yours does to! So let’s get cooking!
1 pound bag of rinsed lentils
8 nice size carrots diced
4 large stalks of celery diced and include the green leafs
2 large russet potatoes or your favorite kind (optional)
12 ounces of baby bella’s or white mushrooms
6 cloves of slice or minced fresh garlic (did you know if you blanch your garlic it helps prevent it from burning : )
2 full bunches of scallions greens and whites (I have a confession to make…I don’t like regular onions…nope…not at all but I do like scallions…their flavor is much more pleasing to me so I use them instead of onions…but feel free to use one large onion in place of the scallions if you like…I still recommend the scallions but the onions will work fine.
salt to taste…pepper to taste…crushed red pepper to taste…a tablespoon of Italian Dried Seasonings or you can use fresh if available…fresh basil…rosemary and thyme are wonderful but you add them about 5 minutes before the soup is done…a teaspoon of each finely chopped…by they way…I add the dry and the fresh…more flavor is a good thing.
12 cups of good veggie broth
5 tablespoons of olive oil
two 15 ounce cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes or one 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes in their own juice chopped or if fresh tomatoes are in season about 5 nice size tomatoes dice or a full container of grape or cherry tomatoes (if you want to add more than that…feel free)
6 ounces of small tubular pasta…ditalini…elbows…whatever you would like. I cook it separately and save a cup of the pasta water in reserve. That way if the soup needs a bit more liquid the pasta water is perfect. I add the pasta after the soup is done…I like to do that because many times the pasta sucks up a lot of the broth but you can add it during the last 10 minutes of cooking if you would like…it is still fabulous! Time to COOK!
Use a large soup pan. Heat up your olive oil and saute your scallions and garlic for a few minutes and then add each of your diced veggie to the mixture…coating and stirring everything up. Add some salt and pepper and stir again. Add you lentils and stir once more. Time to add your tomatoes and stir. Add a little bit more salt now…remember…by adding a little bit of seasoning at a time your are layering and creating a much more intense flavoring process! Once you have everything in there all combined…add your 12 cups of good veggie broth…stir in your dried herbs…bring to a boil…stir and then lower flame to a simmer…cover and simmer for 50 minutes. If you like your veggies really soft…add some more cooking time…if not everything should be perfectly cooked in the 50 minutes. If you choose to add the pasta during the cooking process…remember…add it about 40-45 minutes in or you can pre-cook it and add it at the end.
Time to ladle the soup into your bowls…garnish with a little drizzle of olive oil…fresh rosemary and of course your favorite grated cheese! It’s a healthy meal in a bowl that is filling and leaves you feeling all warm and cozy! Please remember…you can change this recipe up by adding veggies you have on hand or would really like in there. It is a very forgiving recipe that will always turn out great if you just give it the basics and then your touches! Remember if you like a soup with a lot of broth you just might have to add a bit more at the end! You will know. Now for some crusty bread…a yummy salad or not…whichever way you choose you are going to love it!
May this recipe bring you much luck in the New Year…I know for sure it will help you in the healthy eating category…the budget friendly zone and oh yes…it is yummy in the tummy too!!!! One thing is for certain …this year I will be sharing many more recipes with you! All kinds from Italian to Asian…from Greece to Mexican and everything in between. I promise to try to make them Quick & Easy…well pretty Quick & Easy! I will also be sharing some of my favorite cook books with you …desserts and much more…hope you come along for the ride!