It is still winter, and in my new home, The Queen City, we are expecting another snow storm this week. On days when it’s so cold, nothing is better than a warm bowl of soup. This lentil soup is inspired by a few different recipes, including this one from Dr. Weil and this posting from Mark Bittman.
You can use any mix of vegetables for this lentil-based soup, but carrots, celery and mushrooms are always a safe bet. Make sure to cook your vegetables in order of how long they’ll take to cook: carrots, celery, mushrooms.
This soup is rich with warm flavors — sauteed onions and garlic, vegetables, bay leaves, crushed tomatoes and fresh spinach. The lentils provide a thick, creamy and satisfying base. I didn’t even salt this soup because I used a salted vegetable broth.
You can garnish this with fresh herbs, green onion or goat cheese. It is also delicious with a warm, crusty bread. Stay warm, and eat soup!
Lentil Soup, inspired by Dr. Weil:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 6 mushrooms of whichever variety you choose, sliced
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 cups crushed tomatoes (28 ounce can)
- 2 cups spinach, kale or any leafy greens
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Splash of vinegar, preferably balsamic
On medium-low heat, warm olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and let them cook down for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Wash and prepare your other vegetables. Add the carrots first and let cook for about 3 minutes, then add the celery and mushrooms at the same time. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
Add the lentils and bay leaves and stir to combine. Bring heat to high and add the mixture of water and vegetable broth, making sure the lentil and vegetable mixture is covered by the liquid.
Bring everything to a boil, stir and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover the pot part way and let the mixture cook for 10-20 minutes.
On medium-low heat, add the crushed tomatoes and stir to fully combine. Cover pot completely and let cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Then, add leafy greens of your choice and continue cooking.
Add salt and pepper, plus vinegar to taste. I used a salted vegetable broth so I didn’t add any additional salt.
Turn heat off and keep pot covered. Garnish with fresh cilantro, green onions or goat cheese.