During the fall / winter season I like to cook one soup per week. It's easy to make, yummy, and tastes even better the next day. Here is another family favorite. It always reminds me of my friend Z who first showed me how to make this in my kitchen. You could substitute your favorite herbs, and serve it over rice, noodles, or potatoes. We love it simply with crusty bread. Again, soups are a great way to add more legumes to your diet.
Here's how you do it:
• 1 lb green or brown lentils, picked over to remove any rocks / debris
• 1 large onion, finely diced - I prefer red for their higher antioxidant content
• 8 cloves garlic, chopped
• 3 ribs celery, diced
• 3 large carrots, diced
• 1 tablespoon thyme
• 1 tablespoon tarragon
• 1 tablespoon marjoram
• 10 cups water, more for the initial simmering of the lentils
• 1 bunch dark leafy greens, rinsed, stems removed, chopped (or a 5oz bag of baby greens such as TJ's Power To The Greens mix)
• 2-3 teaspoons salt (more, or less, to taste)
Place your picked over lentils in a large soup pot. Fill the pot with water to cover the lentils by about an inch. No worries, no need to be exact. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the lentils.
Now, add fresh water to your pot of rinsed lentils. Except for the leafy greens, add all your veggies and herbs. Bring to a boil, and simmer partially covered for about 90 minutes (okay, at least an hour, but you could also let it simmer for 2).
After your done simmering your lentil soup, add the chopped greens. Generally, the younger your kids, the smaller you need to chop your greens (think minced herbs). Simmer a few more minutes. Taste for salt. Enjoy!
Make it your own! If you like a thicker soup, partially puree the soup in a blender (please be careful when pureeing hot liquids and leave some space for hot air to escape during the process).
Want a little more zing? Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, or some fresh squeezed lemon juice before serving.
Like it spicy? Add some fresh black pepper, or even cayenne pepper.
Need more depth? Try a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes before serving.
Whatever you do, it's even better the next day!